Okay so...the Boilermakers started out looking shaky before they quickly turned into one of the most well-oiled machines in college basketball.
The first few minutes included a lot of turnovers by the Boilermakers, but the Blue Devils simply could not take advantage. Duke started off 1-4 from the stripe, Purdue kept poking the ball away to create transition points, and the the ball movement looked like the ‘96 Bulls or the ‘14 Spurs. Then, Zach Edey took over while staying out of foul trouble, drawing double teams while knowing when to pass, and when to shoot and, specifically, when to drop-step for easy (for him, at least) semi-hook shots. Even his left-handed hooks looked good enough to make 2022 Purdue men’s basketball world-beaters.
We had guys who are between 6’0” and 7’4” diving for loose balls and clearly sliding in their own sweat all over the floor showing how badly they wanted to stay undefeated.
It was an all-over team effort for Purdue. The Boilermakers looked cohesive and determined to take a lead, maintain it, and run with it.
Furst was closing out outside shots, getting rebounds, making outlet passes. Heide. So was Morton. So was our giant Canadian who needs no introduction (while his mother overlooked the game while wearing a Purdue hockey sweater, which might be the most Canadian thing I’ve seen since the last time I visited Ontario).
Loyer played the most minutes he’s ever played and kept finding clean open shots while his brethren made great off-the-ball decisions to make open passes available options for everyone else. Smith kept getting steals and if he wasn’t running downcourt for layups high off the glass, he was dishing it to those players who kept creating space for themselves and sinking shots while Duke’s defense looked bewildered.
Purdue becomes only the second team ever to have multiple wins of 18+ points over top ten teams on a neutral floors since UCLA in 1968. That team went on to win the national championship, and the star of that team was some guy named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who ended up in a small role in the popular film Airplane! That’s decent company.
Head coach Matt Painter has found a way to build an offense around the physically dominant Edey; his teammates have great court vision and know when to drive, when to drop back, when to pass, when to await the pass...it’s beautiful basketball, really.
Edey knows how to do the same. He’s passing exactly where his teammates know they need to be when he’s inevitably double-teamed down low. His awareness in the paint has improved greatly since last year and it’s paying huge dividends for the Boilermakers.