Plot thickens, but Purdue's Painter still says Haas unlikely

Isaac Haas’ injury. More

Isaac Haas’ injury. More

These were the starting lineups from each team's last game. A week ago, Painter called the undersized guard the best teammate he's been around because he doesn't care if he scores two points or 10. He has scored in double figures in 18 consecutive games and had 18 (on 7 of 12 shooting) against Butler in the first game. The Orange and Michigan State slogged along on the offensive end, missing a bunch of shots from everywhere. While both teams made five 3-pointers each in the first half, Purdue drained six shots from beyond the arc then limited the Bulldogs to just one made shot in the second.

The Syracuse zone is making Michigan State uncomfortable. Purdue held a 25-12 advantage the rest of the half. The Spartans are 3 for 17 from the field. They were like, we know you're a key part of this team. The Spartans were up 7-6 nearly six minutes in.

Purdue must go through a region that includes a matchup with Texas Tech and a potential matchup with Villanova with Haas' health in question.

Now, those two teams are watching the NCAA Tournament from home.

Butler controlled the game early with Purdue's best 7 footer (they have more than one) on the bench with a shattered elbow.

Purdue beat Butler 76-73 and will play Texas Tech on Friday, March 23. The bulky brace didn't meet player safety standards as outlined in Rule 1, Section 26 of the rules book, which states "The referee shall not permit any player to wear equipment that in his or her judgment is unsafe to other players".

Purdue big man Isaac Haas warmed up after fracturing his right elbow in the Boilers' first round win, but didn't play after officials didn't clear his elbow brace.

Luck of Irish results in Grand finale
That was forgotten, though, when Jones was interviewed on the field after the match and booed by fans at home for the first time. Jones had reacted to defeat by France in the previous round by making 10 changes, seven of them in personnel, to face Ireland .

Haas was averaging 14.7 points, second on the team.

"Oh, he's not going to play", head coach Matt Painter told the Indianapolis Star's Gregg Doyel prior to tipoff.

Butler led by as much as 9 and didn't trail until the 2:53 mark of the first half. The over/under for total points scored is 143.5, 71.4% have picked the under. Then, with just over 2.1 seconds remaining, Kelan Martin dropped in a layup to put Butler within two points of the lead.

Haas practiced lightly Saturday and was going to workout while wearing a brace on the injured arm, but Painter still was fairly dismissive that he would see action when pressed further on the topic.

Even if the refs approved the brace, Haas would not have played. Painter said he wasn't thinking about contingency plans for Haas until he received a text message with news of the injury midway through watching Butler's opening-round game.

The X-factor will be 7-3 freshman Matt Haarms. The Boilermakers flexed enough depth and presence by the rim despite the big man's absence to show that their hopes of a Final Four run need not be dashed just yet.

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