North Texas vs Purdue: NCAA Tournament game preview, TV schedule, odds

TV Schedule: Friday, March 19th, 7:25 pm. ET. TNT

Arena: Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, Indiana

Odds: Purdue (-8)

Last year at this time, we all were facing a virus that took over the country and things changed in a big way, as college basketball was also hit by the pandemic, so the 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled and it just was not the same not having basketball in March. So after a long off-season and dealing with keeping all those involved safe and out of harm’s way, there was a college basketball season and even though there were many challenges, no fans in the stands, there also were conference championship tournaments played as well. Which leads us to the here and now.

It is college basketball’s favorite time of the year. It is Christmas in March, as it is time for 64 teams to put on their dancing shoes and crown a 2021 National Champion.  All the tournament games will be played within the state of Indiana and the Final Four and National Championship games being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. And there is no team that is happier to get this going than the #4 Purdue Boilermakers.

The Purdue Boilermakers (18-9, 13-6 Big 10) are the four seed and are looking to take advantage of basically a home-court advantage with the tournament all being played in Indiana. There is no doubt that the Boilermaker fans will be out in full force, as Purdue has a chance to make a deep run in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Purdue Head Coach Matt Painter has the Boilermakers playing some solid basketball, as they have won the last five out of their six games, with their last game being a heartbreaking OT loss to Ohio State in the Big 10 Tournament.

Purdue is lead by First Team All-Big 10 conference player Trevion Williams. The 6-10 Junior Forward Williams (15.6 ppg and 9.0 rpg) was one of the top 5 big men in all of the Big 10 Conference and was one of the more dominant players as well.

The Boilermakers also had four of the best freshman in the conference this year as well, as the talented freshmen are one of the reasons that Purdue has a chance to make a deep run. 7-4 Freshman Center Zach Edey (9.0 ppg and 4.5 rpg), 6-4 Freshman Guard Jaden Ivey (10.5 ppg and 3.4 rpg), 6-6 Freshmen Forward Mason Gillis (5.1 ppg and 3.4 rpg) and 6-5 Freshmen Guard Brandon Newman (8.3 ppg and 3.6 rpg) all have made major contributions this season.

The #12 North Texas Mean Green (17-9) come into the game winning their first conference championship by defeating #1 WKU 61-57 and in the process becoming the fifth team in conference history to win four games in four days to win the conference title and punching their ticket to the dance. The Mean Green will be making its first appearance in the tourney since 2010 and they have a tough draw in facing Purdue.

North Texas is led by 6-4 Sr Guard Javion Hamlet. Hamlet (15.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg 4.5 apg and .362 3 Point%). Hamlet earned All-Conference Honors, as well as Tournament MVP as he averaged 18.5 points and 6.5 boards, and set a new league tournament record with 29 assists (7.3 per game).

The supporting cast for Hamlet and the Mean Green are 6-4 Senior Guard James Reece (10.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg), 6-10 Senior Forward Zachery Simmons (10.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg), and 6-6 Senior Guard Thomas Bell (10.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg). As a team, the Mean Green are currently10th in the nation in scoring defense (61.2) and 28th in the country in 3-point field goal percentage (37.6).

I think this will be a very completive game and closer than people think it is going to be. North Texas is great on defense and they can also shoot the three. Purdue can play a little defense of its own and Purdue also has some shooters that can knock down the three. So, these teams for the most part match up pretty well. The difference is going to be Williams and Edy down low, as I don’t think the Mean Green can hold both of them down.

Prediction: Purdue: 74, North Texas 64