Purdue is trying to end its March misery and get to the Final Four under Matt Painter. Standing in the way of the Boilermakers is a Sweet 16 showdown vs. 15-seed Saint Peter’s to advance to the Elite 8.

The Peacocks advanced to this showdown with huge upsets over 2-seed Kentucky and 7-seed Murray State. Despite being undersized, Painter is expecting a competitive fight and a confident effort from Saint Peter’s on Friday night.

“I’m just impressed with St. Peter’s. I’m impressed with how hard they play, how competitive they are,” Painter told media on Thursday. “They’ve got guys that come off the bench that are starters. They’re deep. They’re well-coached. So we’re going to have our hands full there.

“The NCAA Tournament, I know the numbers speak for themselves because the higher number normally advances, but that’s what makes this special in March Madness.”

Painter also pointed to match-ups and how they can often dictate the games in March:

“It’s about match-ups, and so we’ll see if this is a good match-up for us,” explained Painter. “Like you can look on paper and dissect it all you want, but once you get out there and if our competitive spirit is better than theirs, we’re going to give ourselves a really good chance. If it’s not, then they’re going to have the advantage there.”

Painter went on to elaborate about the importance of the matchups while focusing on taking care of the ball:

“Yeah, it really doesn’t affect us. I think we can beat anybody in the country. And if we turn the ball over, I think we can get beat by a lot of people,” said Painter. “I think we’ve shown both of those areas, and their ability to turn people over is really good. We’ve got to be able to handle their pressure. They might be 6’7” but Ndefo is going to block your shot. They’re fast, they’re quick, they keep people in front of you, and they play passing lanes. My college coach always said good players can be in two places at one time. I realized then I wasn’t a very good player (laughter).

“But they have a lot of people that can be in two places at one time. They’re active. They’re all over the place.

“It’s not about numbers. It’s about match-ups. We just have to focus on ourselves and taking care of the basketball, but also understand what they’re trying to do. He’s got some real good packages of what they’re trying to do offensively and he really uses his personnel, he spreads you out, he drives it. They’ve got quick hitters for threes, they’ll back door you. He does a good job, man. He’s a really good coach.”