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Purdue Basketball: Davidson Preview / Open Thread

The Boilermakers take on the Wildcats tonight in something called The Indy Classic

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 04 Minnesota at Purdue Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Davidson (7-3) vs #1 Purdue (10-0, 2-0 Big10)

Indy Classic

December 17th, 2022 - 6:15 PM EST

Indianapolis, Indiana, Gainbridge Fieldhouse

TV - Big10 Network

Davidson Roster

Davidson Starting Five

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Center 3 Sam Mennenga Jr 6'9" 240 Auckland, New Zealand
Forward 1 Reed Bailey Fr 6'11" 210 Harvard, MA
Wing 4 Desmond Watson So 6'5" 205 Columbus, OH
Shooting Guard 5 Grant Huffman Jr 6'3" 185 Aurora, OH
Point Guard 0 Foster Loyer Sr 6'0" 175 Clarkson, MI Michigan State

Davidson Bench

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Guard/Wing 23 Connor Kochera Jr 6'5" 200 Arlington Heights, IL William and Mary
Forward 15 Sean Logan Fr 6'10" 205 Westfield, NJ
Center/Forward 42 David Skogman Jr 6'10" 235 Waukesha, WI Buffalo

Davidson on Offense

This is the Foster Loyer/Sam Mennenga show, everyone else is a bit player. In their only game against a “power” conference this season, Loyer put up 18 points and Mennenga added 15 in a win over South Carolina. Loyer is averaging 19.5 points on the year, and Mennenga is averaging 16.6.

Despite their reliance on Loyer and Mennga as finishers, new head coach Matt McKillop hasn’t strayed far from recently retired father Bob’s offense. They’re going to spread the floor, set tons of picks, and cut to the basket if the defense gets caught watching the ball. It’s fun to watch when it’s working. They remind me a little of the 18/19 Purdue team with Foster Loyer doing his Carsen Edwards impersonation and Mennenga playing the role of Matt Haarms as the center at the top of the key.

This will be a test for the Boilermaker defense. Braden Smith will draw the initial responsibility of guarding Loyer. Physically, Smith is the better athlete, but Loyer is as smart and experienced as any player in college basketball. If Smith freelances, or gets caught ball watching, Loyer will get open, Davidson will find him, and if Purdue is lucky, he’ll get a layup and not an open 3. Smith has to stay locked in and see ball and man, because Davidson is going to run him around off the ball like no team Purdue has seen this season.

Zach Edey will also be put to the test. Mennenga sets screens on the perimeter and keeps the basket area free unless he dives for a quick post up when he gets a mismatch. He’s shooting 44% from 3 (8/18) and won’t hesitate to pull the trigger if Zach lays off him. There are some center Purdue can back off of and challenge to shoot, Mennenga isn’t one of them. Davidson is going to make Zach guard on the perimeter, and when Mennenga gets his hands on the ball, expect him to drive the ball early and try to catch the big man reaching. Furst and TKR match up better against Mennenga than Edey, but forward/guard Reed Bailey plays the 4, and is shooting 35% from 3 (5/14) and back up forward/center David Skogman is shooting 40% from 3 (6/15). There isn’t anywhere for Edey to hide against this 5 Out offense.

Davidson on Defense

We saw the blueprint from Nebraska. They’re going to double/triple Edey and try to make Purdue score from the perimeter. Against the Huskers, Zach was making the right basketball play by throwing the ball out to the open shooters when he drew the double/triple but his supporting cast struggled to cash in open looks, often times playing hot potato with the ball around the perimeter. You want to give up a good shot for a better shot. You don’t want to give up a good shot for the same good shoot. Braden Smith, in particular, struggled to pull the trigger on open looks.

I like the fact that Edey makes the right basketball play, but sometimes Purdue needs him to dominate, regardless of the defense. I expect him to challenge more double/triple teams tonight. One of the keys to Purdue’s offense is Edey getting the other team in foul trouble. If he auto passes out of every double team, and the other team auto doubles him on every possession, they neutralize the most dominant force in college basketball with scheme. Purdue can’t let that happen. If that means putting him in more action quick post action where he set a screen and dives to the rim, instead of a straight post ups, Painter needs to make that happen.

I like Purdue’s guards/wings as a compliment to Edey. I don’t like them trying to win games. Davidson is going to try and make Purdue’s perimeter players win this game. Matt Painter has to find a way to keep that from happening.

X-Factor - Rebounding

It seems like Purdue keeps playing poor rebounding teams, and tonight is no exception. They give up offensive rebounds on 32.6% (297th in the nation) of their opponents missed shots. Against Nebraska, Edey had 7 rebounds, but didn’t turn many of them into points. If teams are going to double/triple him, he needs to dominate the glass and finish around the rim. He’s been playing well, but is missing too many contested 3 footers.



Purdue - 79

Davidson - 63


Purdue - 71

Davidson - 65

This one worries me. Davidson’s offense is going to stress Purdue at key spots and their defense is going to make Purdue hit shots away from home. I still think the Boilermakers win, but I don’t think this is going to be a blow out.