#812 University of Kansas Jayhawksvs.#811 Purdue University Boilermakers
Written by Chris Kubala
#15 Purdue Boilermakers (27-7 SU, 19-10-2 ATS, 18-12-1 O/U) vs. #3 Kansas Jayhawks (30-4 SU, 13-18-1 ATS, 16-16 O/U)
NCAAB: Thursday, March 23, 2017, Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri, 9:39 pm ET
Spread: Kansas -5, Over/Under: 156.5
The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament has come and gone. We’ve reached the Sweet 16 as the fourth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers face the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in a regional semifinal matchup in the Midwest Region Thursday night. Purdue advanced as they defeated fifth-seeded Iowa State 80-76 Saturday. Kansas reached this point after dispatching ninth-seeded Michigan State 90-70 Sunday. These teams have met once previously with Kansas taking a 63-60 win in a similar 1 vs. 4 seed matchup on March 18, 2012.
Purdue had their hands full with a tough Iowa State team but managed to put the Cyclones away and advance. The Boilermakers are seeking to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2000 with a win here. Purdue had a 13 point halftime lead but had to hang on as Iowa State charged back in the second half. The Boilermakers trailed 73-71 with 3:11 to play before closing the game on a 9-3 run. Purdue shot 49.4 percent from the floor despite hitting only 8 of 26 three point attempts in the game. The Boilermakers held a 38-28 rebounding advantage and played solid team basketball with 27 assists on 31 field goals. Vince Edwards led Purdue with 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
The Boilermakers are 35th in the nation as they average 80.1 points per game. Purdue is tied for 63rd in rebounding with 37.9 boards a contest and 2nd as they dish out 18.4 assists a night. The Boilermakers are 58th in scoring defense as they allow 67.5 points per game. Purdue is shooting 48.1 percent from the floor. The Boilermakers are knocking down nine threes a night while shooting a blistering 40.4 percent from beyond the arc. Caleb Swanigan leads the team with 18.5 points, 12.6 rebounds plus three assists a night. Isaac Haas is good for 12.6 points a game while Vince Edwards chips in 12.7 points plus five boards and 3.2 assists a contest. Carsen Edwards and Dakota Mathias are each scoring at least 9.9 points a game as well for the Boilermakers. Spike Albrecht, Basil Smotherman, Ryan Cline and P.J. Thompson all play valuable minutes in the rotation.
Kansas rolled past Michigan State to reach the Sweet 16 for the second straight season. The Jayhawks had their issues but pulled away in the second half to get the victory. Kansas led by five at the half but had just a one point edge with just over 12 minutes to play before outscoring Michigan State 36-17 the rest of the way. The Jayhawks shot 53.1 percent from the floor and connected on 8 of 20 three point attempts. Kansas won the rebounding battle 36-28 and held Michigan State to 43.9 percent from the field. Josh Jackson had 23 points to lead four Jayhawks in double figures in the win.
The Jayhawks come into this contest 15th in the nation in scoring offense with 83.4 points per game. Kansas is tied for 30th in rebounding with 38.9 boards a night and 25th in assists with 16.2 per contest. The Jayhawks are average defensively, ranking 173rd in scoring defense as they allow 72 points per game. Kansas is shooting 49.1 percent from the floor as a team. The Jayhawks knock down 8.8 triples a night while hitting 40.6 percent of their long range attempts. Frank Mason III leads the team with 20.8 points plus 4.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists a game. Josh Jackson contributes 16.6 points plus 7.1 rebounds per game, Devonte’ Graham adds 13.3 points plus 4.3 dimes a night and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk chips in 9.7 points a night. One thing Bill Self needs more of is depth: only Lagerald Vick, Landen Lucas, Carlton Bragg Jr. and Udoka Azubuike see double digit minutes other than the team’s big four.
Foul trouble could go a long way to determining how this one plays out. There isn’t a ton of scoring depth on either bench so if a couple of guys pick up early fouls, it will be interesting to see how adjustments are made. Both teams shoot extremely well from the floor and from the perimeter. The Boilermakers are better defensively but Kansas is better on the offensive end. This one is close all the way but in the end, Kansas picks up the win and reaches the Elite Eight.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.