Zach Edey’s All-Time Performance Leads Purdue to Final Four

The presumptive two-time National Player of the Year, Zack Edey, is now the presumptive Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament. With No. 1 seed Purdue facing its toughest game of the tournament against No. 2 Tennessee, Edey was at his best. He scored a career-high 40 points, added 16 rebounds, and played in all but 33 seconds of the 72-66 win.

Edey’s four games to get Purdue into its first Final Four since 1980 are 30 points and 21 rebounds, 23 and 14, 27 and 14, and now 40 and 16. He became the first player with multiple 30-point, 15-rebound games in the NCAA Tournament since Cedric Maxwell in 1977.

Not too bad for a guy who was only a three-star recruit out of high school.

From Lightly Recruited to Best Player

Edey has been recognized as the nation’s best men’s college basketball player for the last two seasons. But he still plays with the chip on his shoulder that was put there when he went through the recruitment process out of high school.

“There were so many coaches that looked over me,” said Edey. “You could name a program, I can name a coach that looked over me. Tennessee – Rick Barnes is a great coach. But he was in a bunch of our practices, looked over me.

“It’s kind of been the story of my life. People have doubted me, people have looked past me. Can’t do that any more.”

How does a coach look past a 7-foot-4 freak of nature that dominates the defense that was ranked third in college basketball? Because when Edey was young, he played hockey and baseball, and resisted the idea that just because of his size he should play basketball.

He relented by the time he was in high school, beginning his basketball career. And no doubt his abilities in those other sports have helped make him more fluid and more agile on the floor. And he has become one of the best postseason weapons we’ve ever seen in college basketball.

Two men, Bill Walton of UCLA and Ralph Sampson at Virginia, are the only multiple winners of the Naismith College Player of the Year. Edey will likely be joining those two later this month. If he also wins the Most Outstanding Player Award, he would be the first to win both in the same season since Anthony Davis did it in 2012.

Purdue’s Final Four Odds

Heading to Arizona and the Final Four, Purdue’s odds of winning against the field are +205, vs. -265 for the field. They square off against North Carolina State in the semifinals, and Purdue is an early nine-point favorite.

When the season began back in October, Purdue was paying +1380 to win the national championship.

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