HONOLULU — Second-ranked Purdue gets an opportunity to make another bold November statement this week, as it’s part of an utterly loaded field at the Maui Invitational, held this year in Honolulu.
It starts Monday with 11th-ranked Gonzaga, almost a year to the day after upstart Purdue handled the WCC and national power in Portland last November.
THREE THINGS ABOUT PURDUE
• Purdue hasn’t lost a game in November since the COVID year, a 2020 loss to Clemson in Florida as part of what was supposed to be the Cancun Challenge.
• Still too early — and the games too one-sided — for any stats to matter, but Purdue will happily take its 46.3-percent three-point shooting and 10-plus makes per game into the Invitational.
• Zach Edey is averaging 21 points on an average of just 10 field goal attempts per game.
• Braden Smith averages roughly 12, six and seven, with just eight turnovers, and shooting 50 percent overall and from three. Gonzaga is well aware of him.
• Will Myles Colvin‘s jumper travel? The freshman is 7-of-10 from three this season and the scoring punch he can give Purdue in bursts could make a difference in a close game against great teams.
A FEW THINGS ABOUT THIS GAME
• Replacing Gonzaga legend Drew Timme at center is redshirt freshman Braden Huff, a Chicagoland native who was on Purdue’s recruiting radar at one time, and Wyoming transfer Graham Ike. In one-sided wins over Yale and Eastern Oregon, Huff came off the bench to average a team-best 21 points. Ike averages 18 and seven rebounds. Those two along with returnee Anton Watson are a combined 6-of-9 from three.
• The Bulldogs have long been one of the premier offensive programs in college basketball, finishing No. 1 nationally in offensive efficiency, per KenPom, four of the last five years and third the other year.
|Pace and Transition||Make Early Shots||Rebounding|
|Purdue’s not just a post team, but a pace team also. It wants to play fast and this year’s personnel is better at doing just that, but decision-making is key.||Same old, same old. Defenses are going to try to stymie Edey. The perimeter has to step up, especially early, when the terms of play are set.||Same old, same old. Gonzaga’s bigs are good but no match for Edey physically. Purdue’s energy at the 4 matters here, too.|
GOLDANDBLACK.COM PREDICTION: PURDUE 81, GONZAGA 73
Gonzaga’s a very different team from last season, and probably unlikely to be better. Purdue’s a better team than the one that hung 84 on the Zags in the Pacific Northwest a year ago.