SPOKANE, Wash. -- It wasn't just that President Obama picked Purdue to fall to Siena in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it was how he defended the pick that bothered the Boilermakers.
"The biggest thing for me was when President Obama said he felt sorry for us," guard Lewis Jackson said.
With all due respect to the First Bracketologist, the No. 4 seed Boilermakers don't want pity.
It wasn't just the president, either. The Boilermakers were perfectly aware that they were a fashionable pick to go down in the first round, in large part because star Robbie Hummel went down with a season-ending knee injury late in the season.
"You can't help but see it," guard Keaton Grant said. "You've got analysts picking against you. You've got the president picking against you. We were very aware. It was just more motivation."
So, after Purdue beat Siena 72-64 Friday, yes, there was a bit of vindication.
Purdue, now 28-5, used a 20-3 run to start the second half to take control, then the Boilermakers withstood a late Saints rally to hold on and advance to the second round for a 12th consecutive time, a streak that leads the nation.
"We said the first five minutes [after halftime] was going to dictate the game," coach Matt Painter said.
Purdue hit just one of its first 10 3-pointers, but used four during their run to leave Siena gasping.
But the run wasn't about offense.
"It was on the defensive end, us just pressuring them," Jackson said.
Siena's leading scorer Alex Franklin scored 10 points in the first half, winning his battle with Chris Kramer, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The result was reversed in the second half, as the Kramer and other Boilermakers put more pressure on Franklin on the perimeter.
Franklin was shut out in the second half, taking only two shots.
With Hummel, Purdue might have earned a No. 1 seed. But even without him the Boilermakers aren't too shabby.
"You can't feel sorry for yourself," Painter said.