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Purdue v Michigan

Source: Mike Mulholland / Getty

Listen, let me start by saying that I have great respect for what Purdue and Matt Painter have accomplished this year and really the last several years. They’re a model of consistency and have a really good shot at making a magical Final 4 run. And, by the way, their program needs to feel that success again.

But, in honor of sports radio banter and clicks for the website, we still need to discuss a few teams that have the fortitude to top the Boilers. So, what’s the formula. Well, given Purdue has only 3 losses all season there is no true special ingredient. The closest we’ve come is 1) you need the Boilers to turn the ball over and 2) in two of their three loses they lost the battle from three-point range. Reminder as well that in the Ohio State the Buckeyes really limited possessions.

The teams listed below are all different…some of fast-paced, some slow it up more, defensive oriented teams, and someone like UK that is all about offense. Furthermore, some are poised by top high seeds in the upcoming tourney while some will be a little further down the seed line. Take a look and let me know which teams need added to the list (in no particular order)…

1. Kentucky

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 09 Kentucky at Tennessee Source:Getty

KENTUCKY – There’s no wilder ride in college basketball than the Wildcats. In recent years we’ve seen Kentucky teams that were more defensive minded, but not this one. This rendition is all offense, all the time. UK could throw 3 elite guards at Purdue along with a couple high upside freshmen. In the block they could toss PF Tre Mitchell and 3 seven footers at Zach Edey. This would be a really fun matchup deeper in March.
     Tournament Projection: 3-4 seed
     Possessions per game: 5th @ 76.9
     Forced turnovers per game: 124th @ 12.2


2. Iowa State

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 03 Iowa State at Baylor Source:Getty

IOWA STATE – The Hawkeyes would try and beat Purdue much like the Buckeyes did back in February…by lowering possessions and playing the game in the mid to upper 60’s (if not lower). Third year man TJ Otzelberger is a rising star and has coached this team to 2nd overall defense according to KenPom. The major drawback would be their 3-point shooting standing at just 34.8%.
     Tournament Projection: 2-3 seed
     Possessions per game: 232nd @ 69.7
     Forced turnovers per game: 2nd @ 17.5

3. Florida

Auburn v Florida Source:Getty

FLORIDA – The Gators are a fine team, maybe even good, but definitely not great. They’re the type of team Purdue could meet up with in the round of 32. Florida is #17 in KenPom adjusted efficiency and has shown a knack of keeping it close against quality competition… 4 point loss to Baylor, 3 point loss to Virgina, 2 point loss to Kentucky while also beating Auburn, Alabama, and Kentucky.
     Tournament Projection: 7-8 seed
     Possessions per game: 11th @ 75.6
     Forced turnovers per game: 261st @ 10.9

4. South Carolina

South Carolina v Arkansas Source:Getty

SOUTH CAROLINA – The Gamecocks are easily one of the bigger surprises in college basketball this year with their head coach Lamont Paris poised to receive a hefty contract extension/raise. They’re not really great at anything (44th in offense, 47th in defense) but could provide some answers for what Purdue might throw at them.
     Tournament Projection: 5 seed
     Possessions per game: 333rd @ 67.1
     Forced turnovers per game: #334 @ 9.8

5. Gonzaga

Gonzaga v Portland Source:Getty

GONZAGA – I have a buddy whose really promoted this Gonzaga team and thinks they can win a couple games in the tourney. Also, a friendly reminder that the Zags hung with Purdue back in Maui with the Boilers trailing by 5 at half and not pulling away until the final 4 minutes.
     Tournament Projection: 6 seed
     Possessions per game: 128th @ 71.5
     Forced turnovers per game: 190th @ 11.6

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