Show Me My Basketball Opponent: Purdue

LINEUP NOTES

Purdue:

  • They switched it up against Old Dominion for reasons unknown, but the starting lineup for the last month has been Edwards/Cline/Eastern/Eifert/Haarms.
  • Purdue’s rotation goes about nine-deep, but no bench player gets more than about 13-14 minutes. Stefanovic and Hunter are about 11-12 minute guys, and Trevion Williams is 9-10.
  • Any sort of bench action is ideal. Purdue is -34 in 84 minutes when Edwards, Wheeler, and Williams play together, per StatHouse Analytics.
  • Best possible lineup for Tennessee: the one where they replace Haarms with Williams. Williams is (supposedly) the worst defender on the team.

Tennessee:

  • Bone/Turner/Schofield/Williams/Alexander.
  • Nothing new here: Bowden played 35 minutes against Iowa, Fulkerson got to 9, and that was it for bench players getting more than five minutes in a game that went to overtime.
  • Of note: Jalen Johnson DNP’d against a bad defense, which makes me think he has little shot of playing against a better offense and defense. Derrick Walker got three minutes and sucked.
  • It is now official: Tennessee’s best lineup on the year, per team plus-minus, is the small-ball lineup: +68 in 118 minutes.

KEY MATCHUPS

Lamonte Turner/Jordan Bone/Jordan Bowden vs. Carsen Edwards. You don’t need an essay here; you just need to know that Edwards can shoot Purdue to a win as easily as he can shoot them to a loss. Turner, Bone, Bowden, and possibly Pons must stick to Edwards’ side the entire way. I don’t know if this is worth noting or not, but whatever: Purdue is 8-6 when Edwards takes 21 or more attempts from the field. They’re 17-3 in all other games. Make him take bad shots.

Whoever’s Not Guarding Carsen Edwards vs. Ryan Cline. Not sure on this one. If it’s Lamonte Turner guarding Edwards, you’d be playing Bone on Cline and having Bone give up three inches…but the opposite is no better. Bowden will likely get double-digit minutes at the 2 guarding Cline, as he’s the best athletic fit. Cline is quick and smart, but he’s also exploitable on the defensive end. I’d love to see a Tennessee guard take him to the rim.

Kyle Alexander vs. Matt Haarms. Sorry, it ain’t gonna be Fulkerson. Alexander is the only player on the team within five inches of Haarms, and going any shorter will allow Haarms to get any rebound and layup he wants. Alexander was solid against Iowa, but he didn’t have a giant guy to defend. The offensive plan should be obvious: go at Haarms over and over and draw fouls off of a guy that commits 4.6 fouls per 40 minutes. Any scenario where Tennessee’s holding Haarms to <23 minutes on the court is an ideal one.


PREDICTION

Tennessee 73, Purdue 71.

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