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Merchant, MSU prepare for Big Ten Tournament championship matchup with Purdue

March 10, 2013
Head coach Suzy Merchant yells to her team during the third round of the Big Ten Tournament against Penn State on March, 9, 2013, at Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill.  The Spartans will play Purdue for the Big Ten Tournament trophy March 10, 2013. Julia Nagy/The State News
Head coach Suzy Merchant yells to her team during the third round of the Big Ten Tournament against Penn State on March, 9, 2013, at Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The Spartans will play Purdue for the Big Ten Tournament trophy March 10, 2013. Julia Nagy/The State News —
Photo by Julia Nagy | and Julia Nagy The State News

Head coach Suzy Merchant got an early start to her morning yesterday, around 6 a.m., she recalled, when her 2-year-old son woke her up asking for some juice.

The early rise likely was less than ideal with a looming showdown against top-seeded Penn State on her mind later that night.

What happened after her son’s request might have been an omen that the Spartans were destined to meet Purdue in the finals this evening.

“So I go over (to) get him juice, and I turn around and my 2-year-old is sitting in bed and he’s going ‘Boiler up!’” Merchant said as she clapped in rhythm to the traditional Purdue chant.

“Boiler up, boiler up’ over and over. I went oh my gosh, what’s happening — my Spartan is a Purdue Boilermaker.”

MSU, the No. 4-seed in the tournament, takes on No. 3-seed Purdue in the championship game at 4 p.m. on ESPN2. It marks the Spartans second ever trip to the finals, with the first coming in the 2004-05 season that ended with a loss in the national title game.

The Boilermakers beat MSU in overtime 67-62 on Jan. 27 at Breslin Center, while the Spartans bested Purdue on the road by seven points on Feb. 28.

“But now I’m going to put my kid in a closet. Is that bad? Probably bad,” Merchant joked before the moderator promptly ended the press conference.

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