Purdue center Isaac Haas appears to be done for the season even if Purdue’s medical team or its crack engineering department can create an elbow brace that allows him to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Even if the NCAA approves a protective device for Haas’ fractured right elbow, coach Matt Painter said, there are still limitations and it wouldn’t be beneficial for Haas’ health.
“He had the best brace you can have and he couldn’t shoot right-handed free throws with it,” Painter said Monday. “He wants to play. But at the end of the day, you have to put people out there who can help you.”
The 7-foot-2, 290-pound Haas was injured during the second half of last Friday’s win over Cal State Fullerton when he crashed hard to the floor while fighting for a rebound. The next day, the Boilermakers’ trainers and doctors explored options to give the Alabama native a chance to come back. They fitted him with a bulky brace, which allowed Haas to run with his teammates at practice.
But the NCAA disallowed the contraption out of safety concerns for other players.
Even if officials had allowed Haas to play with the device, Painter was concerned about his limitations — the inability to make free throws and grab rebounds with both hands — making him an even bigger target for opponents to challenge and foul.
“He’s going to need surgery and they’re going to have to put a couple of pins in there,” Painter said. “They say it can’t get worse unless he falls, but people who cover us know he falls all the time.”
Haas did not speak with reporters Monday, and his absence in Sunday’s second-round game didn’t hurt Purdue (30-6), which beat Butler 76-73 to reach its second straight Sweet 16. Purdue faces Texas Tech (29-6) in Boston on Friday.
Matt Haarms, a 7-3 redshirt freshman, replaced Haas in the starting lineup.
Self sees best ahead
The only thing Bill Self seemed pleased about from a first-round NCAA Tournament win by Kansas was, well, the fact that his top-seeded Jayhawks had won.
He wasn’t a whole lot more impressed with their second-round win.
But in a tournament gone goofy with upsets, where two No. 1 seeds are already out, simply surviving should be reason for applause. And the fact that Self thinks the best is yet to come should give the Jayhawks confidence as they head to the Midwest Region semifinals.
“Well, I think in the NCAA Tournament you don’t worry as much if you played well or if you played poor,” Self said. “You worry more about, ‘Did we advance?’ And I think that’s all we did is we advanced.”
Davis exits Middle Tennessee
Kermit Davis was comfortable at Middle Tennessee, but after 16 seasons he was ready for the challenge of leading a program in the Southeastern Conference.
The 58-year-old has been given that opportunity at Mississippi, where he was introduced as coach on Monday, less than 24 hours after Middle Tennessee fell to Louisville in the second round of the NIT.
Middle Tennessee became one of the best mid-majors in the nation under Davis’ guidance.
The Blue Raiders had upset wins in the NCAA Tournament in both 2016 and 2017, beating Michigan State and Minnesota.
Memphis taps Hardaway
Former Memphis All-American Penny Hardaway is heading back to his alma mater — as its men’s basketball coach.
Memphis will announce Hardaway as its next coach today, said a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to the Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because Memphis hasn’t publicly announced the hire.
Memphis has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday.
The 46-year-old Hardaway replaces Tubby Smith, who was fired after going 40-26 in two seasons with Memphis.
Sam Houston State 69, Eastern Michigan 62: Kevin McAdoo tallied 21 points to lead Eastern. The Eagles’ (22-13) rally after falling behind 35-23 in the first half fell short. Josh Delaney’s 28 points led the Bearkats (20-14).