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Purdue whips No. 6 West Virginia

The sign in Purdue's student section said it perfectly: "Will Experts Respect Purdue Now?"

It'd be hard not to after the No. 4 Boilermakers dominated No. 6 West Virginia on Friday.

Purdue shot 50 percent, had only seven turnovers, forced 18 and made 17 of 23 free throws.

The Boilermakers were outrebounded by four -- but held an 11-10 advantage on the offensive end.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said everything he feared could happen did.

Behind a loud crowd, Purdue used its experience and defensive intensity to rattle a younger West Virginia team, Huggins said.

"We lost our composure," Huggins said. "We let them dictate how to play the game."

Now the question becomes does this performance earn Purdue more respect among the national media? Stories throughout the week were touting West Virginia as one of the nation's top teams but rarely gave mention to Purdue. ESPN.com's Andy Katz didn't even mention Purdue among the top four -- even though Purdue is actually ranked No. 4.

Huggins was asked where Purdue fits nationally. He responded by calling the ESPN/Coaches Poll a "joke" because coaches only watch the teams they're going to play, not other games around the country. So he didn't want to rate Purdue.

But he did praise the Boilermakers, saying they are good on defense and he loved how the guys filled their roles and didn't try to go outside of what those were. That comes with experience, he said.

Purdue coach Matt Painter continually talks building an NCAA tournament resume to land a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. This certainly could help with that, but he said to keep "perspective" because this victory came at home.

When asked whether Purdue deserves some consideration as the top-ranked team in the country, Painter quickly said, "Not at all."

"We have to prove ourselves and be more consistent as you get into league play," Painter said. "Now, if we went on the road and beat a West Virginia and a Wake Forest - we're just not road-tested enough to be in that conversation. We'll see here in a month how we play on the road and at that time, a month from now, if we're still undefeated and we won four or five games on the road, I think you could put yourself in that argument. But not right now."

  • Be sure to check out Saturday's paper for two stories from the game, and there will be more on the blog about the game this weekend, including blurbs on Ryne Smith and Keaton Grant.

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