I like tempo-free stats. Here's what they tell me to expect from VCU.
On offense, their four factors numbers are surprisingly similar to Purdue's:
(1) They take care of the basketball (17.2% turnover rate; Purdue's is 15.9%)
(2) They aren't great on the offensive glass (31.4% OR%; Purdue's is 32.4%)
(3) They are a decent but not great shooting team (EFg of 50.7%; Purdue's is......50.7%).
Defense is where we see the differences:
VCU, like Purdue, is pretty good at turning opponents over and keeping them off the FT line. However, they have poor field goal defense, allowing opponents an EFg of 50.0% (Purdue allows 45.4%), and are quite bad on the defensive glass as well, allowing opponents to grab 35.9% of their misses (Purdue allows only 30.7%).
How did VCU beat Georgetown? They shot well (54.5% EFg) and held onto the ball (9.7% TO rate). Those numbers are both very impressive. They also held Georgetown to a very poor shooting night (43.5% EFg) and turned them over a lot (27.5% TO rate).
What to like about this matchup:
1. VCU is merely a decent 3 pt shooting team (36.3%), but they really rely on that shot. 41.2% of their shots are 3's. Purdue is good both at preventing opponents from taking 3's (our opponents take only 27.7% of their shots from 3 pt range) and from making them when they do take them (32.4% on the season).
Something has to give here, and I give Purdue the advantage. I don't see VCU being able to get and hit enough open looks from distance. It would be one thing if they shot the 3 with Buckeye-esque accuracy, but they don't. They're more like Michigan--they love the shot, but they're just OK at hitting it (though it certainly did yesterday).
2. VCU's defense relies on turning people over, and, as I noted above, they're pretty good at it. That said, today's game aside, Purdue is very very good at taking care of the ball. I don't see VCU slowing down Purdue's offense significantly with takeaways--assuming Smooge doesn't feel like he has to commit all of Barlow's turnovers for him again.
3. VCU is poor on the boards on both ends of the floor. Purdue is not great but is certainly better, especially on the defensive glass.
In summary, I feel like Purdue is a team well-suited to stopping the VCU offense. I don't see where their points are going to come from. Moreover, VCU's defense, which relies heavily on forcing turnovers, will lose an important element if Purdue holds on to the ball the way they have for most of the season. By contrast, Georgetown was a team that did not take care of the ball well all season. They kept it up yesterday, and that was part of what did them in.
I expect Sunday's game to be fairly methodical. Think St. Peter's, but with a slightly smaller lead throughout. I like Purdue 71-60.