Busting Brackets

Xavier vs. Purdue: 2023-24 college basketball game preview, TV schedule

Nov 6, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter yells to his team during the first half against the Samford Bulldogs at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter yells to his team during the first half against the Samford Bulldogs at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

The Xavier Musketeers face off against the highly rated Purdue Boilermakers in the Gavotte Tipoff Games Tournament in what should be an exciting matchup.

When: Monday, November, 13th — 8:30pm EST

Where: Mackey Arena (Purdue)

Where to Watch: FS1

The Gavitt Tipoff games are coming up this week producing some exciting Big Ten and Big East matchups for some classic feeling college basketball. One of the first matchups in this pairing system brings us a sneaky Xavier Musketeers team heading over to West Lafayette, Indiana to face the strong force that is the Purdue Boilermakers. This is going to be an intriguing matchup to watch as this Xavier team can be Purdue’s first test of the season.

Xavier Musketeers (2-0)

Xavier boasts a rather promising lineup all things considered led by Desmond Claude and Quincy Olivari as the two standout pieces for offensive production thus far into the season. They are at a slight size disadvantage against Purdue, but still bring decent length to the floor. So far this season, the Musketeers have shown the ability the push the pace which might be to their advantage if they can have Purdue gassed earlier in the game.

Where Xavier has really shined has been the defensive side of the ball. They hold opponents close to 20% from three and under 40% from the floor. Beating he Boilermakers comes down to a few different things. Teams can live with Edey getting to the basketball at will, or if teams are able to recover quickly, they can double and shut down Edey and force Purdue into difficult looks late in the shot clock. Being able to limit Purdue’s shot beyond the arc will be huge, and with Xavier being a faster paced team, going after Edey could be the move.

The other important note is that offensively, the Musketeers have to develop on all three levels. From mid-range and under the basket is where they thrive with the ability to jump out on a fast break or get action early in the shot clock in the interior. Now the caveat is you have a 7′ 4″ center to work around somehow, and unfortunately, while Xavier holds teams to a low production from three, they have not shot much better themselves from deep. They certainly can hit shots when needed, but this is what will make them pushing it in transition so important to keep them in it.

Purdue Boilermakers (2-0)

Purdue looks as good as ever all things considered with a strong returning core headlined by 7′ 4″ senior Zach Edey. They’ve taken their first two games of the season against Samford and Morehead State rather comfortably. The team looks similar to their previous few dominant years with Edey being a focal point of the offense especially as he’s developed his free throw shooting ability. That being said, as expected the Boilermakers have gotten great production out of their starting rotation with all three guards in Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, and Lance Jones all being consistent from deep.

Defensively, they typically don’t allow much in the paint for obvious reasons but if you can pull Edey out, there can be open lanes to drive in and spread the floor a lot more for opposing teams. That’s much easier said than done considering they are one of the most defensively efficient teams in college basketball. For what it’s worth, Barttorvik has Purdue as the most overall efficient and productive team for the reason explained above.

That doesn’t mean Purdue is without faults, and as we’ve seen, underdogs have found their way. A lot of what makes Purdue is exploitable. If you can find a way to disrupt Zach Edey and force them into uncomfortable shots, it makes a world of different which is something Fairleigh Dickinson did beautifully in their upset victory. Additionally, they were able to make Purdue switch and scramble often which takes them out of their preference to let Edey rim protect while they guard the perimeter like a wall. Yet again that’s what makes Purdue so great. They don’t typically allow for those situations to happen and when they play their way, it’s difficult to find a way to beat them.

Keys to the Game

  1. Zach Edey: As with most Boilermaker games, Zach Edey is a key aspect. If Purdue is able to run their offense through him and Xavier cannot capitalize with him defensively in the paint, his will be a formulaic win for Matt Painter and his crew. However, if Xavier can either limit him offensively or work around him on defense, they keep themselves in it more likely.
  2. Can Purdue keep up: If Purdue can run their speed and get through their sets with ease, they will be on cruise control in this matchup.
  3. Shooting Performance: Xavier could really expand in their efficiency from deep and use this game as a must-have scenario to do so. Purdue utilizes guards outside to go to when Edey is doubled or neutralized, so this will be another test to their team identity to succeed.

Both of these teams have promising seasons ahead. Obviously everyone is looking at Purdue to vindicate their short comings of previous seasons while amidst this Zach Edey era especially. But Xavier comes in with the idea that they have a spot in the top of college basketball too where they may feel overlooked. Nonetheless in this case, Purdue should play their brand of basketball and take care of business in Mackey Arena before they head off to a high matchup against Gonzaga. Their strengths neutralize many of Xavier’s strengths, and they show no signs of slowing down.

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Xavier should use this game to grow in other areas of their game and even in a loss, come out with the confidence to hang with any team as they prepare to face Washington following this matchup.