The PK 85 Legacy bracket is filled with a number of competitors including Purdue and West Virginia. Who goes into the semifinals?
TV Schedule: Thursday, November 24, 10:00 p.m. ET (approx.) [email protected]
Arena: Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon
Arguably the biggest tournament of all of Feast Week, the Phil Knight Tournament features a number of top 25 programs. It is divided into two brackets representing the top 10 teams Duke and Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are up against Portland State and will almost certainly progress and take on the winner of that next encounter in the semifinals.
At the start of the season, it was clear that Zach Edey would be the star of Purdue (3-0). Over three games, the 7’4 center averaged 20.7 ppg and 13.7 rpg. The question was whether the supporting cast would be good enough to make them a good team overall. So far they’ve received contributions from the rest of the rotation, with freshmen guards, Flecther Loyer and Braden Smith averaging just over double digits each.
The Boilermakers passed their first real test of the season with a 75-70 win over Marquette, but now several big tests are coming this week. Their opponent in the quarterfinals is another team who had questions in West Virginia (4-0) and went through a complete roster reshuffle this offseason.
Washington transfer Erik Stevenson leads at 14.0 ppg, while former Texan forward Tre Mitchell has recovered from a preseason injury and is also a double-digit producer. Guards Joe Toussaint and Kedrian Johnson stabilized the backcourt, while Emmitt Matthews made a successful return after joining the Mountaineers.
West Virginia passed its Power Conference test with a 28-point win in Pittsburgh, but Edey and Purdue will definitely be a bigger task. As with most competitions the Boilermakers are involved in, it all comes down to how the opposing team handles the big star. But the Mountaineers can pelt him with frontcourt depth, including JUCO transfers, Jimmy Bell and Mohamed Wague, and second bencher James Okonkwo.
It will also be important to see how the freshman Purdue Guards deal with constant pressure from West Virginia. If they struggle to get the ball to Edey on Thursday night, it could be a long game for them.
I think Edey will get his in this matchup, but I’m not sure about the rest of the roster. And with the Mountaineers’ improved shooting from the outside, I’ll let them move on in a tight matchup.
Forecast: West Virginia 71, Purdue 66