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Boilermakers "mellow" while finding out their fate

Chris Kramer, Keaton Grant, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore and Lewis Jackson weren't filled with nerves watching the NCAA tournament selection show Sunday.

They've been here before, already knowing they had a spot locked up while watching the show.

So the atmosphere was pretty relaxed at coach Matt Painter's house.

"Mellow" is how Grant described it.

"We knew we were going to get called, so we weren't on the edge of our seats," Grant said. "We were joking around, just having a good time."

Moore and Grant, who is from Florida, said they would have liked to have landed somewhere warm. Grant's ideal destination would have been Jacksonville, which would have given his family a chance to attend the games.

But none of the players I spoke with complained about Spokane, Wash., which is where the Boilermakers will play Siena on Friday.

"We're going to play in the tournament, we definitely have to be excited," Moore said. "Any time we have a chance to play for a Final Four, which every game we play from here on out is to go to the championship, we're definitely going to get excited and going to be ready to play."

There was an element of disappointment, though.

Painter said junior Robbie Hummel, who had ACL surgery March 8, won't make the trip.

"You definitely want him to come to experience it with us," said Johnson, who didn't know about Hummel until I mentioned it. "It sucks he's not going to be able to come. He's just one of our brothers. I know he would love to share this moment with us, and we'd love to have him."

Jackson echoed Johnson's sentiments.

"I know how he feels, just not being able to make a trip," said Jackson, who didn't go to the Virgin Islands after having foot surgery in November. "We understand he's hurt, but we want him to be there, just to experience it even though he can't play. He's been a support, talking to the guys."