No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 5 Iowa State Preview
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
When: Saturday, March 18, 9:40 PM ET
TV Broadcast: TBS
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Betting on the Purdue Boilermakers (-1)
There’s no heartbreaking, early exit this time around for the Purdue Boilermakers, who convincingly defeated the Vermont Catamounts on Thursday, 80-70.
The Boilermakers went into overtime in their last two trips to the Big Dance and came home as first-round losers on both instances. However, this season’s team has seemingly gotten a hang of stepping up in key contests thanks to the solid frontcourt duo of Vince Edwards and Caleb Swanigan.
Edwards led his team with 21 points, but it was Swanigan who was simply sensational against the Catamounts. The sophomore big notched his NCAA-best 27th double-double season with 16 points and 14 rebounds along with three huge blocks. In turn, Purdue out-hustled Vermont with its sheer size, having a 42-24 edge in points in the paint and a 39-28 rebounding advantage.
There’s no question that the Boilermakers can score points in an efficient manner (52 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range on Thursday). But its their defense, which held the Catamounts to just 44-percent field-goal shooting, that needs to be sustained against the Cyclones this weekend.
Another factor that the Boilermakers have to look out for is that Iowa State may be the virtual hometown favorite in spite of Saturday’s game set to be held at the Bradley Center. Four of the Cyclones’ players are Wisconsin natives, so the boys from West Lafayette should be ready for a raucous crowd that’ll get to their heads all night long.
Betting on the Iowa State Cyclones (+1)
Keeping their dreams of back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances are the Iowa State Cyclones, who defeated the 12th-seeded Nevada Wolfpack on Thursday, 84-73.
Unlike Purdue, Iowa State has speed as its biggest asset, and no other player exemplifies that than Monte Morris. The Cyclones’ floor general nearly had a triple-double in Thursday’s win with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and made all seven of his free-throw attempts. Fellow senior guard Deonte Burton – a Milwaukee native – also had a fantastic performance with 14 points and eight boards.
But for as agile as they appeared, the Cyclones’ lack of interior defenders may come back to haunt them. They couldn’t stop Nevada’s 6’8″ forward Cameron Oliver (22 points, seven rebounds, four blocks), so how will they be able to contain the tandem of Purdue’s Swanigan and Edwards? Do note that it was also Baylor standout Jonathan Motley (43 points and 23 rebounds in two games) that gave Iowa State the worst fits in Big 12 play.
All things considered, though, the Cyclones can match the Boilermakers in a shootout as both teams averaged a little over 80 points a game. However, defense is just as critical, and that’s where Iowa State slightly comes up short. Purdue surrendered just an average of 67.2 points to their opposition this season, which is a full five points better than what Iowa State’s own D has allowed.
Purdue (-1) escapes with a tense 84-81 victory.
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