On Saturday night, the Purdue Boilermakers will face off against the Virginia Cavaliers with the winner earning a spot in the Final Four. Purdue is the 3-seed in the region and is 26-9 on the season. Virginia is the 1-seed in the region and is 32-3 on the season.
Close Wins For Both Teams
Purdue is coming off a 99-94 overtime win against the 2-seed Tennessee in their last game. Purdue led by double digits at the half and had a lead as big as 18 but barely survived in overtime. Carsen Edwards led the way with 29 points on 8 of 22 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and 3 assists, but the player who deserves the credit is Ryan Cline. Cline scored 27 points on 10 of 13 shooting and hit 7 3-pointers. Cline kept answering with 3’s when Tennessee took leads late in the 2nd half. Cline also led the team in assists with 4. Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern each chipped in 11 points, and Grady Eifert led the team in rebounds with 9.
Virginia is coming off a 53-49 win over Oregon in their Sweet 16 matchup. Virginia led by 8 at the half but was in a battle the entire second half. Ty Jerome led the way with 13 points on 5 of 12 shooting to go with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Kihei Clark scored 12 points on 4 of 9 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Deandre Hunter scored 11 points on 4 of 13 shooting, and Kyle Guy tallied 10 points on 4 of 15 shooting. Hunter and Guy each grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 1 assist. Mamadi Diakite led the team in rebounds with 11 to go with 7 points.
Carson Edwards Still Playing Well
Purdue is led by Carsen Edwards, who is averaging 23.8 points a game to go with 3.7 rebounds and 3 assists. Ryan Cline scores 12.1 points per game and is the leading assister with 3.4 a game. Cline is also shooting 41.8% from beyond the arc. Matt Haarms lads 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest. Nojel Eastern is the leading rebounder with 5.6 to go with 7.5 points. Grady Eifert adds 5.6 points and 5.2 rebounds and shoots 44.3% from deep. Purdue scores 76.2 points a game on 44.6% shooting.
Virginia is led by Deandre Hunter, who averages 15.1 points per game to go with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. He is followed by Kyle Guy, who scores 14.9 a game, and Ty Jerome, who adds 13 a game. Guy is shooting 42.7%, Hunter is shooting 42.9%, and Jerome shoots 39.9% from beyond the arc. Jerome is also the leading assister with 5.3 a game. Braxton Key leads the Cavaliers in rebounding with 5.4 a game and chips in 5.9 points per contest. Virginia has once again been one of the best defensive teams in the country and the offense has been solid as well. Virginia is scoring 71.8 a game while shooting 47.8% from the floor.
Take the Cavaliers
Virginia comes in at -4.5. The Boilermakers have been hot all tournament and are shooting the ball extremely well. However, Virginia’s defense is on another level and have not allowed more than 56 points in the tournament. I think Virginia’s defense will shut down Edwards and Cline and then there’s not much to worry about after that. Also, Purdue doesn’t play a whole lot of defense so Virginia should be able to get some easy buckets. Take Virginia -4.5.
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