March 18, 2016

Purdue and Oklahoma are regulars in the NCAA Tournament.

The Boilermakers, though, were on the bubble in late February and begin as a double-digit seed for the first time in program history.

Eleventh-seeded Purdue looks to avoid going home after one game for the first time in 20 years in Saturday's matchup with the sixth-seeded Sooners in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Boilermakers (20-11) are appearing in their 25th NCAA Tournament and have won at least one game 22 times. They haven't lost in the first round since falling to Notre Dame in 1996.

The Sooners (21-10) have also enjoyed plenty of first-round success, going 13-3 under coach Sherri Coale. Oklahoma is playing in its 17th straight NCAA Tournament, the fifth-best active streak in Division I.

"It never gets old, 17 straight years. We want to make sure our players still have a great deal of gratitude and excitement about that," Coale told the Sooners' official website. "Sometimes you can get so accustomed to it and everybody expects it then it's almost a relief. We don't want it to be that way. We want it to be a celebration."

Twice during the streak it faced the Boilermakers, and it came away with a win both times. It prevailed in the 2009 Elite Eight in Oklahoma City - the last meeting between the programs - and in a second-round game in 2000 on Purdue's home court.

A five-game losing streak to open February put the Boilermakers' tournament hopes in serious jeopardy, but they responded with four straight victories before a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten conference tournament quarterfinals.

Purdue features a strong guard tandem in senior and Louisville native April Wilson (14.6 points) and Ashley Morrissette (13.1). Oklahoma counters with an inside-out threat of forward Kaylon Williams (12.7) and guards Peyton Little (10.6) and Maddie Manning (8.5).

''They have inside presence and they have outside presence,'' Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said of the Sooners. ''We've got to make sure we do a good job that way, and then transition defense is always something. But the biggest thing at the end of the day is rebounding.''

The Boilermakers have one of the lowest rebounding differentials among tournament teams at plus-1.7. The Sooners are at plus-3.2.

Purdue has found success with its perimeter defense, limiting opponents to a Big Ten-low 28.5 percent from 3-point range - tied for seventh-lowest in school history. Oklahoma is shooting 31.0 percent from beyond the arc, one of the lowest among tournament teams.

The Sooners, No. 24 in the AP poll, had a three-game winning streak end with a 27-point loss to Baylor in the Big 12 conference tournament semifinals.

The Boilermakers are 2-6 against ranked teams this season.

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