Purdue basketball wins the 2021 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament by taking down Villanova in the championship game.
With all four teams in this tournament field being ranked inside the Top 20 in the country, whoever came out on top was surely going to have to play some great basketball and the Boiler Makers did just that. Today’s championship game could very well be a preview of a second weekend matchup come March Madness time. Purdue basketball beat No. 18 North Carolina 93-84 and No. 6 Villanova 80-74 en route to winning at Mohegan Sun this weekend as they showcased their incredible offense. Villanova held an 11-point lead with 9:03 left to play in the second half which Purdue overcame as they made their last 11 FGs of the game.
Takeaway #1 – Purdue’s Depth Stole the Show
Purdue basketball played a 10-man rotation and still had 5 (nearly 6!) players score in double figures today with all of them contributing to big moments down the stretch. A couple stat lines that stick out include Zach Edey’s 21 points, 9-12 FG, and 6 rebounds as well as Jaden Ivey’s 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. After those two Sasha Stefanovic, freshman Caleb Furst, Isaiah Thompson, and Trevion Williams all played a role in Purdue basketball’s success this weekend at Mohegan Sun.
Even Villanova Coach Jay Wright said during his post-game press conference that, “Purdue’s depth is a great advantage for them, and they have experienced depth.” As they prepare for Big Ten conference play, Purdue basketball certainly has their go-to guys in Ivey, Stefanovic, and Edey, but can rest easy knowing that they have other players who can and will step up when needed.
Takeaway #2 – Villanova Needs Help From Their Bench
On the other side, Villanova’s lack of depth was exposed down the stretch today. Compared to Purdue basketball’s 10 players, the Wildcats only played 7 players with one of them logging just 5 minutes of action. Villanova came out of halftime making some great contested shots as they pulled ahead to an 11-point lead, but that trend didn’t continue late in the game.
Purdue’s coach Matt Painter said that it, “Seemed like they made a bunch of contested shots and then missed the same contested shots”. He continued on to say that it’s hard to tell if it was because they were tired or if the ball simply didn’t bounce their way and Coach Jay Wright seemingly agreed with this notion when he was asked about Painter’s comment. Villanova guard Justin Moore made it clear as he spoke to the media that his squad wasn’t tired down the stretch. Regardless of if the Wildcats’ issue was offensive execution or stamina related, it is clear that if Jay Wright & Co. want to compete for a national title this season they’re going to have to get their bench more involved in big games like today’s.
Takeaway #3 – Watch Out for Zach Edey
Purdue basketball’s 7’4″ 295lb starting center was the biggest highlight of the game today… pun intended. Right off the opening tip, the Boiler Makers fed the ball down low to take advantage of the mismatch that Edey had on Villanova’s 6’8″ Eric Dixon and I’m sure that won’t be the only mismatch that Purdue’s freak of nature will face this season. Edey was able to put together his impressive stat line today on just 20 minutes of play time, yet he shockingly could have done even more. There were multiple offensive plays designed to get him touches which fell apart and either resulted in a turnover or someone else taking the shot. Either way, Zach Edey has proved that he can be a difference maker for Purdue basketball if he is able to repeat today’s performance.