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Purdue vs. Gonzaga | Quick Preview & Game Thread

Let’s take a quick look at the matchup between the Boilers & the Bulldogs that features Kenpom’s #1 and #2 rated player in the country.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Starting Lineups:

Purdue Boilermakers:

Gonzaga Bulldogs:

Quick Preview:

Purdue Boilermakers:

The Boilers now sit at 4-0 with two quality wins against teams that traditionally give them problems with their pressure defense in Marquette and West Virginia. The combination of multiple guards with the ability to handle pressure in Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, David Jenkins Jr., and Ethan Morton has proven to be invaluable in the Boilers ability to control the tempo of the game.

Purdue is going to lean heavily on Zach Edey, as they should, as Edey scored 24 points and grabbed 12 total rebounds to lead the Boilers in their victory over the Mountaineers. Edey was also an impressive 10-12 from the free throw line but struggled with 6 total turnovers. That issue needs to be minimized as much as possible because cutting down turnovers leads directly to Purdue scoring points or getting open looks from behind the arc.

Marquette v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Purdue has established a litany of options to backup Edey from a scoring standpoint as Mason Gillis broke his shooting slump by going for 14 points on 2-3 shooting from behind the arc and 4-5 from the free throw line. Purdue needs to establish a consistent second scorer but having it done by committee presents unique challenges to prepare for and that may be where Purdue’s strength lies this season.

Gonzaga Bulldogs:

Gonzaga has built themselves into one of the elite programs over the last twenty years and Drew Timme may be the best player that program has had over that time. Timme is averaging 21 points and 7.8 rebounds (as of the game against Portland) but his passing out of the post and ability to make plays for others is what makes Gonzaga a really good offensive team. Gonzaga will look to score inside the arc where they score 58.8% of their points and do so at an extremely efficient level. Gonzaga also features two other scorers who average double figures in Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton.

Gonzaga shoots the ball at an average rate behind the arc at 36.8% 84th) but struggles with turnovers where they average nearly 18 per game and has a turnover % rate of 23.2 (321st). Gonzaga also plays seven players almost exclusively with Strawther and Timme both averaging 33 and 32 minutes respectively. Gonzaga will also not place much pressure on ball handlers and look to get their defense set in the half court and make opponents execute over the course of an entire game.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga’s bench is very short and beyond their two main contributors there in Malachi Smith and Hunter Salis, no other Bulldogs get more than 8.8 minutes per game. Smith does average 7.3 points per game in those limited minutes while Salis, the former top 15 nationally ranked player, only get 4.3 in his minutes.

Purdue Wins If...

Purdue wins this game if they can shoot 40%+ from behind the arc, limit Gonzaga’s second chance opportunities, and don’t turn the ball over. Purdue has shown an ability to control tempo over the last two games with their guards being able to handle and break pressure consistently but against WVU they turned the ball over 18 times that led directly to 13 points and 18 fast break points. Had Purdue limited those turnovers, Purdue would have beaten WVU by 20 or more points. Purdue will also need to continue to get to the foul line where they have shot very well as a team at 75.4%.

Gonzaga Wins If...

Gonzaga wins this game if they can limit their own turnovers, limit their own fouls, and shoot well from behind the arc themselves. Gonzaga is really laced with veterans amongst their contributors and that may play to their advantage to start the game where Purdue has struggled at times during the season. Gonzaga will use their own dominant inside player in Timme and look to get him established early and often.


I think Purdue may turn some heads in this game and push Gonzaga pretty hard into the second half but I think the veterans of Gonzaga are able to push Gonzaga through in this early season matchup. The Boilers will learn a lot from this game about where they stand and get a chance to see as close to a B1G type talented team as they would see in the non-conference up to this point.

Purdue: 73

Gonzaga: 79

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.

Let’s start off the Game Thread with your predictions!

Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue!