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Purdue Basketball: Appalachian State Preview

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Appalachian State’s Ronshad Shabazz will pose some interesting questions for Purdue.

NCAA Basketball: Puerto Rico Tip-Off-Appalachain State vs Western Michigan Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Where: Charleston, South Carolina

When: Thursday, November 14

TV: ESPN2

Purdue Boilermakers (Big 10)

Current Record: 2-0

Previous Game: 84-75 win vs Ball State

Last Season: 30-7

Post Season: Sweet 16 Loss to Texas Tech

Head Coach: Matt Painter

Projected Starting Lineup

C - Matt Haarms - SO - 7’3, 250 - 12.5 PPG, 6 RPG

PF - Grady Eifert - SR - 6’6, 200 - 7 PPG, 7 RPG

SF - Nojel Eastern - SO - 6’6, 220 - 6 PPG, 6 RPG

SG - Ryan Cline - SR - 6’6, 195 - 11 PPG, 6 APG

PG - Carsen Edwards - JR - 6’1, 200 - 26.5 PPG, 3.5 APG

Key Reserves

C/PF - Evan Boudreaux - JR - 6’8, 220 - 12 PPG, 4.5 RPG

SG/SF - Eric Hunter Jr - FR - 6’3, 170 - 5 PPG, 1.5 APG

PF/SF - Aaron Wheeler - FR - 6’9, 200 - 3.5 PPG, 3 RPG

PG/SG - Sasha Stefanovich - FR - 6’4, 195 - 1.5 PPG, 1 APG

Adjusted Tempo: 71.4 (226 Nationally) - Slow

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 113.5 (9)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 93.6 (34)

Appalachian State Mountaineers (Sun Belt Conference)

Current Record: 1-1

Previous Game: 81-73 loss to Alabama

Last Season: 15-18

Post Season: None

Head Coach: Jim Fox

Projected Starting Lineup

C - #50 - Hunter Seacat - JR - 6’9, 235 - 5 PPG, 4 RPG

PF - #0 - Isaac Johnson - JR - 6’9, 215 - 15 PPG, 9 RPG

SF/PF - #32 - Tyrell Johnson - SR - 6’8, 205 - 6 PPG, 3 RPG

SG - #1 - Justin Forrest - SO - 6’2, 195 - 18.5 PPG, 2.5 APG

PG - #2 - Ronshad Shabazz - SR - 6’5, 220 - 16.5 PPG, 3 APG

Key Reserves

PG - #4 - O’Showen Williams - JR - 5’11, 190 - 3.5 PPG, 1.5 APG

SG/SF - #11 - Joseph Battle - 6’3, 180 - 5.5 PPG, 4 RPG

SG/SF - #20 - Adrian Delph - FR - 6’3, 195 - 9.5 PPG, 3 RPG

C/PF - #14 - Bennett Holley - SR - 6’8, 235 - 3.5 PPG, 3 RPG

Adjusted Tempo: 73.7 (72nd Nationally) - Moderate

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 102 (155)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 103 (210)

Offense

Note: App Stat basketball is one of the best kept secret on the internet. I had to use a game from the ‘16/’17 season. The have the same coach and several of the same players. It’s the best I could do because I refuse to pay for ESPN+.

1 in 4 out

The offense looks spread you out and create driving lanes for layups and kick out 3’s. They will drop PF, #0, Isaac Johnson into the post for looks, and he’s an efficient scorer (9/12 vs Bama). Depending on the match-ups, I could see App State try and exploit the Johnson vs Eifert match up if Purdue doesn’t double down.

The main focus of the App State offense is getting the ball to PG/SF #2, Ronshad Shabazz. Shabazz declared for the NBA draft last season, but decided to come back to school after getting his evaluations. He’s essentially a less athletic, better shooting version of Nojel Eastern. He’ll play both PG and SF, depending on the other players on the floor. He went 5-7 from 3 against Bama, and kept his team in the game until late. He’s a legit talent, and will shoot until he gets hot and then keep shooting. He put up 32 against Iowa St last year, going 4/10 from 3 and 9/10 from the FT line. He will pump fake and use his size to get to the basket if you close too hard on his 3 point shot.

The Shabazz vs Eastern match-up should be be interesting. It’s rare to see to giant perimeter players going head to head. If Eastern can shut him down, App State has no chance. If Eastern gets in foul trouble, I don’t like any of our other potential matchups against Shabazz, and App State will probably hand around in this game make things a little uncomfortable.

Defense

Man to Man

This defense should look familiar to Purdue. App State looks like it plays straight up man to man (at least they did 2 years ago). They have no answer for Haarms inside if we decide to put him in the post. They have several 6’8, 6’9 guys to throw at him, but no one that can hand with him physically. That advantage should also show up on the offensive glass.

Against Bama, they stayed in the game because they sent Bama to the FT line 43 times and Bama only hit 26. I expect they’ll use the same strategy against Purdue, so free throw shooting will be at a premium. If Purdue hits from the line, they might be able to put this away early, but if they struggle, they might find score a little tighter in the 2nd half than comfortable.

This defense shouldn’t provide Purdue with any real problems, and I think Cline is primed for a big game from the outside once Purdue starts collapsing the defense. They have no answer for Carsen, especially if he is aggressive. Their only real hope is Purdue being sloppy with the ball and taking bad shots early in the clock. If the Boilermakers run their offense, they should be able to find a good shot on every possession.

Overall

This team could provide Purdue with a challenge. They were only down 3 at half against a talented Bama team last game before slowly falling behind in the second half. They have an experienced roster and a fringe NBA prospect in Shabazz. That’s usually the recipe for a close game.

That said, I think Purdue handles this team, even if it’s close for a while. The Boilermakers offense should be able to exploit several match ups and Eastern is the perfect defensive match up against Shabazz. Purdue should be able to grind this team down on offense and put them away in the second half.

I will warn that a bad shooting night could make this thing uncomfortable, because they can score.

Prediction

KenPom: 84-69 Purdue

Drew: 90 - 77 Purdue