College Basketball Today: Purdue Perfect Against Quad One
Zach Edey is finding ways to pile up points. (Alexander Jonesi)
Louisville ditched Koron Davis from the team, in a he said, she said transfer-related controversy; we lost a great one this week in former Tar Heel Eric Montross; and Purdue’s sophomore guard duo of Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith looks unstoppable. Here are some other stories we’re following on campus courts…
Boilermakers On a Mission
After suffering a shocking upset loss to 16th seed Fairleigh Dickinson in the tourney last season, the Purdue Boilermakers seem driven to change the narrative this season, currently ranked third in the AP poll and back on top of the ESPN rankings after knocking off Arizona.
The Boilermakers are 9-1, but more convincingly have won all five games against Quadrant 1 opponents, proving dominant against the best of the best. No team in the country has more such wins.
As we alluded to in the intro, Purdue’s backcourt has been killing it, but Toronto-born centre Zach Edey remains the key to this team. He was quiet (for him) on Saturday, managing just 22 points, nine boards and one block, but still found a way to help the team win with five dimes and two steals.
Edey is actually sinking fewer field goals this season, but is feasting at the line far more often and has been more efficient overall. He’s a tremendous shot blocker (see video below), but may struggle to keep up in the NBA because he’s a bit sloth-like, so expect him to be a bench player as a pro.
Edey will likely be taken towards the end of the second round in the 2024 NBA draft.
Bulldogs Seeking Fourth Straight Win
Monday is a quiet night for big games with no Top 25 teams in action, but among the more interesting contests pits the Fresno State Bulldogs against Portland State. Fresno State is favoured by 4.5 points to win its fourth straight as per odds by FanDuel.
After starting December by dropping their third straight to fall below .500, the Bulldogs have been on a roll, working their way into a better spot a couple of weeks before conference play begins in the Mountain West.
Fresno State senior guard Isaiah Hill has been inconsistent lately, but — despite foul trouble — he did lead the Bulldogs with 13 points and nine assists in Friday’s win.
Since transferring from Tulsa after his freshman season, he’s been a full-time starter for Fresno State and he’s shaken off last season’s struggles from beyond the arc as part of a career-best effort. Fresno State hasn’t had a player taken in the draft since 2010 when Paul George went 10th overall, and Hill, despite being an honourable mention for the Mountain West All-Conference team in 2023, is not going to buck that trend.
Owls Atop the ASUN
The Kennesaw State Owls have been on an upward surge since Amir Adur-Rahim‘s tough first year as the head coach. Last season, the Owls made their first ever March Madness appearance and it’s clear they are setting their sights on more this season.
Kennesaw State is riding a four-game win streak and currently leads the ASUN at 8-3 heading into conference play. In their last game, the Owls had a school first with three players scoring 20 or more points.
Senior forward Demond Robinson led the way with 22 in just 19 minutes on some ridiculous shooting (9-for-10, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc). He added five boards and a steal, and has now scored 15 or more in back-to-back games despite some recent foul trouble.
Robinson’s bucket count has risen each campaign of his five-year career, but this season he’s emerged as a player capable of knocking down a trey per game. He’s known for his physical play, and if he can continue to change the narrative about his shooting range, he could have a chance to play pro overseas, but is unlikely to ever appear in the NBA.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Born to the world as David Robert Jones, he was better known as David Bowie, one of the most important musical figures of the last half century. In 1977, he released his 12th album, Heroes, recorded in Berlin and featuring the track “Neukoln,” named after one of the city’s districts.