Fairleigh Dickinson will be the first round matchup for Purdue after they beat Texas Southern in the First Four.
Fairleigh Dickinson got to the tourney despite losing in their conference championship due to the transition rule in college basketball. They are currently 20-15, and they went 10-6 in the Northeast Conference. They beat Texas Southern, getting their first tourney win since 2019.
Fairleigh Dickinson has the shortest starting lineup in all of Division 1 basketball. The tallest player on their roster is 6’6, and they start two guards that are under 5’10. Fairleigh Dickinson has built themselves on their offense. They are not exceptional anywhere on offense, but they don’t do anything too poorly.
This is a team that will want to push the pace on both sides of the ball. They press more than anyone in the country, but it has not lead to success. If they don’t force a turnover then they offer little resistance in the half court.
Purdue is the heavy favorite in the game. Zach Edey is a foot or more taller than everyone on the roster but 2 players. I would expect him to have a big game. They are the lowest rated Kenpom team to make the tournament.
- #3 Braden Smith – #2 Demetre Roberts
- #2 Fletcher Loyer – #4 Grant Singleton
- #15 Zach Edey – #11 Sean Moore
- #5 Brandon Newman – #1 Joe Munden
- #0 Mason Gillis – #5 Ansley Almonor
- Kenpom ranking – 155th
- 51.5 eFG% (128th)
- 16.4 TO% (59th)
- 31.4 ORB% (90th)
- 27.9 FTA Rate (295th)
- 34.4 3P% (157th)
- 51.4 2P% (121st)
- 75.0 FT% (58th)
Fairleigh Dickinson gets to the rim a surprising amount, despite their lack of size. Per Synergy, they get to the rim more than 76 percent of teams in the country. However, they have not had to play a Zach Edey and Purdue like defense. They are made up of 3 primary scorers, and then guys that will occasionally knock down a shot.
They are able to get to the rim because of the offensive system that they run. They look to attack into the lane early and often. They play a 5 out offense with good spacing. This allows for anyone to really be able to drive into the lane and kickout which creates an advantage. The next player drives, gets an advantage, and shoots or kicks out. This repeats until they are able to get a shot they like. #2 Demetre Roberts is a super quick guard that leads this offense.
The play above is a great example of what a half court possessions will look like. It is a lot of dribble drives, looking to turn the corner. If that doesn’t happen, it flows into a dribble handoff so the next person can go. They are methodical in this, and they will have some patience until they get the shot they want.
This play above is another example of stuff that they will run. They have their best player, #2 Demetre Roberts, set rip screens as players cut through, just for him to ultimately get a handoff. He is super quick and likes getting downhill to his left hand.
When they are not running a weave offense in the half court, they will be looking to push. This starts with their two guards, #2 Demetre Roberts and #4 Grant Singleton. If the defense can force a turnover, they are going to try and drive it straight to the basket.
The clip above shows that it doesn’t even have to be a turnover for Fairleigh Dickinson to push the ball. This time it was off a miss. Roberts (#2) gets the ball and pushes until he gets to his floater. No one picks him up, and that is something Purdue will have to make sure they do.
- Kenpom ranking – 361
- 55.8 eFG% (357th)
- 21.4 TO% (33rd)
- 28.9 DRB% (203rd)
- 34.8 FTA Rate (266th)
- 36.9 3P% (329th)
- 56.1 2P% (353rd)
Stats from Synergy
- Allow 0.897 Points per Possession (PPP) against pick and rolls (5th percentile)
- Allow 0.981 PPP on Spot Ups (14th percentile)
- 0.923 PPP against Post ups (35th percentile)
- Teams get out in transition against them more than any other team in the country
There is a reason that Fairleigh Dickinson has one of the worst defenses in the country. They are one of the worst defenses in the country at defending the rim, allowing 1.26 PPP on shots at the rim. This puts them in the 4th percentile. On top of that, they do a poor job of defending the perimeter because they are in rotation so often.
They press more than any team in the entire country. I know this sounds scary to Purdue fans, but the press is very top heavy. If teams can get past the initial trap, there are tons of opportunities to score. Fairleigh Dickinson will look to press after every make and dead ball. Sometimes it is a man to man, and other times it is a trapping press.
The clip above is an example of their press. They do a good job of forcing the ball handler to retreat and get a trap. Once the ball gets moved forward however, SFU is able to get a great look from the perimeter.
#11 Sean Moore will be the primary defender in this press. He is a lanky 6’4 guard, and has the green light to go for any steal.
With their tallest player being 6’6, Fairleigh Dickinson has to double the post. The double seems to always come from the baseline side. This means the primary defender will shade towards the middle, expecting one of his teammates to come from the baseline to double. If they don’t get a steal from this, their rotations are poor and a shot can be found.
