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Purdue Basketball: Minnesota Preview

The red hot Boilermakers open up conference play against the struggling Gophers.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Note:

Deep breath....thank y’all for hanging with us over the last month. Hitting the ground running during the busiest time of the blogging year (football and basketball crossover), including a trip to the Big10 Championship game has been an adventure. Needless to say, we’re shifting our focus to basketball. These previews will be out earlier starting this week.

Minnesota (4-3, 0-0 Big10) Vs #5 Purdue (7-0, 0-0 Big10)

Big10 Opener

December 4th, 5 P.M.

Mackey Arena - West Lafayette, Indiana

Big10 Network

Purdue comes into tonight looking to maintain their perfect record. The Boilermakers have Big10 Championship aspirations, making every conference game a big game. The Golden Gophers are looking to right the ship after an uninspiring start to the season, including losses to Virginia Tech, UNLV, and Depaul and an overtime escape against the California Baptist Lancers (I had no idea this was a team). Matt Painters team is the prohibitive favorite in this game, but as we know, there are no certainties in college basketball.

Purdue Roster

Now Starting For You Purdue Boilermakers

Position Number Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Position Number Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Center 15 Zach Edey Jr 7'4" 295 Toronto, Canada
Forward 1 Caleb Furst So 6'10" 230 Ft. Wayne, IN
Wing 25 Ethan Morton Jr 6'7" 215 Butler, PA
Wing 2 Fletcher Loyer Fr 6'4" 185 Fort Wayne, IN
Point Guard 3 Braden Smith Fr 6'0" 180 Westfield, IN

Bench Mob

Position Number Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Position Number Player Class Height Weight Hometown
Forward 4 Trey Kaufman-Renn Fr 6'9" 225 Sellersburg, IN
Wing/Forward 11 Brian Waddell Fr 6'8" 195 Carmel, IN
Wing 5 Brandon Newman Jr 6'5" 200 Valparaiso, IN
Wing/Point Guard 14 David Jenkins Sr 6'1" 200 Tacoma, WA

Minnesota Roster

Minnesota Starting 5

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Former Team
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Former Team
Point Guard 55 Ta'Lon Cooper Jr 6'4" 195 Roebuck, SC Morehead State
Wing 10 Jamison Battle Jr 6'4" 225 Robbinsdale, MN George Washington
Wing 24 Jaden Henley Fr 6'7" 200 Ontario, CA
Forward 42 Treyton Thompson So 7'0" 210 Glenwood, MN
Center 3 Dawson Garcia So 6'11" 230 Savage, MN Marquette/UNC

Minnesota Bench

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Former Team
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Former Team
Center/Forward 21 Pharrel Payne Fr 6'9" 230 Cottage Grove, MN
Point Guard/Wing 4 Braeden Carrington Fr 6'4" 190 Brooklyn Park, MN
Forward 1 Joshua Ola-Joseph Fr 6'7 215 Brooklyn Park, MN
Point Guard 0 Taurus Samuels Sr 6'1" 190 Oceanside, CA Dartmouth

Purdue Stats

Purdue Stats Through 12/3

Starters Position Minutes 3 Point % FT % Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Turnovers
Starters Position Minutes 3 Point % FT % Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Turnovers
Zach Edey Center 30.3 NA 74 22.1 11.4 0.9 0.3 2.1 1.9
Caleb Furst Forward 16.9 33 64 6.6 5.1 0.4 0.1 0.6 0.3
Ethan Morton Wing 24.1 16 93 4.6 2.6 4.7 0.9 0.3 1.1
Fletcher Loyer Wing 27.6 38 67 11.3 1.6 2.3 0.6 0 0.9
Braden Smith Guard 28.9 40 92 10.3 5.3 3.7 1.9 0 2.4
Brandon Newman Wing 17.6 35 78 7.4 4.6 0.9 0.3 0.4 1.3
David Jenkins Guard 14.3 33 67 4.3 1.3 0.7 0.2 0 1.3
Trey Kaufman-Renn Center/Forward 11.6 17 50 4.1 2.6 0.1 0.1 0.4 0.6
Brian Waddell Wing 10 0 100 1 0.7 0.6 0 0 0.6

