Purdue trying to hammer down first-round win vs. Vermont

FILE - Purdue junior forward Vincent Edwards prepares to shoot the basketball doing an open practice Wednesday, March 15, 2017, a day before the 4th-seeded team is set to take on 13th-seeded Vermont. Purdue beat Vermont 80-70. (WLFI File Photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Purdue men’s basketball team hit the floor Wednesday to get a little practice time in before Thursday’s matchup against Vermont.

The 4th-seeded Boilermakers face the 13th-seeded Catamounts in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Gold and Black met with the media and held an open practice earlier Wednesday. For the third straight year, Purdue has made the cut in the tourney.

Unlike the past two go-arounds, which included losses to Cincinnati in 2015 and Little Rock last year, the Boilers are trying to hammer down a tournament win – an elusive accomplishment which possesses a lot of value especially to the team’s junior class.

“It would be special. But at the same time, we have bigger goals, especially in March. You have to take it one game at a time. It would be nice to get that monkey off our back though,” Purdue junior guard Dakota Mathiassaid.

Big man Isaac Haas, a Purdue junior center, said it would mean a lot to win the Big Dance.

“We have been through a lot of crap here, honestly. People not believing in us, thinking that we can’t win,” he said. “It hurts to see that, and it hurts to know that because we didn’t win. Honestly, we deserve this win. We’ve worked really hard.”

Purdue junior forward Vincent Edwards agrees.

“It would mean a lot to do what we have done as a program and come here three straight years,” Edwards said. “And three straight early outings would be horrible, as a feeling, as a group and as a program.”

Purdue will try to avoid that fate against Vermont Thursday, with a tipoff set for 7:27 p.m.

Tune in to News 18 for live pregame and postgame coverage from the NCAA Tournament.