3. Purdue Boilermakers – 9-1 (1-1)
After the overtime road loss to Northwestern, Purdue went back home to take on an Iowa squad that gave them no resistance on the defensive end. They took a 19-point halftime lead and carried it to an 87-68 victory. Zach Edey had another big outing, leading all scorers with 25 pts and 12 rebs, one of five players in double-digit figures. Lance Jones chipped in with 17 pts.
But the big game for the Boilermakers was on Saturday, taking on Alabama in Canada. It didn’t start well for them on the defensive end, as the Tide made nearly double-digit three-pointers before halftime. But Alabama’s defensive issues remained, allowing the Big Ten team to come back and push ahead in the second half to get a 92-86 shootout victory.
It was another Player of the Year type performance from Edey, going for 35 pts in 37 minutes played. But just as good was Braden Smith, who went for 27 pts and eight assists, including four three-pointers made. It’s rare for a team to win after giving up 19 threes in a single game but Purdue did just enough to win.
Things certainly don’t get any easier for the Boilermakers, as they now get to take on the No. 1 team in the country on Saturday in Arizona, which could be the most anticipated game of the entire NCAA Basketball season.