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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3. Handle the pressure

It’s no secret that Purdue's few-in-between losses have stemmed from its inability to handle the pressure and take care of the basketball.

In Purdue’s four losses this year, they turned the ball over 17 times, 14 times, 14 times, and 16 times -- an average of 15.25 turnovers per game, four turnovers more than their average of 11.3, according to TeamRankings.

For reference, the team that turns the ball over the most in all of college basketball, Alabama State, averages 16.1 turnovers per game.

While NC State’s identity isn't necessarily to turn a team over, posting a 17.4 turnover on defense percentage, according to BartTorvik, the Wolfpack primarily utilizes a man-to-man defense in the halfcourt to force teams to feel uneasy and uncomfortable on offense.

With Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith a year older alongside the veteran presence of Lance Jones, Purdue is better equipped to handle the pressure, make the right reads, and stay poised if/when the game gets tight.

And they must do just that on Saturday night.

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Outside the friendly confines of West Lafayette, the majority of the country will be pulling for this year’s March Madness Cinderella and one of college basketball’s greatest stories. The pressure will be on, can Purdue handle it?

If they can, Purdue just might be a great story, too.