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Purdue vs. New Orleans | Matchups to Watch

What are the key matchups headed into the matchup against the Privateers?

Davidson v Purdue Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This will be Purdue’s 2nd lowest rated opponent all season according to multiple different analytics but Kenpom has New Orleans down at 344th out of a possible 363rd while Purdue’s final non-conference game against Florida A&M is rated 358th. Purdue will have the advantage in nearly every category you can analyze but let’s take a look at some matchups to watch for as Purdue heads into the new year and B1G Conference play.

1 | Zach Edey vs. New Orleans’ Double & Triple Teams

This is likely a copy and paste for most of the season until Purdue’s players not named Zach Edey can show a consistency in hitting the open threes that are handed to them. Until Purdue can shoot teams out of double teams, Edey is going to need to be patient once he gets the ball in the post to make good passes or go quickly before the double/triple team can stop him. In the game against Davidson he did a wonderful job of being patient and finding open shooters and only having 1 turnover in 34 minutes on the court.

A couple of things I would like to see Zach really focus in on these next two games as the team heads into B1G against a great defensive team in Rutgers: 1: Catching and facing the double team with the ball held high above his head and; 2: Splitting double teams by going quickly but under control once he catches the ball.

The first piece is important because of how Purdue has tried to beat those double teams by dropping the other big (Furst, TKR, Gillis) down to the opposite block to seal off the backside help to receive a dump pass from Edey for an easy layup. In the first clip, you see Edey just not quite be patient enough and miss TKR had he turned and squared more toward the basket. He also would have been able to make a better skip pass to Smith on the baseline which would have put Davidson in a worse rotation. In the second clip from the 2nd half, you see the adjustment Purdue made by simply having Furst on the block already and Edey makes a quick read before the defense can adjust. If that pass is jumped, Smith is open on the opposite wing IF Edey can get himself squared more to the hoop. The third clip is just more of Edey being patient with the double team and making good passes. Those shots will go down eventually.

Secondly, I’d like to see Edey a couple times step through the double team if the initial post defender continues to defend him on the high side to allow the double on the low side. Quickly splitting that double will force the post defender to play him straight up and allows Edey to get access to his left shoulder much easier. He may not be successful but even the thought that Edey COULD split a double team makes a defense hesitate and have to think more.

2 | Purdue’s 3pt Shooting vs. New Orleans’ 3pt Shooting Defense

Again, I feel like this one will be a copy and paste for most of the season until Purdue can really show they can consistently shoot well behind the arc. Purdue doesn’t need to be a 40%+ team from behind the arc to be successful because of the strength in the post with Edey, Furst, and TKR but being around 35% would make most of their games a lot less stressful. If you need a team to try to get that part of your game correct, New Orleans would be the one for you.

New Orleans has been one of the poorest 3pt shooting defense teams in the country ranking 343rd overall by allowing teams to shoot 38.4% from behind the arc. They are also equally as bad at 2pt shooting defense allowing teams to shoot 60.1% placing them 359th. If there was a game where Purdue could work on their issues from behind the arc, this is the one as Purdue is now shooting just 31.5% from behind the arc (260th) which is way below the capability from this team. When you do go 10-54 over the last two games, your average will substantially go down.

3 | New Orleans Sending Purdue to the Free Throw Line

Purdue has been one of the best teams in the country at getting to the free throw line where they get there an average of 22.6 times per game (32nd) where New Orleans ranks as one of the worst in the country allowing opponents to shoot 20.5 free throws per game (71st). Purdue’s ability to hit free throws has allowed them to win multiple games this year when they struggled from behind the arc. Against Davidson, Purdue went to the free throw line 37 times and made 28 of them (Purdue also missed multiple front ends of 1 and 1’s).

More than likely Purdue is going to get opportunities at the free throw line and hitting those will likely determine how quickly this game can get out of hand. It would be nice to see Brandon Newman, David Jenkins, and Brian Waddell get extended minutes to solidify the deep bench Purdue has headed into the B1G season. Those three guys will all be needed at some point or another during a stretch of a B1G game to get Purdue through shooting struggles and getting them each 15-20 minutes tonight and against Florida A&M would be incredibly helpful.