Sweet 16 Preview: #3 Purdue Boilermakers vs. #15 Saint Peter’s Peacocks


7:09 PM ET


Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Cap. 19,500)

2021-22 Record

Purdue (29-7) (14-6)

Saint Peter’s (21-11) (14-6)

NET Rankings

Purdue- 13

Saint Peter’s – 124

All-Time Series Wins

Purdue – 1

Saint Peter’s – 0

Last Win In Series

March 18th, 2011 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois (65-43)


Projected Starting Lineups


#2 G Eric Hunter Jr. (6’4” 175, SR) 6.4 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.9 APG

#23 G Jaden Ivey (6’4” 200, SO) 17.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.1 APG

#55 G Sasha Stefanovic (6’5″ 200, SR) 10.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.1 APG

#0 F Mason Gillis (6’6″ 230, SO) 6.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.0 APG

#15 C Zach Edey (7’4” 285, SO) 14.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.2 APG

Saint Peter’s

#15 G Matthew Lee (6’0″ 160, JR) 7.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 3.0 APG

#5 G Daryl Banks III (6’3″ 165, JR)  11.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.5 APG

#11 G KC Ndefo (6’7” 195, SR) 10.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.8 BPG

#12 F Clarence Rupert (6’8″ 245, FR)  4.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.7 APG

#14 F Hassan Drame (6’7”, 190, JR) 6.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.8 APG 

Stat Comparison

PurdueSaint Peter’s
Points Per Game79.867.5
Points Allowed Per Game68.562.3
Rebounds Per Game38.736.2
Rebounds Allowed Per Game29.233.1
Assists Per Game16.412.4
Steals Per Game4.77.1
Blocks Per Game3.55.0
Turnovers Per Game11.713.8
Field Goal %49.2%43.3%
Opposing Field Goal %42.5%38.4%
3 Point %38.8%33%
Opposing 3 Point %33.3%29.4%
Free Throw %70.8%69.1%

Last Five Games

Purdue (4-1)

  • Mar 20: Win vs. Texas (81-71)
  • Mar 18: Win vs. Yale (78-56)
  • Mar 13: Loss vs. Iowa (75-66)
  • Mar 12: Win vs. Michigan State (75-70)
  • Mar 11: Win vs. Penn State (69-61)

Saint Peter’s (5-0)

  • Mar 19: Win vs. Murray State (70-60)
  • Mar 17: Win vs. Kentucky (85-79) (OT)
  • Mar 12: Win vs. Monmouth (60-54)
  • Mar 11: Win vs. Quinnipiac (64-52)
  • Mar 9:  Win vs. Fairfield (77-63)

What to Watch For

“Give yourself to the Dark Side.  It’s the only way you can save your friends.” – Darth Vader

Darth Vader - Wikipedia

Tonight, Purdue becomes the villain in Saint Peter’s Cinderella story, there’s no way around it.  Pretty much the entire planet will be rooting against the Boilers as they take on the 15th seeded Peacocks.  To get to this point Saint Peter’s has taken down #2 Kentucky and #7 Murray State on the road to March Madness story books.  Saint Peter’s hasn’t gotten to this point with any flukes or luck, they’ve gotten to this point with great defense and hustle on offense. Purdue is going to need their A-game tonight if they don’t want to be another chapter in Saint Peter’s fairy tale story.  Let’s break it down.

Offensively Purdue did a great job getting to the free throw line during the first weekend of the NCAA tournament with a staggering 79 free throw attempts in their two games. Purdue is going to need to keep working to get to the line and continue their relative hot streak at the line making almost 76% of their attempts.  This is well above their season average from the charity stripe which stands at 70.8%.  Purdue will also need to continue to maximize their offensive and boards advantage in the interior against another undersized Saint Peter’s squad.  But the Boilers are going to have to be well aware of defensive nightmare KC Ndefo coming in to block shots.  On the season Ndefo is averaging almost 3 blocks a game and averaged 4 blocks over Saint Peter’s two games last weekend.  On the perimeter Saint Peter’s is one of the toughest defensive teams in the country, holding opponents to just 38.4% of field goal attempts, good for 4th in the nation.  The Boiler guards will need to be ready to have Saint Peter’s guards in their faces at all times.  But Saint Peter’s aggressive guard play defensively can be used against them off the dribble.  Guys like Jaden Ivey and Eric Hunter are going to need to be crafty and mix up their game consistently through the game to keep the guards off balance. As was the case last weekend, Purdue is going to do everything in their power to get Sasha Stefanovic rolling from deep despite him going just 2 for 12 beyond the arc opening weekend.  Stefanovic’s shooting is going to at some point become make or break for the Boilers as it is a huge part of the inside-out game and a key for creating big game changing runs.  Hopefully the few days off have given the Serbian sniper a chance to recalibrate and start dropping bombs.

On the defensive end Purdue has really stepped up its game towards the end of the season and they are trending in the right direction.  They are going to need to step it up again against a very quick and sneaky Saint Peter’s offense.  In Saint Peter’s two games last weekend I think I saw more successful back cuts in my entire life.  No doubt Purdue has this scouted, but regardless the Boilers will need to keep their heads on a swivel defensively and not get caught ball watching.  Saint Peter’s is very guard heavy with it’s offense and does a ton of driving with the basketball, especially guys like Banks and Lee.  Purdue will need to be on point with it’s on ball defense tonight. In their game against Kentucky, the Peacocks went totally uncinous from deep going 9 of 17 lead by Banks’ 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.  This was well above their season average of 33% from deep and later came back down to earth against Murray state but clearly this is a squad that is capable of getting hot.  One thing that I have yet to mention is how incredibly deep Saint Peter’s is on the bench.  With a guy like Doug Edert coming off the bench averaging 16.5 points last weekend will give Purdue and it’s bench plenty to deal with on defense.  This is a matchup where Purdue’s depth will really help and let the Boilers keep the offensive hot hand in, provided that they can keep up defensively.  Last week, we saw Ethan Morton really showcase his defensive skills guarding Marcus Carr, expect him to get earlier minutes tonight and quickly get defensively assigned to whoever might be taking it to the Boilers defensively. 

Forty minutes stand between Purdue and their second Elite 8 in four seasons.  Will Purdue Pete smash the Peacock’s glass slipper and the clock strike midnight on Saint Peter’s and end their Cinderella story?  It’s going to take Purdue playing at the top of their game and some magic of their own, but I for one can’t wait to find out.  


Radio: Purdue Radio Network


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