Arace: Zach Edey, Purdue reach Final Four and weight of history lightens

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Purdue’s Zach Edey dunks against Tennessee Volunteers during the Boilermaker’s 72-66 win in the Elite Eight.

In March of 2018, Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to fall to a No. 16 seed, University of Maryland-Baltimore County – the UMBC Retrievers. And it wasn’t even close (74-54).

The next year, Virginia went on to win the national title.

In March of 2023, right here in Columbus, Purdue became the second No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16, Farleigh Dickinson – the FDU Knights. It was close (63-58).

Purdue’s Zach Edey celebrates with fans after defeating Tennessee Volunteers in the Elite Eight by a final score of 72-66.

Will Purdue win the national title this year?

The Boilermakers have earned a reputation as the standard bearer of a substandard Big Ten basketball conference, and as lacking in intestinal fortitude. In the previous three years, they lost to No. 16 FDU in the first round, to No. 15 St. Peter’s in the Sweet 16 and to No. 13 North Texas in the first round. Timber!

Fairleigh Dickinson guard Heru Bligen makes a layup in front of Purdue center Zach Edey (15) during the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament last season at Nationwide Arena.

This year, the Boilermakers won the Big Ten regular-season title, their fifth since 2010, but they lost to Ohio State. And got bounced out of the Big Ten tournament in the semifinal round by a No. 5 seed (Wisconsin).

Q: When do you really know it’s March? A: When Purdue loses.

As Wilt Chamberlain said, nobody loves Goliath. Zach Edey, Purdue’s 7-foot-4, 300-pound center, is three inches taller and 25 pounds heavier than Wilt (RIP) was. Nobody seems to love Edey, except maybe Canada. This season, Edey is averaging 24.6 points, 12 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. Next weekend, when the Naismith Award votes are tallied, odds are he will become the first two-time Player of the Year since Virginia’s Ralph Sampson, a 7-4 center who won the award three years in a row in the early 1980s.

Purdue’s Zach Edey blocks a shot by…

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Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/arace-zach-edey-purdue-reach-100800161.html

Author : The Columbus Dispatch

Publish date : 2024-04-02 10:08:00

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