Busting Brackets

NCAA Tournament 2024: Ranking the starting lineups of each Sweet 16 team

Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Tristen Newton (2) grabs the ball against
Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Tristen Newton (2) grabs the ball against / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Purdue (1-seed)

Zach Edey (Senior – Center)

There’s no shortage of praise that can be piled on Edey’s work at Purdue. Likely to be named AP Player of the Year for a second season in a row, Edey has aveaged 24.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game this season for the Boilermakers, getting them back over the hump to the Sweet Sixteen. He’s an absolute menace in the paint, evident with his 30-point, 21-rebound effort against Grambling to start the NCAA Tournament; just one of the many high-effort performances he’s contributed to this incredible Purdue team.

Trey Kaufman-Renn (Sophomore – Forward)

Still a young piece in a frontcourt where Edey gets the attention, Kaufman-Renn has quietly has a solid second year with the Boilermakers. He’s putting up 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and also has a decent shooting stroke from all over the court. Kaufman-Renn certainly has great potential for the future but is already on display right now, with his 18-point, 8-rebound performance against Utah State this weekend.

Lance Jones (Senior – Guard)

After four years as a starter at Southern Illinois, Jones arrived for one last ride here at Purdue and has become a major piece for this Boilermakers team. Jones averages 12.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game, with a decent 36% clip from outside the arc. He was a defensive menace in the MVC and did have pretty good steals numbers in the Big Ten this season. We’ll have to see if he has a breakout performance in the Big Dance, with two adequate performances to this point.

Fletcher Loyer (Sophomore – Guard)

A breakout performer last year as a freshman, Loyer has continued to improve his game in his second collegiate season with Purdue. The Boilermakers are getting great production from their young guard, as he’s scoring 10.5 points per game while hitting 45% of his long-range attempts. Fletcher doesn’t take a lot of shots but he makes them when they count, evident in Sunday’s 15-point, 6-assist effort in their win over Northwestern.

Braden Smith (Sophomore – Guard)

Perhaps the nation’s best young point guard, Smith was fantastic as a freshman but has taken a big step forward in year two at the collegiate level. He’s averaging 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game as a real stat-stuffer for a talented Boilermakers squad. Named First Team All-Big Ten, there’s nobody in the nation with more total assists than Smith has this season and he’s also shooting a remarkable 44% from beyond the arc. He had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists against Grambling to begin the Big Dance.