Purdue has a very, very tough early season tournament, but such is life for a likely preseason top 10 team. It is good to be tested early in order to prep for what should be an exciting season. This year the Boilers will take part in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic in Uncasville, Connecticut. This is the same tournament Purdue participated in during the 2015-16 season and it won both games against Old Dominion and Florida.
This year we get a very challenging field, as North Carolina, Tennessee, and Villanova assure us of two marquee non-conference games. According to Jon Rothstein, Purdue will open with the Tar Heels.
Sources: Villanova will play Tennessee and Purdue will face North Carolina in the first round of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 21, 2021
This knocks out the Tar Heels as a possible opponent in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but they did play in Mackey recently as they lost to Wisconsin in this year’s NCAA Tournament there. We are just 2-8 all-time against them, last beating them 82-71 in the 1974 NIT. The last game against them was a 90-75 loss in the 1999 Maui Invitational final.
Villanova and Tennessee are much more recent opponents, as Purdue defeated both in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. For their sakes, there is no Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline this time. Purdue is 3-2 all-time against the Volunteers but the last two games (the 2017 Battle 4 Atlantis and 2019 NCAA Tournament) being classics that went to overtime. Purdue is 1-3 against Villanova, but has played them twice recently as well in the 2016 Gavitt Games at Mackey and in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
It would not be a surprise if all four of these teams were in the preseason top 25, or even top 15.