Texas draws on Big 10 transfer Marcus Carr’s experience to prepare for Purdue

Christina Huang, Sports Desk Editor

The Texas starters were visibly more relaxed when they spoke to the media on Saturday afternoon following their first round victory. Before the press conference officially started, senior guard Courtney Ramey joked around with his teammates.

“You guys look great today,” Ramey said.

The room’s energy was different from previous media appearances. Texas is still celebrating its first NCAA win since 2014. Head coach Chris Beard emphasized that he wants his team to enjoy this experience while putting in their best effort.

“When it’s time to play,” Beard said. “We’re going to play. But when it’s also time to enjoy ourselves, we’re not going to act like we’re a funeral line here.”

Beard’s team will have plenty of work to balance out the fun.

Sunday’s game against Purdue is Texas’ first appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in eight years. Finishing the regular season as the No. 10 team in the nation, the Boilermakers feature NBA prospects Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey.

Edey, a 7-foot-4-inch center, is taller than everyone on Texas’ roster. Texas does not have a player over 6-foot-9-inches. In Purdue’s first round win over Yale, Edey ended the game with 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

“(Purdue’s) teams always seem to have the biggest players in college basketball,” Beard said. “So all sorts of challenges with that.”

But there is someone on Texas’ roster that has prior experience competing against Edey and Purdue: Marcus Carr.

The senior guard spent his first two years in the Big 10 as a Minnesota Gopher. Purdue head coach Matt Painter is well aware of the transfer’s ability to score.

“He’s gotten the best of us a couple of times,” Painter said. “And we have a lot of respect for him.”

Carr’s last game against Purdue was a close 71-68 win for Minnesota. The Toronto product put up 19 points, five assists and four rebounds in that February 2021 matchup.

“They do a lot of similar things,” Carr said. “I’m sure they’re going to be breaking out their old scouting report on me.”

Along with drawing from their previous experiences, the Boilermakers are also well aware that the senior guard is a different player than he was last time they saw him.

“I think now he’s more of a patient player,” Purdue guard Eric Hunter said. “I think that comes with the nature of going to a different program.”

The Carr that Purdue last saw was the main ball handler and playmaker for Minnesota. At Texas, Carr’s role is drastically different. His individual stats are down compared to those of his two years at Minnesota, but Carr is part of an arguably more successful program.

Even though Carr averaged more points per game at Minnesota, the Gophers never made an NCAA Tournament while he was on their roster.

On Sunday, Purdue will see the March Madness version of Carr for the first time.