Matchups to watch are Purdue vs. NC State


While the win Sunday was fun we still have a lot of work to do and that all starts Saturday against NC State.
Let’s look at some potential matchups for Saturday: Zach Edey vs DJ Burns Burns has been a big talking point thus far for Cinderella Story NC State.
The 6’ 9”, 275 pound big man is surprisingly light on his feet with some good post moves and elite pass making.
NC state doesn’t double the post, Edey should have his way in the paint with Burns on both ends of the floor.
Lance Jones vs DJ Horne Horne is their scorer, the 6’1” point guard runs the show for the Wolfpack.
TKR vs. Mohamed Diarra Diarra is the other forward for NC state and also a big reason for their final four run.
It’ll be interesting to see who plays here more at the 4 as Purdue has options in the post.
Does the Cinderella story continue for NC State or will Edey and co. prove too much to handle for the Wolfpack?


Although Sunday’s victory was enjoyable, there is still much work to be done, and it all begins on Saturday when we play NC State. They almost didn’t even qualify for the tournament before winning the ACC tournament and defeating top-seeded North Carolina in the title game. Now, they are on a historic final four run. To get to Phoenix for the championship weekend, they have since defeated Texas Tech, Oakland, Marquette, and Duke.

I’m getting more and more astounded at the Wolfpack’s success as I read more about them. Momentum is a funny thing; it seems like every game, one player is holding their opponent to far below their season average while also scoring far more than they should.

To be honest, I think Purdue will win this game. They are not a small guard shoot-it-your-eyes-out kind of team; instead, they trust on post play. Although we are a double-digit seed against Purdue, that doesn’t mean someone can’t upset us; in fact, I believe they have a tougher opponent than we do. When you have the NPOY, opponents typically have trouble with him. Let’s examine a few possible Saturday matchups:.

DJ Burns against Zach Edey.

As of now, Cinderella Story NC State has made much talk about Burns. The 6’9″, 275-pound power forward has excellent post moves, exceptional pass-making ability, and is surprisingly light on his feet. Along with having a nice little jump shot, he scored 29 points and pulled down 4 rebounds, leaving Duke with no way to stop him. He reminds me a little bit of Trevion Williams, but with more bulk. Given his performance against Duke, he has contributed to NC State’s historic run. For the season, he has averaged 13 points.

Not to put too fine points on Burns, but playing Edey is a whole other ballgame. This will be entertaining. Zach is unprepared for, as every coach has said before. Edey is much more in shape and plays more minutes than him, but he has seven inches of burns on his body. I don’t think he gets many post moves around Big Z. He might try to yank him out and get off a little jumper, but I believe battling all 300 pounds of Edey in the lane will quickly wear him out.

Since NC State doesn’t double the post, Edey ought to have the upper hand in the paint against Burns on both ends of the court. A second chance point, which Purdue is among the best in the nation at getting, will help us win because Burns isn’t a very good rebounder for his size.

Burns probably hangs on for a little while before running out of gas and having to sit or becoming sluggish on defense and getting into foul trouble. As I mentioned earlier, he is an excellent passer, so getting the ball and kicking it out for an open look is something to watch out for. Making sure his guards aren’t open when he gets into trouble in the paint will be crucial.

DJ Horne against Lance Jones.

The Wolfpack’s 6’1″ point guard, Horne, is their leading scorer. With two straight games of 19 and 20 points, he averages nearly 17 points per game. In addition, he hits nearly 41% of the basket when outside the arc. Painter will probably put Jones on Horne rather than Smith in an attempt to pressure the ball and lock him down. Horne is nothing new that Lance hasn’t seen all season, and Jones is a solid defender. Purdue ought to be fine as long as he maintains his lead and makes it difficult for Horne to get easy looks.

If Horne is simply lighting us up for some reason. Painter could even use Morton as a defensive specialist for a short period of time if we need a significant stop. Although Morton hasn’t had much playing time, he is a seasoned senior who can perform when necessary.

TKR in comparison. Diarra Mohamed.

The other NC State forward, Diarra, is largely responsible for their run to the final four. The junior has only managed three double-doubles throughout the tournament, averaging just 6 points, 4 boards, and 7 points per game.

They have relied on Diarra as their primary rebounder, but TKR, who can physically challenge opponents and has demonstrated his ability to score in the paint, presents a challenge for him. Gillis, a different kind of forward who hits the three ball and crashes the boards, would present a challenge for Diarra after TKR. Given Purdue’s options in the post, it will be interesting to watch who plays here more at the 4.

Attempting to make it to the championship game, it will be a historic day for both teams. Will Edey and co. continue their Cinderella story, or will NC State’s? Draft Kings currently has Purdue as 9-point favorites with an over/under of 146, which may prove to be too much for the Wolfpack to handle.

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