NCAA Basketball Game Preview: Saint Peters vs. Purdue

Mar 25, 2022

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Game: Saint Peter’s Peacocks @ Purdue Boilermakers 

Time: 7:29 p.m. ET 

Odds:  Peacocks +12.5, Boilermakers -12.5 

Total: 133.5 

Purdue wasn’t expecting Saint Peter’s tonight, but they will take it. The Peacocks, champions of the MAAC, knocked off No. 2 seed Kentucky in the first round and then beat Murray State to advance to tonight’s game. It’s the second consecutive year that a No. 15 seed advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, but will the magic run out tonight? 

Saint Peter’s shot a blistering 50.9 percent against Kentucky – 52.9 from three-point range – while the Wildcats continually missed shots, they had made all season long. In a 70-60 win over Murray State, the Peacocks cooled off shooting just 23.1 percent from behind the arc and 41.5 overall. It was the defense that pulled them through in that game.  

Tonight, the Peacocks will have their hands full once again. Jaden Ivey, who had 17 in Purdue’s second-round win over Texas, is the best guard the Peacocks have seen. Then, there is Purdue’s size. Trevion Williams (22 against Texas) is a 6-foot-10-inch talent while 7-4 Zach Edey is huge. The pair will present some matchup problems for Saint Peter’s. 

Purdue is No. 2 in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Boilermakers are a top 15 scoring team, averaging 79.8 points per game. They are also one of the nation’s best shooting teams ranking fourth in three-point field goal percentage and seventh in overall field goal percentage. Plus, the Boilermakers get to the free-throw line a lot. In the first two games of the tournament, Purdue has shot 79 free throws. 

One area where Saint Peter’s has excelled all season was offensive rebounding. They led the MAAC in offensive rebounding rate and rank No. 64 nationally. The problem tonight is that with Edey and Williams Purdue is ranked No. 33 in defensive rebounding rate. If the Boilermakers control the glass, the Peacocks are in trouble. 

Purdue entered March Madness with a 0-9-1 ATS run. They have covered in each of their tournament games thus far. That includes covering as a 16.5-point favorite in Round 1 against Yale. Saint Peter’s, on the other hand, has won its last nine games in a row. The Peacocks have covered in all nine, a perfect 9-0 ATS mark.  

With its defense, Saint Peter’s sees its fair share of low totals. Each of the Peacocks’ first two tournament games saw the total go Over. Tonight’s total is the highest the Peacocks have seen thus far in the tourney. In the last eight games in which Saint Peter’s has been an underdog, the Over is 7-1. Going back eight games for Saint Peter’s the Under is 5-3. 

Purdue has seen the Under hit in nine of its last 12 games. The first-round game with Yale went Under and the 81-71 victory over Texas went Over. The Boilermakers lean slightly toward the Over with a 19-17 O/U mark for the season. Purdue has averaged 80 points a game in their first two tournament games.