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Purdue vs. Alabama: Two Quad 1 foes clash north of the border

The Boilermakers and Crimson Tide will head north of the border for a Saturday afternoon showdown in Toronto.

Purdue v Northwestern Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The 2023 Discount Tire Hall of Fame Series will tip off from the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto this afternoon as the No. 4 Purdue Boilermakers will meet the Alabama Crimson Tide. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m. ET and the game will air on Fox. Both teams are still maneuvering their way through their early-season schedules and a Quad 1 victory here would be a tremendous resume boost moving forward.

Purdue (8-1, 1-1 Big Ten) returns to non-conference play after splitting its first two Big Ten games in the past week. The Boilermakers were, of course, clipped by Northwestern in a 92-88 overtime loss last Friday, but showed great resiliency by burying Iowa in an 87-68 blowout on Monday. That was a game that they never trailed for a second and got their lead up to 35 at one point. Zach Edey finished the night with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks.

The theme of Purdue’s season is redemption after last year’s first-round embarrassment, and that Iowa victory is exactly how you would want to see it respond after a disappointing loss. The Boilermakers need to continue stacking quality wins to build confidence and today’s Alabama game presents another opportunity to do just that.

Alabama (6-2) was also able to respond well to a setback in the past week, following up a loss to Clemson with an 89-65 victory over Arkansas State on Monday. The Crimson Tide’s dominance came through the defensive side of the floor, where it held the Red Wolves to just 33.8% shooting and scored 27 of their points off turnovers.

Alabama is a team that has taken a step back from last year, where it spent multiple weeks as the No. 1 ranked team in the country. While playing well, the Crimson Tide appear to be in a tier below the nation’s elite, and that’s been born out by them losing to the only top 30 KenPom team’s they’ve face so far in Ohio State and Clemson. The result from today’s game could be an indicator if Nate Oats’ squad can, in fact, stand toe-to-toe with the top of the pack, or if there is a ceiling on what they can accomplish.

Today’s battle should be a barnburner as per KenPom, these are two of the top five most efficient offenses in the entire country. However, Purdue has a distinct advantage on the defensive side of the floor with it being ranked 8th in defensive adjusted efficiency to Alabama’s 70th ranking. The Boilermakers cut off your ability to get hot from downtown and force you to play in a phone booth, evidenced by them holding opponents to just 26.9% shooting from three. That should present a tough challenge for a Crimson Tide team that is one of the nation’s best teams from beyond the arc.

Purdue vs. Alabama Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Purdue -6
Total: 160.5
Moneyline: Purdue -258, Alabama +210

Pick: Purdue -6