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Tennessee’s next opponent has plenty of unique challenges, starting with how the Vols will defend Purdue’s Zach Edey

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Tennessee will showcase one of the nation’s top players in college basketball this season when the Vols face the top player in the nation in recent memory.

Zach Edey is a throw-back, old-school player. While most players, even those that are 7-foot-4 like Edey, like to face the basket, sometimes even at the three-point line, Edey is more old fashioned. He likes to receive the ball on the blocks, lean on a select few post moves and, if all else fails, rebound. Edey’s brand of basketball is a rarity that the Vols will have to prepare for unlike most any other opponent. 

Meanwhile, the Vols depend on the kind of player that is most prevalent nowadays, a swingman who can dribble, shoot from long distance and midrange and slash to the basket. Tennessee’s star, Dalton Knecht, has continued to shine – and evolve – throughout the season.


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Edey’s play in the post tends to open up things on the perimeter where the Boilermakers look to do much of their damage. Guard Lance Jones takes the most three-point attempts for Purdue and converts on 36-percent of them. His Boilermaker brethren, Fletcher Loyer, Mason Gillis and Braden Smith are also known to take their fair share of shots behind the arc.

As for the Vols on offense, Purdue may not know exactly what prepare for on Sunday. Tennessee got to the Sweet 16 with Santiago Vescovi being one of their main pieces this season, even though he’s struggled repeatedly throughout the 2023-24 campaign. Vescovi was ill during the Vols’ preparation and win over Creighton so Tennessee utilized a crew of players to throw different looks at the Bluejays. Purdue could see the same – or just a healthy Vescovi – on Sunday.

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If taken position by position, Tennessee probably has a strong advantage over Purdue. However, the Boilermakers have one of the best college big men in recent memory. That’s the priority for the Vols as they try to achieve a Final Four berth for the first time in school history.

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