The 411: #6 Purdue vs. #18 North Carolina


THE GAME

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Sixth-ranked Purdue meets fifth-ranked Villanova Sunday at 1 p.m. for the championship of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at the Mohegan Sun.

Last time these two teams met was right here in Connecticut, at the NCAA Tournament, when Purdue routed the Wildcats in Hartford on its way to the Elite Eight three years ago.

THE PARTICULARS

Date: Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021

Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: ABC

Radio: Purdue Radio Network (96.5 WAZY locally)

ABOUT #6 PURDUE (4-0)

Schedule | Roster | Stats

• The Boilermakers are looking for their second Hall of Fame Tip-Off title in as many trips, as they won the event back in 2015.

• Purdue has yet to shoot under 39 percent from three-point range in any of its first four games, and now stands at 42.1 percent for the season.

• Purdue will have forward Mason Gillis available now that his suspension has run its course, and it sounds like Matt Painter plans to involve him mid-event. Ethan Morton has primarily been the Boilermakers’ backup 4 man the first four games.

PURDUE LINEUPS

STARTERS

C — 15 Zach Edey (7-4, 295, So.)

18.7 PPG • 76.9% FG • 10.3 REB • 19.0 MIN

Now comes a chance for Edey to show just how far he’s come as a sophomore. It’s not outside the realm of possibility he emerges this season as one of the top big men in all of college basketball and this event marks his first opportunity to do so.

F — 3 Caleb Furst (6-10, 230, Fr.)

9.3 PPG • 58.8% FG • 9.3 RPG

Furst has been rock-solid for Purdue through three college games and seems to fit right in playing alongside the Boilermakers’ other big men. His defensive transition will remain a process, though, and the higher level of athleticism and skill Purdue faces in Connecticut could accelerate that learning curve.

G —23 Jaden Ivey (6-4, 195, So.)

15.3 PPG • 6.3 REB • 3.3 AST

Purdue’s got a chance to be an elite offensive team, and the most important part of it might be its wunderkind sophomore guard’s decision-making, particularly pushing the ball up the floor offensively. Such things are always a fine line with really high-end scoring guards. He’s done pretty well thus far, but his Importance will be amplified in higher-leverage games.

G — 55 Sasha Stefanovic (6-5, 205, Sr.)

13.7 PPG • 57.9% 3-PT

Purdue’s opponents have a lot of defensive bases to cover, but they won’t be naive to Stefanovic’s body of work as a shooter. Defenses have always treated him like a priority as the Boilermakers utilize him as a central part of their dozens of sets and that probably won’t change.

G —11 Isaiah Thompson (6-1, 160, Jr.)

6.3 PPG • 46.2% 3-PT • 0 TO

Thompson’s proving to be a fine complement to Ivey in Purdue’s backcourt, a shotmaker who has yet to turn the ball over. He’s not really playing a ball-dominant role but there’s extreme value in those two things in this offense as long as he’s holding up his end defending the ball, which he is.

ROTATION

C — 50 Trevion Williams (6-10, 255, Sr.)

11.7 PPG • 66.7% FG • 9.3 REB • 3.0 AST

Williams is playing well and carrying himself admirably in his unique circumstance as a returning All-American who’s now coming off the bench. He’s saying all the right things — and seems to mean them — and doing all the right things on game nights. He will be tested defensively more so than any point this young season by the bigs and penetration components of these higher-end opponents.

G — 5 Brandon Newman (6-5, 200, So.)

12.3 PPG • 47.6% 3-PT

Newman’s gone off from deep a few times through three games. When that threat materializes off the bench, Purdue’s really going to be difficult to slow down on offense. Against these high-caliber teams, though, the Boilermakers need his best effort both physically and mentally on defense.

G — 25 Ethan Morton (6-6, 215, So.)

3.3 PPG • 2.7 REB • 2.0 AST • 2.3 STL

Morton’s days of playing the 4 may be numbered as Mason Gillis returns on Sunday, but he will still play multiple positions for Purdue and give them a good passer and decision-maker, as well as a heady, overachieving defender, as he’s been so far.

G — 2 Eric Hunter (6-4, 175, Sr.)

2.7 PPG • 2.7 AST

Also coming off the bench to start his senior season, Hunter played well vs. Wright State and figures to be needed In a more prominent role against North Carolina and star guard Caleb Love.

F — 0 Mason Gillis (6-6, 230, So.)

Gillis will make his season debut against Villanova after sitting out Games 1 through 4 due to suspension.

Freshmen Trey Kaufman-Renn and Brian Waddell will redshirt this season. Waddell will miss most of the season after tearing his ACL.

ABOUT #5 VILLANOVA (3-1)

Schedule | Roster | Stats

• Villanova advanced to the championship with a 71-53 dismantling on Tennessee on Saturday.

• The Wildcats are shooting 45.4 percent from three-point range through four games, largely from the frontcourt, too. They’ll have at least four capable shooters on the floor at all times. ‘Nova was 8-of-24 from three-point range against Tennessee, though there was a lot of garbage time in that game, so take statistics for what they’re worth.

• Villanova’s 3-1, with the loss coming in overtime at No. 2 UCLA.

• It’s been just four games, but Villanova has yet to turn the ball over more than eight times in a game, and ranks second nationally in turnover percentage, per KenPom.

Meanwhile, opponents have averaged 16 turnovers.

VILLANOVA LINEUPS

STARTERS

F – 23 Jermaine Samuels (6-7, 230, Sr.)

16.0 PPG • 63.6% 3-PT

After a game in which Purdue had to deal with hot-shooting forwards against North Carolina, here comes Samuels, who’s made 7-of-11 three-pointers this season.

F- 43 Eric Dixon (6-8, 255, Jr.)

9.0 PPG • 6.0 REB

F – F Brandon Slater (6-7, 220, Sr.)

16.7 PPG • 4.3 REB • 2.7 AST • 75% 3-PT

Slater is 9-of-12 from three this season.

G- 5 Justin Moore (6-4, 210, Jr.)

19 PPG • 3.3 AST • 58.8% 3-PT

Moore struggled some against Tennessee, but he’s this team’s leading scorer and has been hot from long distance to start the season.

G – 2 Collin Gillespie (6-3, 195, Sr.)

17.3 PPG • 3.7 AST

The veteran point guard is sort of the consummate Villanova veteran Jay Wright’s won so many games with in his backcourt. Another excellent shooter.

KEY RESERVES

G – 14 Caleb Daniels (6-4, 210, Sr.)

6.3 PPG

IN-GAME AND POST-GAME COVERAGE

Stay dialed in to GoldandBlack.com during the game for our pre-game First Thoughts analysis. During the game, follow along with our game thread and follow @brianneubert on Twitter for additional insight.

Following the game, we’ll have post-game press conference video, game coverage, analysis, our Wrap Video and Final Thoughts, plus a Gold and Black Radio podcast within a few hours of the end of the game.

Stay tuned.

PREDICTION: PURDUE 75, VILLANOVA 72

Villanova’s very good, but this may not be a terrible matchup for Purdue, as the Wildcats can’t match the Boilermakers’ size and last time these two teams met, ‘Nova really struggled with its off-ball switches against Purdue’s offensive actions, the basis of which generally remain in place. Carsen Edwards isn’t gonna parachute in and make a dozen threes, but Purdue’s got plenty of offensive weapons right now as is.

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