The 2015 Final Four takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Purdue plays at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana. Using google maps, I have found a path for Purdue to the Final Four. It's really just a short ride down Interstate 65.
Enough with the jokes, folks. Let's get serious.
8 Cincinnati Bearcats
The Boilers take on UC Thursday at 7 Eastern on CBS. This should be Purdue's easiest game if they are going to make it to Indianapolis. In fact, the Purdue bus will probably drive through Indy on the way to Louisville, where this game will take place. The Bearcats have a pretty stingy defense, as does Purdue. In 2013, I went down to UC and watched the Bearcats destroy the Boilers in football; I'm sure Painter will have his team fired up and ready for revenge.
1 Kentucky Wildcats
If Purdue makes like Bachman-Turner Overdrive and takes care of business against Cincy, they get the opportunity to face the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats. Some might see having to face the most dominant team in recent history as a bad thing, but AJ Hammons and company should be excited for the chance to make history. If Hammons and Haas block every shot that UK takes in the lane, and Purdue hits almost all of their three-pointers, the Boilers may shock the world.
For most of the rest of these scenarios, I will show all of the possible matchups; there's not point in doing that for this round.
5 West Virginia Mountaineers
12 Buffalo Bulls
4 Maryland Terrapins
13 Valparaiso Crusaders
If Purdue manages to beat Kentucky, the Boilers will have an easy time with these teams. Maryland beat Purdue during the season, but they didn't beat a Purdue team that had just beaten Kentucky, so that's not relevant.
6 Butler Bulldogs
11 Texas Longhorns
3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
14 Northeastern Huskies
7 Wichita State Shockers
10 Indiana Hoosiers
2 Kansas Jayhawks
15 New Mexico State Aggies
The same thing that I wrote about the Sweet Sixteen applies here. If Purdue can beat Kentucky, then winning against one of these teams is a formality. Beating IU three times in a season? Easy if you can beat UK. Avenging a blowout loss to ND? That's easy if you can beat an undefeated team of future NBAers.
After last season's debacle where none of the Indiana schools made it in the tournament, this season's five teams is a lot. Could there be an all-Indiana Final Four? Nope. Why not? Because all five of the teams were placed in the Midwest Regional, where they will be sacrificial lambs to UK. I guess it will be good for tourism money in Indianapolis, since none of the local teams will be playing.
In a tangentially related side note, two more Indiana schools will play each other in the CIT. The Evansville Purple Aces will take on the IPFW Mastodons. As far as cool nicknames go, those are hard to beat. Go Purple Aces!
Purdue does not have any easy path to the Final Four. I'd be happy if the Boilers can beat Cincy and make it past the first round. If they can take down Kentucky that would be the greatest moment in my life as a Purdue fan.