Busting Brackets

Purdue Basketball: 3 keys for Purdue to beat NC State in the Final Four

Purdue takes on NC State for a trip to the national title game. What does Purdue have to do to win the game?

Tennessee v Purdue
Tennessee v Purdue / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
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Purdue’s quest for the ultimate redemption -- from the Round of 64 in 2023 to One Shining Moment in 2024 -- will be tested on Saturday, taking on the NCAA Tournament’s Cinderella, the NC State Wolfpack, in the Final Four in Phoenix.

The Boilermakers, who are in the Final Four for the first time since 1980 and the first time under Matt Painter, collected victories over Grambling State and Utah State in dominating fashion in the first weekend before knotting victories over Gonzaga and Tennessee to reach Phoenix.

Although both games were close, Purdue found a way to get in its second gear, putting away Gonzaga in the final 12 minutes and Tennessee in the final five minutes.

Even though Purdue may seem like the initial favorites in its Final Four matchup, it must not look past the white-hot Wolfpack, whose improbable, against-all-odds run continues.

To put in perspective just how improbable NC State’s run has been, take a look at where they started just three weeks ago: versus Louisville on the Tuesday of the ACC Tournament. Standing at 17-14 (9-11), not only was an at-large bid out of the equation but there were also rumblings surrounding Kevin Keatts’ future leading the Wolfpack. No way he could lead them to five straight victories, let alone a Final Four appearance, right?

Put those rumblings aside.

The Wolfpack, the improbable winners of nine-straight elimination games, present an interesting dynamic for the Boilermakers. With that being said, here are three keys for a Purdue victory with a trip to the national title game on the line.