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The Purdue Boilermakers celebrate after their victory...

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The Purdue Boilermakers finally broke through the wall that they have been running up against for the last 44 years, as they punched their ticket to the Final Four with a win over Tennessee on Sunday. 

It was a cathartic moment for Matt Painter and his program; since 1980, March has mostly been a month filled with painful losses leaving players and fans imagining “what-if” scenarios in their heads. They don’t have to imagine any more, thanks to head coach Matt Painter, and the best player in Purdue history, Zach Edey. The job isn’t done, of course; there are two more games left to play. That doesn’t mean fans, former players and broadcasters alike can’t enjoy how special a moment it is for the Boilermaker faithful. 

During Monday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, P.J Thompson, a former Boilermaker player who now serves as the Director of Player Development, joined the show and shared the emotions he experienced as his team advanced to the Final Four. 

“It was tough not to shed some tears after the game…Purdue’s experienced a lot of tough times in the tournament, but we’ve also had so much success. Going to 5 out of the last 7 NCAA Tournaments, winning the league, making it to the Sweet 16 and losing to Saint Peters. To finally get over the hump and go to the Final Four and do something that we’ve all wanted to do for Coach Painter, it was hard not to be brought to tears.” 

Chris Kramer, another former Boilermaker, spoke to John as well and gave his thoughts on his alma mater finally breaking through. 

“Obviously I didn’t get the opportunity to play in the Final Four. My senior year was our best opportunity, obviously everyone knows what happened, but man I went through it. My joy as that final buzzer was going off, just so happy for coach, just the way he’s went about it, doing it the right way. For the guys, for Zach Edey, my admiration for him coming back [after] the way last season ended and to be like ‘I have unfinished business’…if I would have been there, I think my emotions would have been much more…the joy and excitement that I have for them is off the charts, but the thing that I love about everything I’ve seen is they’re not satisfied. Making it to the Final Four isn’t the end goal, and their approach so far in the NCAA Tournament has been amazing, and to see that even when they’ve got that monkey off the back, still looking forward knowing there’s still work to do, is really remarkable.”  

Rob Blackman, the voice of the Purdue Boilermakers, was equally as excited for the team he represents on the airwaves. 

“After the game had long gone final, talking with assistant coach Brandon Brantley, something he brought to my attention and it really stuck with me, was the fact that Purdue loses that game last year to a 16-seed, and not only did they have to sit in that as Coach Painter has said so many times. Not only [did they] have to sit in that for a full year, but as Coach Brantley pointed out, you just never felt like you could celebrate anything that you did this season, even though there were so many great things…All these great accomplishments, you win 30 games, but you never quite felt like you could really just embrace it and celebrate it, until you finally, finally made it to the Final Four, and then it’s like ‘Okay, now it’s okay to let our guard down a little bit and celebrate’. So, pretty happy for everyone involved in that program, and that was a hell of a fun day yesterday.” 

Finally, the voice of the Final Four Ian Eagle shared what he thinks of this Purdue squad with JMV. 

“This Purdue squad has done everything right. They have developed talent; Braden Smith is tremendous, Fletcher Loyer has taken a step. They hit on the transfer portal; Lance Jones makes a huge three-pointer, and that’s not out of left field, he’s made a bunch of big shots this year; and then obviously what Edey has become, you’ve got to respect it. You’ve got to respect what Matt Painter has done now in his 19th year and finally in the Final Four as a head coach.” 

Listen to the full gauntlet of reactions to Purdue’s Final Four birth from Monday’s edition of The Ride With JMV down below, and tune into The Ride weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan! 

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