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Purdue Basketball: FDU Preview



FDU Basic Information

Location – Teaneck, New Jersey

Mascot – Knights

Conference – Northeastern Conference

Coach – Toobin Anderson

Season Results

Record – 20-15

KenPom Ranking – 299

Best Win (Per KenPom) – FDU 97 – (194) St. Joseph’s 80

Power Conference Game – FDU 61 – Pittsburgh 83


FDU Starters

Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Point Guard 2 Demetre Roberts Sr 5’8″ 165 Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Shooting Guard 4 Grant Singleton Sr 5’9″ 163 Sumpter, SC
Small Forward 11 Sean Moore Jr 6’4″ 175 Columbus, OH
Power Forward 1 Joe Munden Jr 6’3″ 188 Harlem, N.Y.
Center 5 Ansley Almonor So 6’6″ 219 Spring Vally, N.Y.


Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Position # Player Class Height Weight Hometown Previous Team
Power Forward 13 Jo’el Emanuel Fr 6’6″ 196 Suffern, N.Y.
Small Forward 3 Heru Bligen Sr 6’2″ 183 Glenn Dale, MD
Shooting Guard 24 Brayden Reynolds Fr 6’1″ 194 Pittsburgh, PA
Center 21 Cameron Tweedy So 6’4″ 222 Waldorf, MD

*(KenPom Ranking)


The Knights live and die with their offense. They have to score to win, because their defense is….bad….terrible….not good. They play at a moderate tempo (110) overall and average 17.3 seconds (131) per possession.

Field Goal / Shooting Percentage

Relatively efficient on offense, especially for a 16 seed, their offense excels at spreading the floor and finding open looks. Their adjusted efficiency of 106.7 (148) is good for an automatic qualifier. They shoot 34.7% (145) from 3 and 51.5% (112), and 75.7% (44) from the line. All respectable marks for an AQ team, in fact, those wouldn’t be bad numbers for a power conference team (I’ve seen far worse this year). In terms of offense, this team isn’t much different from a mid run Big10 or ACC team in terms of efficiency and shooting.


They are surprisingly competitive on the boards, despite having no size. Their 31.1% (94) is astounding. The smallest team in the entire NCAA hits the offensive boards better than Gonzaga, Memphis, Kansas and Indiana (among others). Their guards are fearless and quick to the ball, especially off long rebounds. It’s hard to get a body on them, and their unique 5 out style often times makes rebounding less about height and more about quickness.

Turnovers / Blocks

FDU essentially plays nothing but guards and wings. Having a squad full of ball handlers and decision makers helps them keep their turnovers down. Their 16.5%(64th) turnover rate is better than Purdue, Kansas, Alabama, and Texas’s turnover rate. Their 8.1% (52) steal rate is significantly better than their Non-Steal Turnover% of 8.4 (125) (in terms of national ranking). They’re more prone to throwing the ball out of bounds, committing offensive fouls, and shot clock violations, than they are committing live ball turnovers.

Their guards are fearless and won’t hesitate to drive the ball against bigger defenders. Subsequently, they get 9.8% (271) of their shots blocked. From the few games I’ve reviewed, it doesn’t seem to bother them. They’ve got a couple New York City ballers at guard. They know they’re going to get a few blocked, but that doesn’t keep them attacking


FDU Leaders (PPG)

# Player PPG
# Player PPG
2 Demetre Roberts 16.7
4 Grant Singleton 14.3
5 Ansley Almonor 13.9
1 Joe Munden, Jr. 10.4
3 Heru Bligen 7.8

The Knights have a balanced attack. Several players are capable of stepping up and leading the team in scoring. Against Texas Southern, Almonor got hot from deep, hit 5-8 from 3, and put up a team leading 23 points.

In terms of outside shooting, Almonor and Singleton both hit at 38% clip. In theory Almonor is their center. Zach guarding their best outside shooter gives me heartburn, despite my ppi. I expect Matt to try and hide Zach against Munden or Moore. I expect FDU to try and hunt out Zach and get him matched up against Almonor. This will be an interesting chess match between Coach Anderson and Coach Painter.

FDU has no choice, they have to play small because they don’t have any bigs. Purdue, in theory, could also go small, but that’s not what they do. Coach Painter doesn’t tend to stray from his strengths, and I don’t see a scenario where Matt counters FDU’s lineup by pulling the National Player of the Year. I’m not sure what happens if (when?) Zach struggles to guard on the perimeter and FDU gets hot from deep.

This game has more intrigue than your normal 16 vs 1 match-up in terms of strategy.

