Location: Homewood Alabama
Type of School: Private (Baptist Affiliation)
Mascot: Spike the Bulldog
Head Coach: Bucky McMillan (48-35)
Overall Record: 21-11
Conference Record: 15-3 (Southern Conference Regular Season Champs)
Points Scored Per Game: 78.7 (28th Nationally)
Points Scored Against Per Game: 71.6 (228th)
Best Win: UNC Greensboro
Worst Loss: Chattanooga (Conference Tournament)
2022-’23 Kenpom 4 Factors
Effective FG%: 53.5% (41st Nationally)
Turnover %: 17.9 (157th)
Off. Reb. %: 28.2 (195)
FTA/FGA: 42 (12th)
Effective FG%: 51.9 (260th)
Turnover %: 19.8 (80th)
Off. Reb. %: 27 (113)
FTA/FGA: 37.6 (310)
Projected Starting Lineup
*All Stats from 2022-’23 Season
Samford Starting Lineup
|Point Guard||21||Rylan Jones||Sr.||6'0"||175||Utah State||4.2||3.3||1.3||0.1||0.8|
|Guard||10||Garrett Hicks||Sr.||6'0"||165||Alabama A&M||12.8||1.7||4||0.1||1.6|
|Center||14||Achor Achor||Jr.||6'9"||227||Chipola College||6.1||0.6||3.5||0.8||0.4|
|Guard||2||Jaden Campbell||Sr.||6'5"||200||Florida Southwestern||7.7||0.3||2.3||0.4||0.7|
|Guard||12||Dallas Graziani||So.||5'8"||140||Nova Southeastern||11.3||6.7||3.3||0||2.6|
|Guard||24||Brody Boyer||Sr.||6'4"||210||Eastern Florida State College||2.1||0.6||0.8||0||0.4|
*Note: I’ll be able to cull the reserve section for most teams. I have no idea who is going to play for Samford tonight so I gave you everyone.
Samford pressed on about 40% of their possessions last season. They’ll try to recreate FDU’s formula for success and harass Purdue’s guards up and down the court. Turnovers are the ultimate goal, but making Purdue work the ball up the court is a benefit of pressing the Boilermakers as well.
They want Purdue to use a good portion of the shot clock getting into their set, rushing Purdue’s methodical offense. Edey is going to feast, but they’re going to try to ugly up the game, hang on the big man, and invite Purdue’s notoriously streaky shooters to hit late contested threes.
On offense, look for them to slow the pace of the game all the way down, get the ball in the hands of a playmaker late in the shot clock, and see if they can beat Purdue by playing hero ball one-on-one after getting a switch. The fewer possessions in the game, the better for Samford. One way to keep Purdue from crushing you with efficiency is to limit possessions with a slow-paced offense and then try to steal possessions from Purdue with an aggressive defense.
I hope you enjoy ugly games because every undermanned opponent on Purdue’s schedule is going to try the FDU game plan. I don’t expect any of them to succeed, but I do expect to fall asleep in the mid-second half during a few of the late tip games.
Matchup to Watch
Braden Smith vs Dallas Graziani
Teams are going to pressure Smith all season. I don’t have the diminutive Graziani in the starting lineup, but he led D2 powerhouse Florida Nova to a National Championship as a redshirt freshman. He’s quick, crafty, and was an elite distributor at the D2 level.
As a starter or off the bench, the lightning-quick Grazinani will pose an issue for Smith with his fast hands and feet on defense and his ability to turn the corner and distribute on late-clock pick-and-rolls.
I think Smith is more than up to the task and ends up physically dominating this matchup, but if he doesn’t, other teams will certainly take note. If Braden doesn’t want to be pressed all season, it’s in his best interest not to turn the ball over against Graziani and Samford and punish them in transition. If Smith can’t accomplish that task against Samford, he’ll have to accomplish it against every team on the schedule.
I don’t think Samford can challenge Purdue in this one, but they can provide Purdue’s opponents with great film if their press gets to Smith and the rest of Purdue’s ball handlers.
Purdue - 82
Samford - 62
Purdue - 89
Samford - 59
The spread is -19.5. Good teams win, great teams cover. Purdue comes out and makes a statement against Samford. The guards handle the pressure, Edey puts up a double double in 20 minutes of action, and we get to see what the bench looks like early in the second half.
The walk-ons need to stretch at halftime because they’re getting at least 2 minutes, if not more. I’m hoping to see the late night Carson Barrett show at the end of this one.