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NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - First Round - Indianapolis

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It’s been a magical run for the Purdue Boilermakers and their legion of faithful fans up to this point.  

The team has finally made good on the hype surrounding it and, for the first time since 1980, will play in the Final Four. For former players and fans alike, the past week has been spent soaking in the moment, especially given the decades of struggles the team has experienced in March.  

Former Boilermaker and Indiana Pacer Jerry Sichting is one of those former players who has enjoyed this run through March. During the Thursday edition of The Ride With JMV, he stopped by and gave his thoughts on what he has seen from this Boilermaker team, and specifically, Zach Edey. 

“He’s such a different dimension that almost any other team in college basketball has. He’s just a scoring machine if you’re just going to try and play him one-on-one, he’s just so big and so strong and you can’t really move him. I mean he just takes a beating out there every single game, but the defense has to focus on him. They’ve got to figure out are we going to let him get 40, which he did, are we going to double team him, make him kick the ball out and take their chances that the guys are going to miss those shots. Well, they usually don’t when they’re wide open, they don’t miss a whole lot, they’re one of the better shooting teams in the country as well. They’ve got pretty much an answer offensively to about everything that a defense can come up with.” 

Jerry also spoke about the matchup between Zach Edey and DJ Burns Jr. 

“What’s going to play a bigger part of the game is who gets in foul trouble first. I think it’s very important for Edey to just not give him any angles, which is easier said than done. I mean, he’s a load down there, I call him the Hefty Lefty, but if he gets you at an angle, then he can get that jump hook off with his left hand, but if he [Edey] can stay directly between him and the basket, I think he’s going to bother every shot that he takes. At the other end of the floor, he’s going to try to dislodge like every team does, but he’s got the girth to do it, try to dislodge Edey off those spots. Tennessee tried to do it, they pushed him out a little bit farther than what he normally gets, but Purdue does a good job of getting him the ball in different ways. I think last year, once he got pushed off about 4 feet or so they had trouble scoring, and their whole offense, their angles to throw it into the post wouldn’t be quite good enough, and so he’d catch it another couple feet off of there. They’ve refined that, Matt watches a lot of film, and they’ve found ways to get him the ball inside, and a lot of it is just Smith with his penetration and knowing exactly where he’s going to be all the time.” 

Finally, Jerry shared what differences he sees in this Boilermaker squad vs in years past. 

“One of the things that’s different about this Purdue team [compared to] the last couple years, they continued to play very, very well down that last month. The last couple years, I thought they started to go downhill a little bit with 3-4 weeks to go in the season. They became more inconsistent, they played in November, they had a great resume there, beat all these non-conference powers around the country, and they started out the same way this year, but they kept it going this year. I think it’s the maturity of some of the younger guys, they were very young last year, Edey is a good leader, obviously Braden Smith even though he’s just a sophomore is a great leader on the court, and you’ve got guys like Gillis, you’ve got experience there, and now, just starting with the first game in the NCAA Tournament, he’s starting to play [Camden] Heide and [Myles] Colvin, give them more minutes, which I was kind of hoping that he would do that a little earlier, play them earlier in the game and give them more minutes, because those two guys are going to be very, very good players in the future. Edey, he puts you over the top, but this is going to be a very, very good team next year as well.” 

Check out JMV’s full conversation with Jerry Sichting and more down below, and tune into The Ride With JMV weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan!  

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