NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Sweet 16: (1) Purdue vs. (5) Gonzaga: Tonight, 7:39 p.m. (TBS/truTV)

By Skip Coopersmith

3 29 2024




[1 Seed] Purdue (31-4) vs. [5 Seed] Gonzaga (27-7)

Friday, March 29, 2024
7:39 p.m. ET | Detroit, Michigan
Little Caesar’s Arena (20,332)
TELEVISION: TBS / TruTV (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Evan Washburn)
RADIO: Purdue Global Radio Network (Rob Blackman, Bobby Riddell)

• The Purdue Boilermakers, the Midwest Region’s top seed, aims for their second Elite 8 appearance in the last five tournaments, when it battles No. 18-ranked and fifth-seeded Gonzaga in Friday’s Sweet 16 showdown in Detroit. It’s the first game against the Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament since 2000, when the Boilermakers defeated Gonzaga to reach the Elite 8 that season.
• This marks the first time since the 2000 Elite 8 that Purdue will play a team in the NCAA Tournament that it faced during the regular season. Purdue and Wisconsin met four times in 2000, with the Badgers going 3-1 (two games in regular season, one in Big Ten Tounament).
• If Purdue’s path to the Final Four looks eerily familiar, it’s because it is. In November, Purdue won three games at the Maui Invitational playing Gonzaga, Tennessee and Marquette in order. The Boilermakers face Gonzaga on Friday in the Sweet 16, could possibly face Tennessee in the Elite 8 on Sunday and then could still play Marquette in the Final 4 on April 6.
• Since the 2016-17 season, Gonzaga (7), Purdue (5) and Houston (5) have made the most Sweet 16 appearances. Purdue has made the Sweet 16 seven times under Matt Painter (2009, 2010, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022, 2024).
• Purdue has set a school record for most wins in a season with 31, surpassing the 30 victories accomplished by the 2017-18 team (30-7). Purdue has won at least 26 games 11 times under Matt Painter, including in seven of the last nine seasons (2020, 2021).
• Purdue (29, 29, 31) and Houston (32, 33, 32) are the only schools in America to have at least 29 wins in each of the last three seasons.
• Purdue is 8-0 against nationally-ranked teams this season, with seven of the victories coming against teams ranked in the AP top 12. Gonzaga enters Sunday’s game ranked No. 18 in the final Associated Press Top 25. So far, Purdue (8-0) and the 2011-12 Kentucky team (10-0) are the only teams in the last 15 years to play at least eight games against nationally-ranked teams without a loss.
• Purdue owns a 7-0 record against the other members of the Sweet 16, defeating six different teams. No other team in the field is unbeaten against the Sweet 16 field or has defeated more than four Sweet 16 opponents (Connecticut, North Carolina – 4 each).
•    Purdue has won 19 straight non-conference, regular-season and postseason games against power-conference OR nationally-ranked teams, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. Gonzaga falls in the above category, ranked No. 18 in the AP poll. It’s the longest streak since Duke won 20 straight from March 1991 to Feb. 1993.
• Purdue enters the Sweet 16 as one of six teams to rank in the top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency via (Purdue, Connecticut, Arizona, Duke, Houston, North Carolina).
• Purdue’s 67-point margin in the first two rounds are the largest margin of victory in the first two rounds since 2009 Connecticut (+82).
• Purdue is shooting 42.7 percent from 3-point range in the last 12 games (97-of-227), ranking second nationally in that span (Mount St. Mary’s, .432). Fletcher LoyerBraden Smith and Mason Gillis are a combined 58-of-121 (.479) from deep in that span.
• With his 30 points and 21 rebounds against Grambling, Zach Edey became just the second player in the last 50 years to record a 30-20 game in the NCAA Tournament, joining Maryland’s Joe Smith vs. Texas (March 18, 1995) as the only players to do so in the last 50 years.
• Zach Edey became the first player in NCAA history with 800 points, 400 rebounds, 50 assists and 50 blocks in a season, entering the Sweet 16 matchup with 859 points, 422 rebounds, 79 blocked shots and 73 assists. He needs three rebounds to become the fourth player in NCAA history with at least two seasons of 750 points and 425 rebounds (Elvin Hayes – 3; Rick Barry – 2; Oscar Robertson – 2).
