Purdue was riding high following a dominant 74-48 victory over Cal-State Fullerton, but their championship hopes were quickly crushed as they learned the fate of star big man Isaac Haas. Haas, a 7’2″ senior center, was limited to just 15 minutes due to injury, which was eventually announced to be a fractured right elbow. The injury was sustained when Haas was tangled up attempting to corral a rebound.
Despite criticism from our very own PJ Guippone, Isaac Haas is one of the best big men in college basketball, and an integral component of the Purdue offense and defense.
Live look at Isaac Haas literally every second he is on the floor pic.twitter.com/u7kPXwBlYA
— PJ Guippone (@pjguip1) March 16, 2018
Haas was second on the team in both points per game (14.9) and rebounds per game (5.6), while shooting over 60% from the floor. The rebounding numbers should come as a shock, considering Haas’s incredible size, but Haas’s front-court partner, 6’8″ forward Vincent Edwards, has been exceptional on the glass, grabbing almost 8 boards per game. Recently, Purdue has relied heavily on a size advantage in the front court, once pairing the 7’2″ Haas with the 6’8″ Caleb Swanigan, who averaged an astonishing 12.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore in the 2016-2017 campaign. This year, sophomore guard Carsen Edwards has been the focal point of the offense, averaging 18.5 point per game on 47% shooting, but loosing Haas is still a huge blow for the Boilermakers. Haas provided leadership and experience that only a senior could provide, not to mention his impressive numbers.
With the injury, 7’3″ freshman Matt Haarms will likely assume a larger role. Haarms has averaged 4.8 points per game and 2.1 blocks per game this season, while being used less down the stretch compared to the beginning of the season.
By this point in the tournament, if your bracket isn’t busted, I hate you. And if it still is pretty intact after this injury, I hate you even more. I have Purdue in my Elite Eight, and right now, that is not looking too promising. On the other hand, I predicted Wichita State to cruise to the Sweet Sixteen. Thanks, Gregg Marshall. Don’t forget to check out the Student Union bracket challenge on ESPN, where I am currently tied for tenth place (no big deal).