The No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers (29-7) have had moderate success in the tournament over the years under Matt Painter, including in 2019 when they managed to win this exact game for the first time in five attempts with Painter.
The Boilermakers will look to build on that this weekend but now in their way is this year's Cinderella, the No. 15 Saint Peter's Peacocks (21-11), who successfully traded blows with No. 2 Kentucky and prevailed against No. 7 Murray State.
Continue reading for our free March Madness picks and predictions for Purdue vs. Saint Peter's today, March 26th.
Saint Peter's vs Purdue odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Purdue opened as 12.5 point favorites and it's stayed at that number. The total opened at 135.5 and since moved to 134.5.
Saint Peter's vs Purdue predictions
Predictions made on 3/24/2022 at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Saint Peter's vs Purdue game info
• Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
• Date: Friday, March 25, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:09 p.m. ET
• TV: CBS
Saint Peter's vs Purdue betting preview
Saint Peter's: None.
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Betting trend to know
Over is 5-1 in Boilermakers' last 6 NCAA Tournament games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Saint Peter's vs. Purdue.
Saint Peter's vs Purdue picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
Purdue's journey last weekend was to the tune of referee whistles. The Boilermakers shot a staggering 79 free throws over the course of their two games against Yale and Texas, and the 60 points they scored on those trips accounted for 37.7% of their points scored in the opening rounds. That is over double the percentage of points that free throws accounted for in Purdue's 34 games prior to last weekend.
As most know, Purdue doesn't need free throws to score. It ranks second in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency while ranking seventh in field goal percentage, fourth in 3-point percentage, 12th in points scored, and 14th in assists.
Sophomore stars Jaden Ivey (17.6 PPG) and Zach Edey (14.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG) lead the way for the Boilermakers, and senior forward Trevion Williams (11.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG) is a hell of a third piece. Ivey shoots a more than respectable 36.4% from three on 4.9 attempts per game and of the other five Purdue players averaging at least one 3-point attempt per game, four of them are shooting 37%+ or better.
That includes Sasha Stefanovic, Eric Hunter, Mason Gillis, and Isaiah Thompson. However, those four combined to go 4-21 from beyond the arc last weekend, which could be a huge cause for concern if that continues.
As we expect Purdue's abundant free-throw volume to regress to the mean, we should also expect the poor shooting performance from those four to also regress. In totality, the two may cancel each other out come Friday.
Saint Peter's is holding opposing 3-point shooters to 12-39 (30.8%) in the tournament thus far and held opponents to 29.4% over the course of the season. It ranks 16th best in the nation in opposing 3-point percentage and is just one of 30 teams to have a mark below 30%. If it can hold the Boilermakers to a similar mark on Friday, then the only remaining question is how they will fare against Edey and Williams.
Although it was in a losing effort, Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe did manage to go 11-16 from the field and 8-12 from the free throw line en route to 30 points in the first round against the Peacocks. Saint Peter's managed better in the following game against Murray State's leading scorer KJ Williams, holding him to 2-9 shooting.
The Peacocks' only other game against a tournament team this season was against Providence, during which they allowed another leading big man in Nate Watson to carve them up inside (8-12 from the field), while also sending him to the line a fair amount (7-7 on free throws).
Although a lot could be made of the fact that Saint Peter's allow just a 50.1% field goal percentage at the rim (a mark that ranks seventh among 358 teams), that seems to be a product of the quality and quantity of big men in the MAAC as opposed to overtly stout interior defense on Saint Peter's behalf. That makes sense given that among the players averaging 15+ minutes per game this year, none are taller than 6'8" nor weigh more than 200 pounds.
Considering the Peacocks average the 19th most fouls per game and send opposing players to the free-throw line at the 14th highest rate while also lacking the size to contain the likes of Edey and Williams, Friday could get ugly.
Prediction: Purdue -12.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
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Given that we expect Saint Peter's to find itself in foul trouble and for the Boilermakers' frontcourt to have an easy time, it would be difficult to argue a position on the total other than the Over.
If we can reliably expect Purdue to score at least 70 points, that also bodes well for the Over. In the eight games, Saint Peter's has allowed 70+ points, they have played to the Over in all but one game.
Friday's total of 134.5 certainly leans toward the lower side for Purdue, having seen just eight totals below 140 this year. In those games, the Boilermakers have played 5-3 to the Over. In their 12 games against non-conference opponents this year, they have gone 8-4 to the Over as well.
Prediction: Over 134.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
Saint Peter's tournament thus far has certainly been the embodiment of what March Madness is all about. Unfortunately for the Peacocks, runs like theirs always come to a halt at some point.
That's not to discredit what the program has already achieved, as taking out Kentucky is a prize in its own, and Murray State was having arguably the most historic season of its history up until Saint Peter's sent them packing home. Purdue, from a roster construction standpoint, simply presents a challenge that the Peacocks have already shown they are not equipped to handle properly.
Saint Peter's is shown a tendency to either give up hyper-efficiency from the field against dominant interior scorers or send them to the line more than enough to prop up their impact. With big bodies in Edey and Williams, the Boilermakers have the right weapons to separate themselves more than enough to ensure they too do not fall victim to the Peacocks.
To top it all off Jaden Ivey, who is now projected at the top of NBA mock drafts, is also there to wreak havoc.
Pick: Purdue -12.5 (-110 at DraftKings)