Busting Brackets

NC State Basketball: 3 keys in their Final Four matchup against Purdue

The NC State Wolfpack have been this year's Cinderella squad out of the ACC as they've reeled off nine-straight victories to get to the Final Four. Take a look at the 3 keys to victory against the Purdue Boilermakers.
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Defend until the final horn

While a lot of attention will be paid to Zach Edey on the defensive end, the Boilermakers still have some firepower of their own in Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith. Loyer has proven himself on the perimeter in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 11.8 points per contest on 46.2 percent shooting from deep. He's scored in double-figures in the last three victories for Purdue to the tune of four total made 3-pointers.

Smith has been their unsung hero at the floor general spot, distributing 9.5 assists per game while also putting up 9.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. He's a stat-sheet stuffer in his own right who can go off at any moment with the ball in his hands.

Purdue has made a habit of knocking down clutch shots in the late stages of the game so far in the NCAA Tournament. Despite shooting 3-for-15 from 3-point land in their victory over Tennessee, their biggest shot of the game was from deep with just 2:34 left in the game. A shot from behind the arc from Lance Jones put them up 66-60. Smith was the assist man on the play.

The Wolfpack will be the underdog once again on Saturday night. Given their depth in the paint with Burns, Diarra and Middlebrooks, it will be interesting to see how they defend Edey in the painted area.

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The game is scheduled to tip off against the Boilermakers at 6:09 p.m. ET and will be televised on TBS.