Kelsey Barlow’s dismissal adds pressure to Purdue’s finish

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If Purdue does close strong and makes the NCAA tournament, it’ll have to do it without Kelsey Barlow.

The Boilermakers dismissed the junior wing following an incident at a bar early Friday. Teammate D.J. Byrd was suspended one game and will miss Sunday’s home matchup against Michigan State.

“This is an unfortunate situation, but we will move forward as a program,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said in a statement. “We expect our student-athletes to live up to a high standard, and when their actions become detrimental to the program, there are consequences.”

West Lafayette (Ind.) police say they were called to the bar just before 3 a.m. for a disturbance. Barlow reportedly forgot his wallet at the bar, told some friends to come back with him to get it and the ensuing verbal exchange resulted in Byrd getting arrested. Barlow had disciplinary issues in the past, meaning this was the final straw for Painter.

Now the Boilermakers (17-9, 7-6) are without a starter the rest of the season and Byrd for Saturday, which raises the likelihood of a loss. Byrd was their top 3-point shooter and Barlow – while erratic throughout his career – has been better lately. He’s made 18 of 34 from beyond the arc and averaged nearly 17 points a game in his last five.

He’s not essential to Purdue’s success (Robbie Hummel is their only indispensable player), but his loss looms largest related to the NCAA tournament.

The Boilermakers landed a 10 seed in our latest NCAA tournament projections. A loss Sunday and then splitting their final four games – home games against Penn State and Nebraska are must-wins – would leave them at 9-9 in Big Ten play and 19-12 overall. That’ll certainly place them squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble.

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