Busting Brackets

Gonzaga Basketball: 3 keys for Sweet 16 matchup against the Purdue Boilermakers

Gonzaga is in the Sweet 16 for a record 9 straight years. This season they get a rematch against one of the betting favorites for the National Championship the Purdue Boilermakers

Mar 23, 2024; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman (11) and Gonzaga
Mar 23, 2024; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman (11) and Gonzaga / Gabriel Mayberry-USA TODAY Sports
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Zach Edey

How can the Purdue big man and likely back-to-back National Player of the Year be a factor for Gonzaga winning the game?  Well, he is the biggest factor on the floor for both teams because he can dominate a game. Edey is the one player in the tournament who can win a game solely on his individual performance. Gonzaga and their ability or inability to minimize Edey has effect on this game will be a huge factor.

In the first meeting, Edey was able to camp in the paint shoot 50% from the floor and got fouled a fair amount. He only went for 25 points and 14 rebounds which is not the normal Zach Edey line we have become accustomed to. He like the rest of the Boilers has taken his game to another level in the tournament. Coach Few should look at the tape of the losses for Purdue and particularly the Nebraska tape and see how they were able to defend Edey. Nebraska was able to push Edey out of the paint and force him to operate away from the basket. It led to the big man only scoring 15 points with 7 rebounds.

Edey is still going to be effective and will impact the game, but how much he impacts the game is going to be up to Gonzaga. If the star is able to camp in the lane and do whatever he wants then it is going to be hard for the Bulldogs to stay in this game, but if Gonzaga throws different defenses at him and pushes him out of the lane, double teams, forces him to pass, and makes it tough for him on the catch it would go a long ways towards Gonzaga making the Elite Eight.