Matt Painter shares his message to Purdue players after stunning NCAA Tournament loss to Fairleigh Dickinson
Purdue’s 2022-23 campaign ended in stunning fashion Friday night. After dominating the Big Ten and earning a No. 1 seed, the Boilermakers were bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson.
Matt Painter certainly didn’t expect to be talking to his team about the season coming to an end Friday. He shared that message with reporters after the game.
Painter made sure to not take away from FDU’s performance. He also reminded his players of their accomplishments this season.
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“There’s nothing you can say that’s going to change it. Right? I mean, it stinks. They outplayed us. They outcoached us,” Painter said. “I think that’s the one thing as a coach that you always face it, and you’ll get ridiculed. You’ll get shamed, you’ll get whatever. It’s basketball. You’ve got to get better. You’ve got to keep fighting to get yourself in this position and then be better. And that’s what we have to do.
“But just told them that I was proud of them. You win the league, you win your tournament. You fight to get into this position. We haven’t been in this position as a 1 seed in a long time. And we get here and we don’t take advantage of that opportunity.
“But they’re good guys. They work hard. It stings. You can get a lot of different people looking at it a lot of different ways, but when you’re the one playing and coaching and you invested the time, it’s really hard to take. But like I said, we’re the ones that have to sit in it. We’re the ones that hopefully have to be better because of it.”
Painter was then asked if he thought the pressure got to his Purdue team after sweeping conference titles.
“We had a stretch there where we lost games in Big Ten play where we had 16, 17 — 16 turnovers, if I’m accurate. It was too much for us. If you’re not going to shoot well and have high-level turnovers, you’re going to put yourself in a tough position. But I think as a person who played college basketball and struggled shooting myself, you start to play that game within yourself. And you’ve got to be confident and you’ve got to step into things.”
The Boilermakers finish 29-6 for the 2022-23 season.