Skip The Intro.
1. Purdue Doesn't Have Robbie Hummel
I know this one is the elephant in the room but it must be mentioned. Undermanned and already offensively challenged, Duke will play lock down defense as they have throughout the regular season, ACC Tournament, and NCAA's so far and Purdue will struggle to score.
2. Purdue is undersized on the post.
Simply put Duke is too strong down there. Purdue will have major trouble rebounding the basketball on both offense and defense. Duke will limit Purdue to one shot per possession and will likely win the offensive rebounding battle by double digits. Jajuan Johnson is 135 pounds soaking wet.
3. Purdue doesn't have a scoring point guard
Kris Kramer scored 17 points on Sunday. But expect him to come back down to earth with his normal output of 6 ppg. He has no shot whatsoever so it shouldn't be hard to hold him to his average.
4. Purdue lacks a three point threat.
I know it's March Madness and some random player can get hot and hit 6 three's in a miracle performance. Yes it CAN happen but ultimately it will not. Every player for Purdue shoots below 35% from the arc and that will not it get it done against one of the best defensive teams in the country.
5. The Three Headed Monster
The other elephant room, Singler, Smith and Scheyer average 54 pts per game. Even with Scheyer having an off night the previous game...they still accounted for 45 of Duke's 68 pts. This game specifically, Purdue has no answer for Kyle Singler who will have a 20 and 10 type performance.
6. Duke's Defense
Duke only had 2 games this year when their defense let them down. NC State & Georgetown. But it's money time now and best believe that Duke's D will show up even if Scheyer's jump shot doesn't. Holding opponents to 47 pts per game in the tournament (including holding Cal who averages 79 ppg to a season low 53 pts), their defense will once again suffocate the opposition.
7. Coach K
Coach K is the best coach in college basketball and he will have his team ready.
Yeah so Duke pounded (essentially the same) Purdue at their house last season but what I'm talking about is the Sweet 16. Duke was humiliated in the Sweet 16 last year by Villanova. The key players; Zoubek, Scheyer, Singler, Thomas and Smith remember it vividly and will not let that happen again. Senior leadership and Coach K will keep the team focused.
Nolan Smith has already expressed that they are out to prove doubters wrong. Being hailed as the weakest 1 seed and the 1 seed most likely to make an early exit as well as many picking them to lose early and no one but die hard fans predicting them in the Final Four. This a 1 seed we're talking about and a team that has proven all year that they mean business. Their performance so far in the tournament showed that they didn't take that lightly.
10. No Robbie Hummel
I just don't see a team that is not at full strength, let alone a team that lost their leading scorer and emotional backbone beating a well oiled Duke machine that is healthy and on a mission. Yeah I know it's on there twice.
I predict that Duke wins this going away by double digits by dominating the boards and playing lock down defense. Purdue has been playing with heart and purpose but the buck stops here.