PHILADELPHIA — The odds are lengthy but once more, simply as they had been in opposition to Kentucky and Murray State.
Saint Peter’s is a 12.5-point underdog in Friday’s Sweet 16 in opposition to No. 3 Purdue, an extended shot to grow to be the primary 15-seed to succeed in the Elite Eight.
But Shaheen Holloway’s plucky Peacocks have an opportunity, albeit a slim one, says one coach conversant in each groups. Cue Lloyd Christmas in “Dumb & Dumber.”
“The short answer is: ‘Yes, I think they can win the game,’ ” the coach stated, talking on situation of anonymity. “It all comes down as to if or not they can management the way in which the game is performed, and the issue is Purdue is pretty much as good as any crew in the nation at controlling the way in which the game is performed.
“You would be a fool to think if they played 10 games, Purdue wouldn’t win nine of them. But in the NCAA Tournament, you only have to beat them once.”
For Saint Peter’s to drag off its third straight upset, it has to make the Boilermakers uncomfortable, the coach stated. It should create a chaotic and frenzied tempo in order for the Peacocks’ quickness and athleticism to be an element. Purdue has the determined dimension and power benefit. It may have the perfect participant on the ground in projected top-five draft decide Jaden Ivey. Saint Peter’s gained’t have a solution for 7-foot-4 middle Zach Edey and even 6-10 ahead Trevion Williams. And if it double-teams them, then Purdue is deadly from deep, capturing 39 p.c from 3-point vary.
“If you’re letting Purdue play half-court offense and run their stuff, I don’t think anybody is going to beat them, let alone a team that has a size disadvantage that Saint Peter’s will have,” the coach stated, a nod to the Boilermakers’ second-ranked offense in phrases of effectivity. “But Saint Peter’s can turn you over. Saint Peter’s can be really aggressive defensively. Saint Peter’s can use their speed and athleticism to make you uncomfortable. They can recover defensively because they block a lot of shots.”
At the opposite finish of the ground Saint Peter’s can harm Purdue, which has a protection that’s ranked 87th nationally. It was center of the pack in the Big Ten in field-goal share protection and 3-point share protection. The coach believes the Peacocks must assault and power the Boilermakers to defend on the transfer, so their peak isn’t as a lot of an element and Saint Peter’s edge in foot pace comes into play.
“This isn’t an elite defensive team. Their size is imposing and if you let them settle in and use their size — they’ve got a goalie in there with Edey — let them play team defense, they’re going to be a lot better,” the coach stated. “Saint Peter’s has to find a way to not allow Purdue to bully them.”
That would be the key for Holloway’s crew, if it can impose its will because it did in opposition to Kentucky and Murray State, which helped neutralize the expertise and dimension differential. In each of these video games, the Peacocks performed smarter, more durable and executed higher. Now, they must do it once more, in opposition to arguably essentially the most gifted opponent they’ve confronted throughout this run.
“Styles make fights,” the coach stated. “This game has to be frenetic and chaotic and aggressive for Saint Peter’s to have a chance.”