In the play above, the double comes from the baseline. The big of SFU was still able to step through and draw a foul. Fairleigh Dickinson fouls a lot. In this game, Cohen had 31 points for SFU, primarily coming through post ups.
Here is an example of the skip pass being there. The double again comes from the baseline. Cohen for SFU retreats a bit and then fires a skip pass to his wide open teammate in the corner. Those skip passes are going to be there.
Fairleigh Dickinson will also run a zone at times. I would not be shocked to see it more against Purdue. It is a 3-2 zone that is still looking for steals. A couple sharp passes can break it easily, as they leave the middle of it pretty open.
The order is by who is most used on offense to used the least on offense. Stats are per sports reference and Synergy.
#2 Demetre Roberts – 5’8, 165 lbs – Guard
- 16.7 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.0 rpg, 1.8/5.3 3s (33.3%), 3.7/7.6 2s (49%), 4.0/4.9 FTs (80.4%)
- Best overall offensive player
- Very quick with the ball in his hands
- Willing to set others up
- Wants to get to the left hand a bit more on drives
- 166 pick and rolls – 0.789 PPP – 58th percentile
- Will shoot the 3 if you go under on a screen
- Pretty even mix between drives and jumpers
- 108 spot ups – 1.028 PPP – 74th percentile
- Wants to drive more than shoot when spotting up
- Very willing to push the ball in transition
#4 Grant Singleton – 5’9, 163 lbs – Guard
- 14.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.9 SPG, 2.2/5.8 3s (38.5%), 2.8/5.1 2s (55.4%), 2.0/2.2 FTs (91.5%)
- Secondary guard option, plays more off ball
- Really quick hands and will be going for steals
- Quick with the ball
- 145 spot ups – 1.076 PPP – 81st percentile
- Is going to catch and shoot a LOT when he is spotted up
- When he drives, he is almost always going to the left
- Will push in transition after a steal
- 1.27 PPP at the rim – 74th percentile
#5 Ansley Almonor – 6’6, 219 lbs – Forward
- 13.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.1/5.5 3s (37.6%), 3.0/5.9 2s (50.3%), 1.8/2.0 FTs (86.6%)
- Their biggest defender
- Guards opposing 5s on defense
- On offense is more of a guard and slasher
- Pretty strong frame
- Exclusively off ball guy
- 156 spot ups – 0.949 PPP – 59th percentile
- Almost always going to catch and shoot when spotting up
- Want to force him to drive
- Very active player, sets some screens and cuts to the rim a lot
#1 Joe Munden – 6’3, 188 lbs – Guard
- 10.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.8/2.3 3s (34.4%), 3.1/5.9 2s (52.2%), 1.9/2.7 FTs (70.8%)
- More of a role player
- Solid defender with some good speed to him
- Going to be primarily off ball
- He wants to drive more than shoot jumpers
- 91 spot ups – 1.044 PPP – 77th percentile
- Is going to either drive left to the rim or shoot a jumper off the catch
- Want to force him right
- Just an ok finisher at the rim
#11 Sean Moore – 6’4, 175 lbs – Forward
- 6.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.4 spg, 0.6/2.1 3s (27.9%), 2.1/3.7 2s (56.2%), 0.8/1.1 FTs (72.2%)
- Best defender
- Is going to be at the top of all of their presses
- Athletic and will be going for steals a lot
- Not a big offensive threat in the half court
- Not a great shooter at all
- 75 spot ups – 0.787 PPP – 31st percentile
- Willing to shoot jumpers, but offense doesn’t force him to a lot
- Solid finisher at the rim
#3 Heru Bligen – 6’2, 183 lbs – Guard
- 7.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0/0 3s, 3.1/5.6 2s (55.3%), 1.6/2.5 FTs (63.5%)
- A role player that will battle a bit on the boards
- Not a huge part of the offense and will not create much for himself
- 55 cuts – 1.218 PPP – 56th percentile
- Going to be moving on offense a lot, looking to cut off of others
- 43 spot ups – 0.837 PPP – 38th percentile
- Is looking only to drive. Prefers going left
#13 Jo’el Emanuel – 6’6, 196 lbs – Forward
- 3.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.2/0.6 3s (33.3%), 1.1/2.4 2s (46.3%), 0.8/1.3 FTs (60.5%)
- Not a big part of the offense
- Another bigger body that may try his luck down low
- 36 spot ups – 0.528 PPP – 7th percentile
- Is only really looking to drive the ball
- Not much of an offensive threat
#21 Cameron Tweed – 6’4, 222 lbs – Forwad
- 3.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0/0 3s, 1.5/2.5 2s (58.4%)
- Role player with limited minutes
- Strong frame that has to guard opposing bigs at times
- Not really a part of the offense
- Will be active cutting to the rim and trying to get putbacks