Size matters. And Purdue’s center Zach Edey has plenty of it — he’s 7 feet, 4 inches tall, guys. He’s used every centimeter to massacre most of college basketball.
Edey’s 22.4 points per game leads the conference (Iowa’s Kris Murray is 2nd). His 303 rebounds are nearly 100 more than the next closest player in the Big Ten. His Boilermakers are currently No. 1, and he’s the clear frontrunner for national player of the year.
“He’s always been massive, but it’s like this year you see the big jump,” Connor McCaffery said. “You have to credit that to everything that he’s been doing. The biggest thing, I think, was like staying out of foul trouble. He’s able to play as much as he does and then being in the shape as big as he has to run up and down the floor for as long as he does.”
The man who’ll be primarily guarding this behemoth? Filip Rebraca, who’s a solid 7 inches smaller than his opponent. Rebraca is a made man himself — he’s the anchor to Iowa’s defense along with being the team’s second leading scorer. He’s top 10 in-conference in rebounds and blocks per contest.
“It’s definitely not personal. But yeah, definitely take it as a challenge,” Rebraca told me. “I get to compete against the elite to say I want to prove myself against them. So, definitely looking forward to this game on Thursday.”
It’ll be a team effort against a Boilermakers team that is the best rebounding team in the conference. On average they win the rebounding battle by nearly 12 boards per contest. (For reference Iowa’s is 1.8.) They also shoot 46% from the floor and boast the second best defense.
Edey’s a huge part of that, and stopping him is going to be the key to slowing down the Boilermakers.
“He’s a physical specimen,” Iowa forward Payton Sandfort said. “It’s a different challenge that we’re going to have to take on and we’re going to do everything we can to slow him down as much as we can.”
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