Why matchup vs. DJ Burns will present serious challenge for Zach Edey in Final Four

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison04/01/24


Wrap Video — Purdue to the Final Four

The Final Four is set, and it includes a very interesting matchup between Purdue and NC State. It’s a one-seed against an 11-seed. It’s also a battle of the big men, with Purdue’s Zach Edey getting set to take on NC State’s DJ Burns on the inside.

That matchup inside is exciting, with James Fletcher breaking down how that matchup could create serious challenges for Edey while making an appearance on Andy Staples On3.

“I do think it will test him as a passer and a rebounder because he’s going to have to work on positioning against DJ Burns, who will just push you straight out of the lane and clear that space for him and his teammates to grab the rebounds,” James Fletcher said. “So, it’ll be a challenge for Zach Edey. We will see what he’s able to do there.”

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“I think it’s also going to be a challenge for Burns, who’s not going to able to rise up over his defender at any point during this game,” Fletcher said.

One of the storylines that has followed Purdue this NCAA Tournament has been how few fouls get called on Zach Edey despite his size. That, as Fletcher explained, has to do with Edey’s style of play but could be a problem for DJ Burns.

“And, Edey, I think one of the advantages that he’ll have guarding Burns here is that he rarely leaves the floor. I know that there’s been a lot of talk about his foul count, but one of the reasons why he doesn’t commit many fouls is because he rarely leaves the floor. He is very good at putting himself in position, getting those arms up, and then he is going to stand there. So, you don’t commit as many fouls when you’re not up in the air worried about verticality, worrying about whether you go into the player, whether he draws contact, whatever the case is,” Fletcher said.

“If you stand still, you’re not going to be picking up those fouls that Burns has gotten [Kyle] Filipowski in the last round, other centers before that. He’s not going to face that same foul trouble.”

NC State and Purdue will play in the Final Four on Saturday, April 6th.

Zach Edey gives emotional postgame interview following Final Four berth

For Purdue, a season after losing to a 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament, making the Final Four was an emotional accomplishment. That much was obvious from Zach Edey’s postgame interview after winning in the Elite Eight.

“They thought they knew us, man. They thought they knew what we had in our hearts. I promise you they didn’t. We’re f***ing winners. That’s what we do,” Edey shouted.