NCAA March Madness: Purdue Boilermakers vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights betting preview, odds and predictions
In a First Four matchup in the East region of the NCAA Tournament, the Fairleigh Dickson Knights take on the Purdue Boilermakers to find out who will advance to the Round of 32. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs.
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How to watch Purdue vs. Fairleigh Dickinson
When: Friday, 6:50 p.m. ET
Where: Columbus, Ohio
Odds for Purdue vs. Fairleigh Dickinson
Spread: Purdue -23
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
East Region No. 16 Seed Fairleigh Dickinson Knights
A pretty decent argument can be made that Fairleigh Dickinson is the worst team in the entire field. The Knights didn’t even win their own conference tournament, as they lost a 67-66 final to the Merrimack College Warriors. However, Merrimack is ineligible to play in the postseason, so Fairleigh Dickinson got the nod just for reaching the Northeast Conference Tournament final. The Knights had a pedestrian regular-season record and only two teams in the entire nation had a worse adjusted defensive efficiency this season. Things will have to break perfectly just for Fairleigh Dickinson to be competitive in the Big Dance.
East Region No. 1 Seed Purdue Boilermakers
In Zach Edey, Purdue has a weapon unlike any other in the country. The 7-foot-4 center is a walking 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Boilermakers, and he puts up his numbers efficiently — while not being a liability in any facet of the game. Purdue will have a chance to beat anybody because it can always dump the ball inside to him. The Boilermakers also have all sorts of talented players around Edey, with a good mix of youth and veterans. This Purdue team has a legitimate shot at winning a title, but can Matt Painter get over the hump? He hasn’t yet done so in his time with the Boilermakers. But you can’t count out the Big Ten champs.
Purdue vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Matchup Analysis
For long stretches of the First Four game against Texas Southern, it seemed like Fairleigh Dickinson couldn’t miss a jump shot or a free throw. The Knights were 11-of-27 from 3 (40.7%), well above their 34.4% season average. They went 27-of-31 from the line and punched a ticket to take on a much bigger test, literally and figuratively, against the Purdue Boilermakers.
No teams have much of an answer for 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey, but the Boilermakers should have quite the advantage here. The tallest player on Fairleigh Dickinson’s roster is 6-foot-7 Pier-Olivier Racine, who played 14 minutes total during the regular season. Edey, who averaged 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, should have a monster game for however long he’s on the floor. Edey had 72 dunks this season; Fairleigh Dickinson had 25 all season going into the First Four.
The Boilermakers are also taller at other positions, including guard, where the Knights’ two top players are 5-foot-8 Grant Singleton and 5-foot-9 Demetre Roberts. That tandem combined for 28 points and 10 assists against Texas Southern, but will be going up against freshmen Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer here.
One concern with laying the big number is that Purdue plays at a very slow pace, so this game could have a limited number of possessions. The best attribute of the Fairleigh Dickinson defense is forcing turnovers, while that is the worst trait for Purdue, which ranks 330th in TO% on defense. Still, this game is quite a mismatch and Purdue won’t go 1-for-16 from 3 like Texas Southern did.
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