• Braden Smith needs became the fifth player in NCAA history with 425 points, 250 assists and 200 rebounds in a season (UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth, Cal’s Jason Kidd, Michigan State’s Magic Johnson).
• Purdue is looking for its second Elite 8 appearance in the last five tournaments, last making the Elite 8 in 2019. Prior to the 2019 appearance, Purdue’s last Elite 8 was in 2000.
• Purdue scored 57 points in the second half against Utah State with Zach Edey scoring just two points after halftime.
• In addition, Braden Smith picked up his second foul with Purdue leading 25-24 in the first half. Purdue outscored Utah State 24-9 for the remainder of the half (7:17 of game time).
• Purdue is averaging 83.9 points per game, an increase of 11.2 points per game from a year ago, the Boilermakers’ highest increase in scoring average since the 1992-93 to 1993-94 season (+13.5).
• Purdue ranks 11th nationally in scoring offense, its highest NCAA ranking in the 19 years under Matt Painter.
• The Boilermakers rank second nationally in rebound margin (behind Saint Mary’s) at +11.5. Purdue led the country a year ago (+10.8).
• Purdue is second nationally behind Kansas (66.9) in assist rate, assisting on 65.4 percent of all its made field goals.
• Two of the nation’s best offenses will face off Friday. The Boilermakers are third nationally in offensive efficiency, while Gonzaga is seventh.
• In NCAA play. Purdue is second among remaining teams in scoring (92.0 PPG; behind Houston) and first in assists (26.0 APG) and rebound margin (+24.5). The Boilermakers are fourth in scoring defense (58.5 PPG) behind Duke, Tennessee and UConn.
• Purdue is 25-0 when it has 13 or fewer turnovers on the season. The Boilermakers are 6-4 when they have 14 or more turnovers.
• Purdue has started the same starting five in all 35 games. Purdue has never had a season where it started the same five all season.
• A year ago, Purdue shot 32.2 percent from 3-point range, a number that ranked 281st nationally. This year, Purdue is at 40.9 percent, leading the country in 3-point percentage. Purdue had one player (Braden Smith) shoot over 36.0 percent from deep a year ago. This year, Purdue has seven players over 36.0 percent and another (Lance Jones) at 35.8 percent.
• Purdue is 39-1 (Nebraska; Jan. 2024) in its last 40 games when making 10 or more 3-pointers. Purdue made 11 in the win over Utah State.
• During this senior group’s career (since 2010-11), Purdue is 48-2 when shooting 50.0 percent or better from the field (losses to Indiana – Feb. 4, 2023; Michigan State – Feb. 26, 2022).
• Since the 2020-21 season, Purdue is 38-4 when having single-digit turnovers. In the four losses, Purdue is 20-of-82 (.244) from deep.
• Zach Edey’s assist-to turnover ratio over his four years (FR – 0.26; SOPH – 0.69; JR – 0.68; SR – 0.95).
• Zach Edey has scored at least 22 points in 12 straight games. He has grabbed at least 12 rebounds in eight of those games. He has dished out at least two assists in eight straight games.
• Zach Edey became the first player since Lew Alcindor (1967-68) to have at least 50 points, 35 rebounds and to shoot better than 65.0 percent from the field in the first two NCAA Tournament games.
• Zach Edey became the first player since Memphis’ Larry Kenon in 1975 to have at least 30 points, 20 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists in an NCAA Tournament game.
• Zach Edey is trying to become the first player to lead the country in scoring and reach a Final Four since Oscar Robertson in 1960.
• Over the last 25 games, Fletcher Loyer has the nation’s third-best 3-point percentage at 49.4 percent (42-of-85). Only North Texas’ John Buggs (.511) and Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard (.500) are higher. Coincidentally, Mason Gillis is ninth in that span (.468).
• Mason Gillis’ 40.8 career 3-point percentage (146-of-358) is the sixth-best percentage in school history. His season 3-point percentage of 47.8 (54-of-113) is third in school history. Fletcher Loyer’s 44.9, 3-point percentage (57-of-127) is 10th in school history.
• Lance Jones’ 73, 3-pointers this season are tied for the 15th most in a season in Purdue history.




