How Many Times Has Purdue Won March Madness?

How Many Times Has Purdue Won March Madness

The Purdue Boilermakers are among the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball teams to have made it to multiple Final Fours in different decades without being able to bring home the National Championship trophy. Let’s take a look at the best March Madness runs in the history of Purdue University!

1969 Runner-Up

The Purdue University men’s basketball program was established in 1896, but it was not until Ward “Piggy” Lambert was appointed as head coach in 1917 that Purdue started inserting itself among the nation’s elite programs. Lambert left the program in 1947 after 11 Big Ten Championship wins. Following Lambert's departure, Ray Eddy was named the head coach of the Boilermakers. Despite some great recruiting campaigns, Eddy was never able to take Purdue to the tournament in his 15 seasons in Indiana. However, everything changed upon George King’s hiring in 1966.

After just three seasons in charge, George King led the Boilermakers to a conference title and to their first-ever tournament appearance. Unlike the current March Madness format, the tournament in those years included only 25 teams. The teams were divided in four regions, with the winners of each region advancing to the Final Four. Thanks to its seeding, Purdue had a bye in the first round of the regional tournament and would have had to play only three games to make it to the National Championship.

The Boilermakers dominated in the semifinals of the Mideast Region, beating Miami by 20, before earning a tight win in the Regional Final against Marquette. The team was thus advancing to the Final Four, where the winner of the East Region, North Carolina, was awaiting them. Purdue earned an easy 92-65 win against the Tar Heels to earn their ticket to the National Championship against UCLA. However, they could not keep up with the dominance of John Wooden’s team, who inflicted a 92-71 loss to his alma mater, winning his fifth title in six seasons.

1980 Final Four

Five seasons after their National Championship run, George King decided to step down as the head coach of the Boilermakers in order to become the Athletic Director of the program. His assistant coach and former Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Fred Schaus, took over, but could not repeat King’s tournament success despite winning the NIT title in 1974. Schaus left in 1978 and Lee Rose became the head coach.

Although he only spent two seasons at Purdue University, Lee Rose reached the second best postseason result in the program’s history by his second season, taking the Boilermakers all the way to another Final Four appearance. Rose had an instant impact on the team, taking them to the NIT final in his first season but losing to the Indiana University Hoosiers.

In his second season, Rose led the Boilermakers to a 23-10 record, which, despite being lower than the win-loss count of the previous year, earned them an NCAA Tournament bid. Purdue was once again in the Mideast Region, but this time, the tournament had 48 teams, meaning that the Boilermakers would have had to play five games to reach the National Championship. Rose’s team cruised through the Mideast Region tournament and, as a sixth seed, they eliminated La Salle, third-seeded St John’s, second-seeded Indiana, and fourth-seeded Duke to clinch their ticket to the Final Four. With the win against Duke, Rose also put his name in the list of coaches that were able to take multiple programs to the Final Four.

The 1980 Final Four took place in Indianapolis. However, despite the huge presence of Boilermakers fans, the team lost once again to UCLA and had to settle for the third-place final. There, Purdue beat Iowa with ease and senior Joe Barry Carroll ended the tournament as the top scorer.

1994, 2000, 2019 Elite Eight

Following his legendary two-year run and Joe Barry Carroll’s graduation, Lee Rose left the program, leading George King to replace him with Gene Keady. The former Western Kentucky head coach stayed at Purdue until 2005 and broke every major record in the school’s history.

Despite never winning a National Championship or taking his team to the Final Four, Keady became the winningest head coach in the history of the school and the second-winningest in the history of the Big Ten. Keady also took Purdue to two Elite Eight appearances in 1994 and 2000. Led by Glenn Robinson, the 1994 Boilermakers won the Big Ten title but could not get past Duke to reach the Final Four. Purdue finished the season ranked Number 25 in 2000 and a fifth seed in the tournament, but ended up losing to Wisconsin in the Elite Eight, after the Badgers had already eliminated them from the Big Ten Tournament too.

Purdue’s latest trip to the Elite Eight came in 2019. Led by star point guard Carsen Edwards, the team, coached by Matt Painter, finished second in the Big Ten standings and was ranked 13th in the nation. As a third seed, they advanced all the way to the Elite Eight Eight, where the second seed and eventual National Champion, Virginia, denied them another Final Four appearance.


When was the last time Purdue won the National Championship in basketball?

The Purdue Boilermakers have never won a National Championship in their history, with their best result being a runner-up finish in 1969. However, they have made two Final Four appearances and one National Championship Game.