Busting Brackets

March Madness: Power ranking the Sweet 16 teams left in 2024 NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga v Kansas
Gonzaga v Kansas / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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2. Purdue Boilermakers

All eyes are on Purdue, looking for redemption after losing last year as a 1 seed to Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round. It happened to Virginia several years ago, before they bounced back to win a national title. Up first was Grambling State, a program that made its first trip to the Big Dance.

It was rocky at first for the favorites, who were only up four points late in the half. The Boilermakers were able to make its big push in the second half to coast to a 78-50 win. Likely two-time National Player of the Year star Zach Edey had 30 points and 21 rebounds, while Braden Smith chipped in with 11 points and 10 assists.

There was a chance that the matchup with Utah State could be close and it was early, being a 1-point game with eight minutes to go. However, Purdue dominated the rest of the way, running away with a 106-67 blowout. Edey finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds, while Trey Kaufmann-Renn had 18 points and eight rebounds.

The Boilermakers take on Gonzaga up next, a team they defeated by 10 points in the Maui Invitational earlier this season. The Bulldogs have improved since, while Purdue remains a national title favorite. Can Coach Matt Painter beat Mark Few twice in one year?