Purdue, Texas Tech coaches have history
| 1 month ago

Neither Purdue coach Matt Painter nor Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said they believe their previous meeting will have any impact when their teams face off in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night in Boston.

But it's still a pretty compelling subplot.

Beard's national profile skyrocketed two years ago when his Arkansas-Little Rock squad, the No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region, upset fifth-seeded Purdue in the opening round, 85-83 in double overtime.

Arkansas-Little Rock fell in the second round against Iowa State and 10 days after the Trojans knocked off the Boilermakers, Beard was hired away by UNLV. But his stay there was brief.

Texas Tech, having been jilted by Tubby Smith when he led the Red Raiders to the tournament and then left for Memphis, used Smith's buyout money to help lure Beard away from UNLV. Beard spent a decade as an assistant at Texas Tech, so it was a surprisingly easy sell for the Red Raiders.

It worked out for Texas Tech as Beard has the program back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005. And as fate would have it, the Red Raiders (26-9) will play the Boilermakers (30-6).

While Painter refuted the idea that Arkansas-Little Rock's win in 2016 will help the Red Raiders on Friday, he knows the kind of tenacity Beard brings to the game.

"His teams play extremely hard," Painter said. "Obviously coming up (with an) Eddie Sutton, Bob Knight background the way they play tough, hard-nosed man-to-man defense. They're very good on the offensive end too at breaking you down."

Along with game planning for the Red Raiders, Painter has to figure out how to keep advancing with 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas likely out of the lineup. Haas fractured his right elbow in Purdue's first-round victory over Cal State Fullerton on Friday. A report surfaced earlier this week that the school's engineering program was working on an NCAA-approved brace that would allow Haas to play against Texas Tech.

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