Who? The Boilermakers of Purdue.
What? A nickname born out of mockery and the white-collar/blue-collar divide, Purdue proudly adopted the name as its own. The Boilermaker Special is the official mascot, with Purdue Pete making appearances that require a bit less space and a bit more motion.
Where? West Lafayette, Indiana, and I am down with any city that includes a chocolate shop as a landmark.
When? March 10th, in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, somewhere in Chicagoland.
Why? They won the Big Ten conference tournament.
How? Drey Mingo had 24 points on 10-11 shooting, along with 8 rebounds, and Purdue ripped off a 21-4 run in the first half to roll over Michigan State, 62-47.
Surprise? Predicted to finish third in the conference by the coaches, they tied for third with Michigan State, but fell to fourth on the tiebreaker.
Record: 24-8 (12-5 Big Ten)
Good wins: At Nebraska.
Bad losses: At Indiana. Even if it was on a buzzer-beater.
Who's running this show? Sharon Versyp, since 2006. There's something unsettling about her hair.
Extra, Extra! The Indianapolis Star.
There's no way to deny Purdue's grit. You don't survive four overtime games in the Big Ten without being able to dig deep and come up with the big play when it counts. Junior guard Courtney Moses leads this team with 13.2 points per game; she and junior guard KK Houser are both threats from beyond the arc. Senior forward Sam Ostarello averages juuuuust under a double-double. And forward Drey Mingo has a tendency to come up big in big games.
If this team gets into a close game with a higher seed, I wouldn't want to be that higher seed.