(3) Purdue vs. (11) VCU
For the second consecutive season, Purdue lost forward Robbie Hummel to a knee injury but managed to stay relevant nationally thanks, in large part, to the play of seniors E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. While Johnson, the Big Ten Player of the Year, hit just 6-16 field goals in Purdue’s win over St. Peter’s on Friday, he dominated the boards, pulling down 16 rebounds while scoring 16 points, dishing out three assists and protecting the rim with two blocked shots. Moore, meanwhile, led all scorers with 19 points. Defense carried the Boilermakers, however, as St. Peter’s made just 17-58 (.293) field goals and 5-21 (.238) three-point shots. While Purdue will gladly take the win and a chance to play another game, Matt Painter’s team can’t afford to give away possessions (16 turnovers against the Peacocks) as the tournament progresses.
(11)Virginia Commonwealth Rams
While the return of Chris Wright to the Georgetown lineup was grabbed the headlines coming into this game, Virginia Commonwealth reserve guard Brandon Rozzell’s 26 point performance stole the show and VCU upset the Hoyas, 74-56. The senior guard tied a career-high by hitting six three-point shots, helping the Rams, whom many felt weren’t deserving of an at-large bid, knock off sixth-seeded Georgetown. VCU’s defense and long-distance shooting carried them throughout the night as the Rams forced 17 turnovers while allowing Georgetown to shoot just .385 from the field and .192 from behind the arc. The Rams committed just six turnovers and, despite shooting less than 41 percent from the field, made 12-25 (.480) from downtown.
HOOPSWORLD’s Pick: Purdue. The Boilermakers inside-outside duo of Moore and Johnson will be too much for VCU to handle and won’t give the Rams the game like Georgetown did on Friday.