Marquette Golden Eagles:
The Boilers will look to improve to 3-0 in an event that they have struggled with since its’ start in 2015 (1-2 with losses to Villanova and Marquette). The Boilers are led by pre-season All American and Abdul Jabbar nominee Zach Edey who is currently averaging 21 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3.5 blocks per game. What may be more impressive is that Edey is currently second on the team in minutes per game at 28 which is an increase of 9 minutes per game from last season.
Supplementing Edey is a litany of options from behind the arc but those players have largely struggled at different times in the first two games, notably against Austin Peay where they shot only 2-19 from behind the arc and the second leading scorer behind Edey’s 30 points were 5 different players scoring 5 points. That’s not a recipe for success against quality teams like Purdue will be facing in the next few games. They will rely on their young guards in Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith again but two scorers coming off the bench in Brandon Newman and David Jenkins Jr will likely tell the story of games against good opponents.
Marquette Golden Eagles:
Like Shaka Smart teams of the past from VCU and Texas, Marquette will play a bunch of athletic guys a pretty equal amount of minutes with a brand of basketball that wants to force their opponents to play faster than they are comfortable and into mistakes. They are led this season by guard/wing Olivier-Maxence Prosper and forward Oso Ighodaro who both play almost 30 minutes per game. Ighodaro averages 14.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists but the biggest key is that he isn’t a player who is a threat from behind the arc that may put Edey in difficult situations when defending the PnP or the PnR. Prosper averages 13 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2 assists as well.
The entire Marquette team averages 22.5 assists per game, 11 steals per game, and forces 18.5 turnovers per game but a major flaw for this team is that they average 16 turnovers themselves and 19.5 fouls per game. Marquette also does not boast a lot of size with only one player, a true freshman, that stands taller than 6’10. What they lack for size they will make up for in quickness and tempo and the stats back that up with Marquette 11th in the country in possessions per game at 82.3 whereas Purdue stands at 283rd with just 68.8 per game.
Purdue Wins If...
Purdue wins this game by the same formula we have seen for almost a decade now. Establish Edey inside and force Marquette to double the post while being able to hit open shots from the outside. Purdue has shown good execution in the half court and making the extra pass to get great shots for teammates. Now they need to start showing an ability to hit those open shots and not shoot themselves out of games. If they need to lean on Edey for long stretches this season, they will need to slow the game down to make sure Edey can stay in that game for 25-30 minutes per game without getting tired. They will also need to cut down on turnovers to ensure Marquette stays out of transition and sticking around that 10 per game that Coach Painter wants to be under.
Marquette Wins If...
The visitors win if Purdue has another game shooting like they had against Austin Peay, don’t take care of the basketball, and allow the Golden Eagles to get easy buckets in transition. They’ll look to play pressure defense in the half court to try and push Purdue’s initial offensive weave further out which makes getting the ball into Edey much more difficult. Purdue doesn’t have a shot creator off the dribble so look for Marquette to apply lots of pressure in the half court to generate turnovers and force Purdue into late shot clock situations.
This is a great game for Purdue to have right before they head to Portland for the PK-85 tourney where they will see Bob Huggins and West Virginia on Thanksgiving Day. Marquette will test the Boilers patience but Purdue’s ability to be very flexible in their lineups and having Kaufman-Renn and Furst’s ability to match (if not exceed) the athleticism Marquette will bring will help the Boilers past Marquette. Edey feasts again and likely scores 23 and grabs 12 rebounds while a litany of Boilers punish the Golden Eagles from outside.