Minnesota Stats

Minnesota Stats

Starters Position Minutes 3 Point % FT % Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Turnovers
Starters Position Minutes 3 Point % FT % Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Turnovers
Ta'Lon Cooper Point Guard 35.1 53 47 10.4 4.6 7 1.7 0.6 3
Jamison Battle Wing 34.7 23 75 11.3 4.3 1.3 0 0 1.3
Jaden Henley Wing 25.1 29 71 6.1 1.9 0.9 0.7 0.7 2.6
Treyton Thompson Forward 13.1 23 60 2.6 2.3 1 0.1 0.6 0.3
Dawson Garcia Center 29.4 33 65 14.3 6 1.3 0.9 0.4 2
Pharrel Payne Center/Forward 23.4 NA 50 8.7 6.4 0.6 0.6 0.9 2.4
Braeden Carrington Point Guard/Wing 24.2 32 50 7.6 4.6 0.6 1 0.2 1
Joshua Ola-Joseph Forward 16.3 20 47 6.3 2.1 0 0 0.3 0.9
Taurus Samuels Point Guard 11.6 43 20 1.7 1.1 0.7 0 0 0.4

Purdue on Offense

The Golden Gophers haven’t been good this season. They’re ranked 123rd in defensive efficiency. At the same time, they provide a tricky match up for the Boilermakers because of their front court size. They start a 7’0” forward and a 6’11” center. Their big to big double teams could pose an issue for Edey. Mason Gillis and Caleb Furst better lace up their shooting shoes todays, because their ability to punish the big/big double will dictate how Edey is defended. If they hit open looks, the double team either vanishes, or changes to a big/wing double, which should be easier for Zach to navigate.

The Gophers size on the inside is the strength of their team overall. They don’t do much well, but they are 34th in the nation in two point percentage defense. Purdue’s guards need to keep that in mind when they drive because they’ve got long armed forwards and wings ready to make finishes around the rim difficult.

Other than that, the formula remains the same for the Boilers, Edey early and often, hit open outside shots, take care of the ball, profit.

Purdue on Defense

The Gophers are significantly better on defense than they are trying to score the ball. Again, though, they provide a few tough match ups for the Boilermakers. Namely, the 1/5 pick and roll featuring Ta’Lon Cooper and Dawson Garcia. If Dawson Garcia rings a bell, it’s because he lit up Purdue last season to the tune of 26 points, including 3-5 shooting from 3. He’s the type of mobile big that Edey struggles to cover. Throw in Cooper’s ability to run the pick and roll and the Boilermakers’ drop coverage on the high screen and roll will be put to the test. Minnesota is going to make Zach guard away from the basket.

Speaking of outside shooting, the Gophers are dreadful behind the arc, with the exception of Cooper and Garcia. Purdue has played solid defense but they let the one competent shooter for the Seminoles (Darin Green) go off for 23 points on 4 of 7 shooting from deep. Cooper, in particular, worries me in the high screen and roll game. If Edey hangs back on the 1/5 screen, Cooper is capable of getting hot and staying hot from 3. I’m not sure Edey and Smith have an answer for the Cooper/Garcia combo. Don’t be surprised if Ethan Morton ends up on Cooper. Once Painter made the move to put Morton and Green, he cooled off immediately. Morton’s length makes the guard pulling from deep off the high pick and roll significantly more difficult.


Much like Florida State, Minnesota is a big team that struggles to rebound. I don’t get it, but in their last game (a 67-57 loss to Virginia Tech) the Hokies crushed them on the boards, 42 to 27, including giving up 11 offensive boards. In their 69-53 loss to DePaul, the Blue Demons dominated the glass as well, snagging an incredible 48 rebounds to Minnesota’s 32.

Purdue’s 37.3% offensive rebounding percentage is 18th in the nation. Minnesota’s 36.4 offensive rebounds allowed percentage is 343rd in the nation. Expect Painter to crash the offensive boards, the Gophers don’t want to run. Their 62.7 adjusted tempo puts them at 352nd in the nation. One way to keep a team off the offensive boards is to punish them in transition, but that’s not something Minnesota is interested in attempting.



Purdue - 72

Minnesota - 54

Confidence - 95%

It’s rare to see this big of a gulf between conference rivals, but the Gophers have been dreadful this season. Playing on the road in the toughest gym in the nation against a top 5 team doesn’t look like a “get right” game.


Purdue - 75

Minnesota - 60

After a grueling four-game stretch, Purdue comes off a nice rest. I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out slow and then slowly strangle Minnesota like they did against FSU. If they come out hot and hit their shots, I may be under selling the final score, but I need to see them do it.

Either way, Purdue wins big.