Tim Tai, Staff Photographer

BOSTON — After taking down Princeton in the Ivy Madness championship Sunday afternoon, Yale players did not have much time to sit around before the NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed.

By the time they left Harvard’s Lavietes Pavilion — after celebrating on the court, snipping down the net and greeting head coach James Jones in the locker room with a water shower — Yale only had a couple hours before learning their seed and first-round opponent.

But once CBS host Greg Gumbel began unveiling the bracket on the Selection Sunday show at 6 p.m., Yale waited and waited. The Bulldogs remained in Boston to tune into the bracket reveal before returning to New Haven, watching on a television hanging from the ceiling in a room at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse in Back Bay.

READ MORE: Off to the Big Dance: No. 2 Yale advances to March Madness after defeating No. 1 Princeton, 66–64

Players raised their phones ready to capture the moment when Yale would be announced, but instead let out lighthearted groans for the first 30 minutes as other teams filled the field. At last — after 63 of the field’s 68 teams had been announced, including the eight squads that complete in the First Four early this week — Yale saw its name appear on the screen.

“It’s just exciting to see your name pop up on the TV,” Jones told the News after the full bracket was revealed. “It doesn’t really matter who the other team is.”

The room burst into cheers, and the details set in: Yale (19–11, 11–3 Ivy), a No. 14 seed, will face No. 3 Purdue (27–7, 14–6 Big Ten) in the first round on Friday. The Bulldogs and Boilermakers will play at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The victor will move on to face the winner of No. 6 Texas and No. 11 Virginia Tech Sunday at the same site.

A later NCAA release Sunday night added the final specifics: Yale’s game will tip off at 2 p.m. Friday on TBS, with Spero Dedes calling play-by-play, Deb Antonelli serving as the color analyst and AJ Ross working as the sideline television reporter.

“We worked hard all year like them, and I’m ready,” Yale forward EJ Jarvis ’23 said once CBS completed its full release of the bracket, a minute or two after Yale’s slot was announced. “We’re ready. Yale basketball is ready.”

Purdue finished third in the Big Ten and lost to Iowa in the conference tournament championship on Sunday, gaining entry into March Madness via an at-large bid. (The Ivy League and Big Ten Tournament championships were two of five conference tournament title games on Sunday.) An AP Top 25-ranked team the entire season, the Boilermakers opened the year ranked No. 7, progressed to the No. 1 overall ranking in early December and were ranked No. 9 as of the latest poll released last Monday, March 7.

Yale and Purdue brushed shoulders last December at the Barclays Center, when both teams played in the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational. Yale took on Iona in the showcase’s last game, while Purdue played an overtime game against NC State in the afternoon. Yale coaches and players arrived at the arena in Brooklyn while the Purdue-NC State game was going on and caught some of the action from the stands. 

“I’ll put in mildly, the Purdue faithful are extremely intense, or at least the people I was sitting next to,” Jones said.

Jones also knows Purdue’s head coach, Matt Painter, through USA Basketball. Painter is the chair of the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee, while Jones coached America’s team in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Latvia last summer alongside Stanford coach Jerod Haase and TCU coach Jamie Dixon, who served as head coach of the team. 

Last summer, Jones coached Purdue’s standout player, sophomore guard Jaden Ivey, on Team USA. Ivey leads the Boilermakers, averaging 17.3 points per game. Named to the All-Big Ten First Team last week, he is complemented under the basket by 7-foot-4 sophomore center Zach Edey and senior forward Trevion Williams. Jarvis said he knew Williams was a great passer and that boxing out Edey would be important. 

“The kid Edey is ginormous, he’s just so big,” Jones said. “We’re gonna need a dump truck to get him out of the paint because he’s just so big. Very good player. He played for Team Canada when we were over there in Latvia.”

Purdue rookie forward Caleb Furst was also on last summer’s U19 roster.

Jones said he would probably not communicate with Purdue coach Painter leading up to Friday’s game, but said they would exchange pleasantries before the game. The two chatted when both teams played in Brooklyn last December. 

“We’re ready for anything,” guard Yassine Gharram ’25 said after the Selection Sunday show. “These dudes, they’ll go hard, that’s all that matters. We’re gonna play hard. We’re gonna play our best. That’s it.”

Before its 2020–21 season was canceled due to COVID-19, Yale was scheduled to play a regular-season game at Purdue in late December 2020. The Boilermakers were set to pay Yale $90,000 for the buy game, according to a public records request the News filed with Purdue in summer 2020.

Yale was seeded the 56th overall team in the tournament, according to a full NCAA seed list released later Sunday night.

WILLIAM MCCORMACK
William McCormack covers Yale men's basketball. He previously served as a Sports and Digital Editor for the Yale Daily News and also reported on the athletic administration as a staff reporter. Originally from Boston, he is a senior in Timothy Dwight College.