PHILADELPHIA — A day before their appearance in the Sweet 16, Purdue may hold the odds of victory, but Jaden Ivey knows better than to rest in that.
"They have a lot of confidence in themselves," said the Boilermaker guard, referring to the Saint Peter's Peacocks. "Going into these games, we've got to be locked in and ready."
Locked in. Laser-focused.
It is a mindset echoed by coach Matt Painter as Purdue prepares to face the 15th-seeded Peacocks in their quest for the Elite Eight.
Saint Peter's University, a tiny school in New Jersey, was winless in its last three trips to the tournament — most recently in 2011.
But here they are today.
"A lot of teams underestimated them," said Purdue center Zach Edey. "We have to have the mentality that they're a really good team."
Painter said the Peacocks have proven it.
"They're one of the best in the country," he said.
But the Boilermakers have come prepared.
"If you look at the last couple of years, making it into the Elite Eight and five minutes from a Final Four ... then COVID and everything else ... we just can't let this slip away," said forward Trevion Williams.
The Saint Peter’s campus is just 93 miles from the Wells Fargo Center. Add to that, much of the country has fallen in love with their much-covered Cinderella story.
Edey isn't concerned.
"Coming from the Big Ten, we're used to loud crowds," he said.
And the Boilermaker faithful, known for traveling in big numbers, plan to make their own voices heard.
"We like our chances," said Cory Marshall, whose family is in Philadelphia from West Lafayette.
"Our fan support's really good," said Marshall's son. "I think we'll have a lot of fans show up."