Zags and Boilermakers meet in Sweet 16


5-seed Gonzaga (27-7) vs. 1-seed Purdue (31-4)

– Gonzaga meets top-seeded Purdue Friday in the Midwest Regional semifinals of the 2024 NCAA Tournament in Detroit, Mich. It’s the fifth meeting between the programs, and the Boilermakers own the series at 4-0.
– GU is making its 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 26th overall. The 25 straight berths to the field is the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas 34 and Michigan State 26).
– The Zags are 46-25 all-time in the 25 previous NCAA Tournament appearances with 14 trips to the Sweet 16, six trips to the Elite Eight, two Final Fours and two appearances in the national championship game.
– Gonzaga is the five seed, for the first time in program history, in the Midwest Region.
– The Zags are 43-23 in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Mark Few with a berth in all 25 seasons.
– Gonzaga is one of only two teams to win its opening-round NCAA Tournament game each of the last 15 tournaments, Kansas is the other at 17. The Zags are the only program to appear in the last nine Sweet 16s.
– The Bulldogs have the most wins in the NCAA Tournament since 2017, going 22-6, Kansas is next at 17-5. GU’s 27 wins in the tournament since 2015 is also the most, with North Carolina second at 23.
– Gonzaga has earned more NCAA Tournament “units” than any program in the country in the last six seasons.
– The Zags are 21-0 this season when scoring 80 points and 21-0 when shooting 50 percent from the field. GU is 24-0 this season when shooting 30 percent from behind-the-perimeter and 20-1 when making six or more threes.
– The Bulldogs are 16-2 (88.9 percent) since Jan. 18, tied for the third-best win percentage in the nation.

– Gonzaga is making its 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 26th overall.
– The 25 straight berths to the field are the third-longest current streak in the nation (Kansas and Michigan State), and the sixth-longest in NCAA Div. 1 history.
The Zags are 46-25 all-time in their 25 NCAA Tournament appearances with 14 trips to the Sweet 16, six trips to the Elite Eight, two Final Fours and two appearances in the national championship game.
– GU is 43-23 in the NCAA Tournament under Few with a berth in all 25 seasons of his head coaching career.
– The Bulldogs have the most wins in the NCAA Tournament since 2017, going 22-6, Kansas is next at 17-5. GU’s 27 wins in the tournament since 2015 is also the most, with North Carolina second at 23.
– Gonzaga is one of only two teams to win its opening-round NCAA Tournament game each of the last 15 tournaments, Kansas is the other at 17.
– The Zags are 37-19 all-time as a single-digit seed, with a 17-2 record in first round games as a single-digit seed.
– Gonzaga is the five seed, for the first time in program history, in the Midwest Region.
– GU plays in Detroit in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
– In the 2023 NCAA Tournament, third-seeded Gonzaga defeated 14th-seeded Grand Canyon (82-70) and sixth-seeded TCU (84-81) in Denver. The Zags then advanced to the Sweet 16 in Las Vegas, where it beat second-seeded UCLA (79-76), before falling to eventual national champion and fourth-seeded UConn (82-54).

– During Few’s coaching career, his GU teams are 32-9 (.775) as the higher seed, including a 25-5 mark since 2009.
– Since 2009, the Zags have lost only five games against a lower-seeded team, a span of 14 NCAA Tournaments.
– Few’s teams have also pulled eight upset wins in his 24 previous NCAA Tournaments.

