This weekend features a Big Ten matchup between the Purdue Boilermakers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Purdue has been the surprise team of this early season. After starting the season unranked and many questions on how they would be after losing Jaden Ivey to the draft, they were able to dominate Gonzaga and Duke, now placing themselves at 4th in the country as they remain undefeated. Zach Edey has been the talk of the town, standing at 7’4” and has easily been the best player in the country early on. They have a chance to continue their early undefeated streak and get conference wins under their belt against a struggling Cornhusker team.
Nebraska enters this game at 6-4 and while they did find a way to beat a ranked Creighton team, they lost by double digits to Indiana following it up. They struggled against the size of Trayce Jackson-Davis so it wonders if they will struggle against Edey as well. One thing they did miss in that game was Sam Griesel, so it will be interesting to see if he is back and able to return for this matchup at home. Let’s get into this game’s matchup picks and predictions.
Purdue vs. Nebraska Betting Odds
There are currently no odds lines out just yet as this game tips off tomorrow. It will be expected that 4th ranked Purdue enters this game as the favorites with wide spread margins due to the difference in talent. Purdue also currently ranks 5th in Kenpom rankings while Nebraska is currently 81st in the country. Nebraska will certainly be expected to be a bottom team in the Big Ten unless they can prove they have a reason to be higher. Purdue will be expected to be in the top four. This game is at Nebraska however, which is important to remember. The home court advantage could certainly give the Huskers a boost. Purdue also could be due for a scare on the road after their incredibly hot start. ESPN Analytics currently gives Purdue a 67.4 percent chance to win so not the most direct shot at winning on the road.
There is no over/under total line placed just yet either. Nebraska currently averages 69.4 PPG while Purdue averages 79.3 PPG. Purdue also allows 62.4 PPG while Nebraska typically allows 65.6 PPG. Expect this game total to be placed around 140 or 150 points.
Purdue vs. Nebraska Picks & Predictions
My Pick: Purdue ML
I think the size of Purdue and just the way they have been playing will overmatch Nebraska, regardless if Griesel is back or not. I think this game could be close in the first half but I think overall Edey will lead this team to victory. Other than Edey, the Boilermakers also have guards Fletcher Loyer averaging 12.1 PPG and freshman Braden Smith averaging 9.1 PPG that have stepped up tremendously. Forward Derrick Walker will need to have a big game for Nebraska in this one. He averages around 15.6 PPG but playing down low against Edey will certainly affect his offense. Guards Griesel and Wilcher, if healthy, will also need to be playing on their A-game to keep Nebraska in this one. They both average in double digit figures.
As for the over/under depending on what it is placed on, I think if Edey can get going scoring this should be a high scoring affair. If they are able to contain him, I could see defenses taking over in this matchup and it being an under.
Zach Edey vs. Nebraska
Zach Edey has been playing like a Naismith Player of the Year frontrunner early in this season and that is not up for argument. The guy has simply been dominant on all sides of the floor. Currently averaging 23.2 PPG and 13.3 RPG, teams are struggling to find ways to stop him in the paint. If he continues having a big season, he could run away with Big Ten Player of the Year and Naismith as well. Nebraska will need to do all they can to stop him. If they can double team him to slow him down in the paint, and if other Purdue players’ shots aren’t falling, that’s the only way I can see Nebraska staying in this matchup. I don’t know if they have the size to stop him though and I expect another dominant game out of the big man.