Purdue Boilermakers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 9th 2023

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Zach Edey gets a true home game when he leads No. 4 Purdue into action against Alabama on Saturday in the Hall of Fame Series in Toronto.

The reigning National Player of the Year was born in Toronto and was the lone college player on Team Canada’s 12-man roster when it won the bronze medal in last summer’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The contest marks the first time that the 7-foot-4 Edey will play a game in Toronto since his sophomore season of high school in 2017-18.

Edey has a solid chance at repeating as the top player in college basketball. He is shooting 63.6 percent from the field, averaging 23.7 points and 11.2 rebounds and has 26 blocked shots to help the Boilermakers (8-1) get off to a strong start.

Edey had 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting and collected 12 rebounds and three blocked shots in Purdue’s 87-68 home win over Iowa on Monday.

The stellar play comes despite Edey undergoing constant harassment in the paint.

“I’m going to get doubled a lot — that’s just how teams play me,” Edey said. “I don’t get to see single coverage very often, so being a good passer is very important for me.

“Being able to stay on the floor at the end of the games for defense and for free throws is very important to me. Being able to do a lot of things to help Purdue win is always something I value highly.”

Edey continues to move up the program charts. He needs 26 points to tie Robbie Hummel (1,772) for 10th place on Purdue’s all-time scoring list, 10 rebounds to tie Terry Dischinger (958) for second on the boards list and one block to tie fifth-place Russell Cross (175).

The Boilermakers are outrebounding opponents by 11.9 per game as they match up against Alabama (6-2). Both schools earned No. 1 seeds in last season’s NCAA Tournament.

The Crimson Tide are nowhere near as potent as last season’s squad; they are 2-2 over their last four games. The losses were to Ohio State and Clemson.

The Crimson Tide routed visiting Arkansas State 89-65 on Monday, but coach Nate Oats found plenty of blemishes heading into a three-game stretch against Purdue, No. 10 Creighton and No. 1 Arizona.

“They exposed a few things that we need to work on,” Oats said of Arkansas State. “Our defensive rebounding needs major work before we play Purdue, giving up 15 (offensive) boards against them. So we’re going to continue to work on our defense, try to get it better and see what we can do in this next three-game stretch here.”

Forward Grant Nelson departed the contest with a left leg injury, but Oats was confident the North Dakota State transfer won’t miss time.

“Really with the score at the time in the game, they decided to start treatment on him right away to try to get ready by Saturday,” Oats said. “He should be good to go Saturday, but it was a left leg injury that needed some treatment.”

Nelson ranks third on the Crimson Tide at 14 points per game and leads with 6.3 rebounds.

Mark Sears leads Alabama in scoring (19.8) and assists (4.3). Aaron Estrada is the team’s second-leading scorer at 16.4.

Joining Edey in double digits for Purdue are Braden Smith (11.7), Lance Jones (11) and Fletcher Loyer (10.9). Smith averages a team-best 7.1 assists per game.

Purdue holds a 5-3 series lead, but Alabama won the last meeting 65-56 on Nov. 20, 2011, in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

–Field Level Media

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