Florida State shoots for a lick of success vs. No. 5 Purdue
Following an incredibly successful performance at the Phil Knight Legacy tournament, Purdue skyrocketed in the latest AP poll.
The Boilermakers vaulted 19 spots up to No. 5 on Monday as they prepare to face Florida State on Wednesday night in Tallahassee, Fla., as part of the Atlantic Coast Conference/Big Ten Challenge.
That's what happens when you have a three-win week as Purdue just did, beating top-10 powerhouses Gonzaga and Duke en route to capturing the tournament championship in Portland, Ore.
And the Boilermakers (6-0), who received eight first-place votes, didn't just beat both teams, they dominated. Purdue won by a combined 37 points and was overpowering during several stretches at both ends of the floor.
"It's great. We have unbelievable respect for both of those programs," Purdue guard Ethan Morton said. "Those are two of the best in the country, and for us to come in here and play like we know how to play and trust we don't have to do anything different -- just be ourselves -- I thought that was important for us."
Purdue also beat West Virginia by 12 to begin its march to the tournament title.
Zach Edey averaged 22.7 points and 10.3 rebounds over the three games and earned tournament MVP honors. Edey and Morton were each named to the all-tournament team.
Morton made his impact on defense and as a distributor, averaging 6.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He finished the tournament with a 19-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Boilermakers did something similar a year ago on Thanksgiving week, winning the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament with victories over North Carolina and Villanova that eventually vaulted them to No. 1 in the country.
Florida State (1-7) would love nothing more than to pull off a major shocker against Purdue that could ignite what has been a miserable season so far.
The Seminoles, a Sweet Sixteen team two years ago, have a roster that has been ravaged by injuries since last year. Florida State missed the 2022 NCAA Tournament and is off to its worst start in more than 60 years.
Last week, Florida State turned in an 0-3 performance at the ESPN Events Invitational, losing to Siena, Stanford and Nebraska over four days in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Seminoles were outscored by a combined 44 points in those contests.
The quartet of Caleb Mills, Cam'Ron Fletcher, Darin Green Jr. and Matthew Cleveland lead Florida State, with each averaging 11.4 points or better.
However, against the Cornhuskers, who were picked to finish last in the Big Ten, the Seminoles committed 19 turnovers and shot 3-for-21 from 3-point range with many of those not being quality scoring opportunities. In their loss to Stanford, the Seminoles gave up 16 offensive rebounds and were outrebounded 44-26.
Major relief isn't on the way anytime soon, as highly acclaimed freshman Baba Miller remains suspended for eight more games.
"With the new additions of guys we have back healthy, we need for a lot of people to play, come in and get in a rhythm," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said following the loss to Siena. "Hopefully before too long we can be back in sync."
--Field Level Media