2022 NCAA Tournament: #3 Purdue vs. #6 Texas Keys to the game

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Purdue is a -3.5 favorite against Texas again this morning according to Draftkings. This is the line closest to the remaining round of 32 games.

So let’s take a look at some of the key points that will rock the game.

Purdue plays a style of defense designed not to give up free throws. They don’t force turnovers, their perimeter defense is very middle of the pack. Their starting roster plays a plus, capable but often occasional defender in Jaden Ivey, and Sasha Stefanovic who has been played off the field in several NCAA Tournament games due to his defense.

Texas, on the other hand, is one of the best defensive teams in the country. Coach Chris Beard took a no-nonsense defensive approach. They force the ball down the sidelines, trap, double and change their coverage from there and get a lot of turnovers out of it. Purdue’s losses this year generally have one thing in common: they turn the buck.

But Texas has no real post presence. Tre Mitchell left the team and now they find themselves with Dylan Disu as the only player above 6’8”. That’s a problem when you’re about to face a 7’4” Zach Edey and An All-American Trevion Williams at the position Each guy will be at least 30 lbs on their defender Will Beard double and triple right away Will he just have to stay out of foul trouble Edey is 4th best player in the nation in fouls shot by forty.Williams and guard Jaden Ivey are both in the top 60. What’s Beard’s lineup like, how do they bounce back if Disu and Christian Bishop can’t stay down?

Purdue has two of the best rebounders in the country. Zach Edey is the best offensive rebounder in the country. Texas is an average rebounding team. They have a good size on the wings, but again their post is sorely lacking in height. Purdue will return the ball. They will miss shots. Their guards will have a hard time getting space.

But how much will it matter if Purdue can gain a major advantage in possession of offensive boards. Edey had at least 5 offensive rebounds in the last three games. Trevion Williams grabbed double-digit rebounds in each of the past two games. Both players only play half a game. Caleb Furst, Purdue’s backup, is 6’10” and 230 pounds, bigger than anyone on the Texas roster and is coming off the best game of his career against Yale.

If Texas has to double up at the post, there will be even more room for Purdue to crush the offensive glass. Texas don’t normally play at a fast pace on offense, they are the 338th fastest team in the nation. If Texas is looking to push the ball, does Purdue decide to plant the boards completely? Do they even need or will Mason Gillis and Caleb Furst both be able to feast on the offensive glass when Williams and Edey draw doubles.

Texas wants to strangle its opponents. They want to force turnovers. They want to limit possessions. They want it to be ugly.

Purdue has to play in the space with Ivey in transition and their big ones look at each other in the paint. Purdue is the 4th best three-point shooting team in the nation. Texas doesn’t shoot the ball well. The more possessions, the more likely Purdue is to play its game and knock down shots and fouls. Texas wants a chance to apply late pressure and get into Purdue. They just have to keep it close and they’ll feel confident that they can force the late game.

Purdue’s offense is more varied than ever. Sasha Stefanovic works off the ball, Ivey runs around the screens at full speed, Edey and Tre dominate the post, and Eric Hunter Jr. has really found his attacking game between all of Purdue’s high-use players.

If Coach Beard has his way, the big guys might have theirs, but Stefanovic certainly won’t. He will also try to deny Ivey. Force him to try and beat Texas one-on-one while getting pushed off the baseline and making bad decisions. Beard has the defenders to try to do that.

On the other side, Texas will want to work on Purdue’s defense. It’s not a dynamic pick and roll team, but Marcus Carr has burned Purdue before. Look for him as the physically imposing guard attacking Purdue and forcing rotations. Texas will rely on Timmy Allen to make just enough shots to stay close and just ahead of Purdue.

Harry’s might have the Go Ugly Early brand, but Texas will try to emulate it and stay ugly late too.

Purdue’s success will depend on their ability to continue to look like Purdue. Twice the Coach Beard teams took that away from them. Let’s see if this is the third time that pleases Matt Painter and a much different Boilermaker crew.

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