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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils look to upset No. 18 Purdue in Jimmy V Classic

The tough schedule continues for Arizona State as it travels to the Big Apple to face the No. 18 Purdue Boilermakers.

NCAA Basketball: UNLV at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils (5-3) will travel to New York City to take on the No. 18 Purdue Boilermakers (6-2) in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on ESPN.

The Maroon and Gold are coming off of an all-around impressive performance and victory over UNLV Saturday night highlighted by ASU making 18 3-point field goals and holding the Runnin’ Rebels to just 73 total points.

The Boilermakers are coming off of a 90-56 route of Morehead State on Saturday, and will look to keep their momentum going on a big stage at The Garden. Matt Painter’s program has been heavily tested thus far, losing to two top-10 teams in Villanova and Louisville already this year.

These are two teams built very differently, and it should make for an interesting game Tuesday night.

What To Watch For: Purdue

Like nearly every team from West Lafayette in the past decade, this Boilermaker team is massive.

The forward position Purdue is loaded with size in 6-foot-5 250 pound Caleb Swanigan and 6-foot-8, 225-pound Vince Edwards. If this didn’t provide enough of a matchup advantage for the Boilermakers, their front court is anchored by 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas.

While the Boilermakers are a balanced team on offense, averaging 20 assists per game and shooting on average 43 percent from beyond the arc, they should look to bully the Sun Devils down low, whose biggest body remains four inches smaller and 30 pounds lighter than Haas in freshman forward Jethro Tshisumpa.

Purdue will no doubt attack the size disadvantage down low from the tip Tuesday night, and if the Sun Devils get in early foul trouble this one could get out of hand quickly.

What to Watch For: ASU

The Sun Devils tied a school record for most 3-point field goals made in a game against UNLV, and they will need to carry that momentum from beyond the arc to The Garden in a game where they will be completely outmatched.

ASU’s offense has come alive in recent games as junior Tra Holder has anchored an offense rife with scoring weapons at the guard position in junior Shannon Evans II and senior Torian Graham. Forward Obinna Oleka has been a force on the boards averaging 10 rebounds a game, and may be the Sun Devils’ best chance to crash the offesnive glass against the Boilermakers.

Elsewhere on the Sun Devils, freshman guard and ESPN Top-50 recruit Sam Cunliffe has finally started to adjust to the college game and produce offensively, averaging 11 points per game and is second-best on the team averaging five boards per contest.

Perhaps most importantly, however, the Devils looked solid defensively against UNLV, constantly putting the guards under pressure and making it difficult for the Rebels’ bigs in the post. Hurley will have to get his team to continue this level of play if ASU wants to pull the upset.

Kets to victory:

  1. Find open looks on the perimeter

The Sun Devils really don’t have a change attacking the rim down low, so the majority of their points are going to have to come off perimeter shooting. As we saw against UNLV, ASU clearly doesn’t have a problem taking threes, but those shots won’t always fall like they did against the Rebels.

2. Keep Purdue out of the paint

Don’t be surprised if Hurley tries to press the Boilermaker guards as soon as they step foot in ASU’s half. Haas, Edwards and Swanigan should have no problem putting up points, but they will if the Purdue guards are uncomfortable and commit turnovers, something they did at an alarming rate against Morehead State on Saturday.

Prediction: Arizona State - 76, Purdue - 92