A day after Isaac Haas' season was declared over, there's now a bit of mystery surrounding the status of Purdue's star center. He remained in the game, however Purdue announced that X-rays after the game revealed a fracture.
"He's been great for our program", Purdue coach Matt Painter said of Haas. "So now we've just got to play a full game without him". "But it's part of competition, and the next guy's got to be able to step up and play". Butler shot nearly 50 percent for the game and outrebounded Arkansas 45-25.
If Haas is out, the Boilermakers will be missing their best big man a 7-foot-2 standout who creates so many matchup problems.
"He ran up and down today, did a few things and worked out", Painter said.
"We're not going to hang our heads on it", Edwards said. He is averaging 14.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for Purdue this season.
"He's trying to convince me, but it is what it is", Painter said. "His future's more important".
Without Haas, Purdue's depth in the post is in question. He also ranked among the top 10 in the Big Ten in block percentage, and affected many opponent shots in ways that don't show up on the stat sheet.
Approaching Sunday's rematch, Painter seemed unconcerned when discussing an adjusted game plan without Haas in the mix.
"We just prepare for Butler", Painter said. He wore a brace on his fractured elbow, and could play if Purdue - and the NCAA, which will need to OK the material he would wear with the brace - clears him.
"I would think he wants to do that to stay connected and stuff", he said. "At that point in time it was pretty choppy ..."
Even without Haas in the lineup, Purdue's perimeter shooting can be hard to contain.
"The decision you have to make on our side is, are you going to match it? We're going to go out and play for him".
The Boilermakers made the Sweet 16 in 2009 and 2010, their first back-to-back appearances since 1999 and 2000. Both teams advanced to the Sweet 16 past year, and Butler seeks consecutive trips for the first time since its back-to-back National Championship appearances in 2010 and 2011.