– Purdue rolled through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament beating Grambling 78-50 and Utah State 106-67.
– In the win over Utah State, the Boilermakers had 29 assists on 38 made shots from the field. Zach Edey had 23 points and 14 rebounds. Fletcher Loyer added 15 points and six assists.
– In the two tournament wins, Edey has 53 points on 19-of-28 shooting from the field. He’s grabbed 35 rebounds with 21 coming against Grambling.
– Edey, the defending national player of the year, is a consensus First Team All-American selection.
– Edey tops the nation in points per game (24.5), total points (859), field goals (289), free throws (280), free throw attempts (392), and offensive rebounds per game (4.71). He is second in rebounds per game (12.1) and total rebounds (422). His 26 double-doubles are third.
– Braden Smith leads the country in assists (256). He adds 12.3 points per game and a team-high 1.57 steals.
– Purdue tops the nation in three-point percentage (40.9) and second in rebound margin (11.5) and assists per game (18.8). The Boilermakers are eighth in scoring margin (14.5) and ninth in rebounds per game (40.8).
– Purdue won the Big Ten regular season title for the second straight season.

– This is the fifth all-time meeting between Gonzaga and Purdue, with the Boilermakers winning all four previous matchups.
– Purdue won the meeting earlier this season, rallying to beat the Zags 73-63 in the quarterfinals of the Maui Invitational on Nov. 20. Edey had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Graham Ike led GU with 14 points and seven rebounds. Ryan Nembhard had 11 points and six assists.
– The programs met in the PK Legacy semifinals last season in Portland. The Boilermakers won 84-66. Edey scored 15 of his 23 points in the final 15 minutes, Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer each added 14. Nolan Hickman had 15 points and five assists.
– Purdue won the first all-time meeting, 83-68, in West Lafayette on Nov. 18, 1998. The Boilermakers were ranked No. 15 at the time.
– In the second meeting, No. 25 Purdue held off Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament West Regional semifinal in Albuquerque, N.M., 75-66, March 23, 2000.
– Gonzaga has won six of its last nine games against current Big Ten foes.

– With a victory, Gonzaga would advance to the program’s seventh Elite Eight.
– The Midwest Regional Final is Sunday.
– The Zags would play the winner of the second Midwest Regional semifinal second-seeded Tennessee and third-seeded Creighton.

– Gonzaga’s Mark Few has won 43 NCAA Tournament games, which ranks among the all-time greats.
– It ranks fourth among active head coaches John Calipari (56), Bill Self (56), and Tom Izzo (54).

– Gonzaga is the only program in the country to appear in each of the last nine Sweet 16s.
– Per ESPN stats, the Zags are the fourth program ever to reach nine straight Sweet 16s. They join UCLA, Duke, and North Carolina.
– Since the field expanded in 1985, North Carolina and Duke had streaks of nine straight Sweet 16s, which rank as the longest.
– The Bulldogs’ 14 Sweet 16 appearances in program history, ranks 18th in NCAA history.
– All 14 appearances have been since 1999, which ranks second in the nation over that span.
– Houston owns the next closest active streak of Sweet 16s at five.

– The Zags have six appearances in the Elite Eight.
– GU has made the Elite Eight five times in the last seven tournaments. (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2023)

– The Bulldogs cruised to an 89-68 win over Kansas in the round of 32, behind a dominant second half.
– After trailing by one at halftime, GU outscored the Jayhawks 46-24 in the second half.
– The Zags opened the second half on a 32-4 run, making 23 of 30 from the field during a stretch, while holding Kansas to 4 of 27 from the field.
– Gonzaga used a 15-0 run to pull away. The Bulldogs made 11 of their first 12 shots from the field in the second half.
– The Zags outscored Kansas 37-6 until the six-minute mark in a flurry that included a 14-0 run and a 13-0 run.
– In the second half, GU shot 67 percent, hit five of six from behind-the-arc and scored 1.438 PPP. At one point, the Bulldogs hit eight straight.
– Gonzaga went 26:16 of game clock without missing consecutive shots from the field.

– Gonzaga is 16-2 (88.9 percent) since Jan. 18, tied for the third-best win percentage in the country. The two losses were to Saint Mary’s.
– Since Jan. 18, the Zags are fourth in the nation in offensive efficiency, first in effective field goal percentage (60.3), third in two-point percentage (60.0), and sixth in three-point percentage (40.5).