Offensive Style

5 Out

I went back and looked at the Pitt game. The Panthers don’t have Purdue size, but FDU was still significantly smaller (as they are in every game). They ran a good bit of 5 Out (in this case, they’re not technically all the way out, but everything is above the free throw line). I expect this to be their primary set tonight. They want to pull Zach out of the lane and make him guard on the perimeter. The only way they beat Purdue is if they get Zach in early foul trouble. I expect his man (Almonor if FDU has their way) to try and drive him early and see if they can catch him reaching, or look to pull up deep and try to catch Zach closing late.

They also run a horizontal weave that forces teams to communicate. They love to slip guys out to the corner or to the basket out of this set. Purdue must decide if they want to switch everything 1-5 or if they want to try and fight through screens to keep Zach off the ball. This will be a challenging test for the big man and his surrounding cast. In terms of style, FDU plays in a way that could bother the Boilermakers.

5 Out Offensive Rebounding

I mentioned above that they’re a surprisingly good offensive rebounding team. In 5 Out, they gave Pitt issues with their quickness. A quick cut the rim as a shot goes up gets FDU in great position because the lane is wide open. Again, this is rebounding via quickness instead of size and strength.

Can’t ask for better rebounding position than this (blue circle), but keep in mind, his job isn’t pulling down the board, it’s tapping the ball out to let a secondary rebounder trailing the play (purple circle) pull down the board against guards.

The FDU player goes up with one hand. His goal is to tap the ball back so the secondary rebounder crashing the boards can go up and grab it on the second jump. The tap out means FDU is fighting other perimeter players for the rebound instead of centers and forwards.

There you go. The initial FDU rebounder taps the ball back. Notice Pitt’s 2 best rebounders stuck to the floor in the blue circle because they jumped with the first guy. Now the trailer isn’t blocked out and is jumping against guards. He pulls down the board and flips it in for a quick 2.

This worries me a little. If they can keep Zach off the boards while pulling him out and then beating him to inside position with quickness, Purdue’s guards will have to make sure to check out guys on the perimeter. It could also bait Edey into picking up fouls on offensive rebound attempts. Luckily for the Boilermakers, Brandon Newman and Braden Smith are excellent rebounders. They’ll need to be on their games today. The possession isn’t over against FDU until the ball is safely in your hands and headed the other direction.

Offense Summary

FDU will spread Purdue out and challenge Zach to defend on the perimeter. They want to make Purdue’s big men play like guards, and they want to make Purdue’s guards rebound like forwards and centers.

In terms of offense, this is one of the better 16 seeds you’re going to find. They play a unique style that takes a minute to figure out. In their only game against a power conference opponent, they hung with Pitt in the first half, heading into the locker room down 7, 35-27. The Panthers figured it out in the second half, and pulled away with a big run coming out of halftime.

Don’t be upset if something similar happens tonight with Purdue. I don’t think their offense can challenge Purdue for 40 minutes, but they could keep it close early and put some 2nd half game pressure on the Boilermakers.

FDU on Defense


Their average defensive possession length of 17 seconds (91) is somewhat a product of their opponents, many of whom are also undersized and play an up-tempo game. It’s also a product of their aggressive style. They press, jump passing lanes and bring perimeter traps in the front and back court. While that creates turnovers, it also creates wide open attempts from their opponents. They’re often caught out of position and give up wide open shots all over the court if their press is broken.

Field Goal / Shooting Percentage

FDU’s offensive profile looks nothing like a 16th seed. Their defense looks exactly like a 16th seed. Their adjusted efficiency of 117.4 is 359th in the nation, edging out IUPUI, VMI, and Hartford for worst in the nation. Opponents shoot 36.2% (295) from 3 and 56.1% from 2 (353).

It’s simple, their size is a hindrance on defense. Coach Anderson has a unique roster that is tough to guard. In exchange, he also built a roster that is putrid on defense. It appears to have worked out well for him so far, but he’s never faced a team as big and brutally efficient as the Boilermakers before.


Even on the defensive glass, where you think they would struggle, they’re not terrible. They give up offensive rebounds on 28.8% (199) of opponents shots. That’s better than Miami, Kansas State, Texas and Marquette (among others). These guys are short, but swarm the glass and are adept at tipping, deflecting, and generally causing mayhem when the ball comes off the rim. Much like on the offensive glass, they want to make rebounding a quickness game instead of a height and strength game.

Turnovers / Blocks

This is the key stat of the game. FDU is not a good defensive team, but they’re one of the better teams in the nation at turning teams over. They force turnovers on 21.4% (35) of their opponents offensive possessions. Their 10.6%(68th) steal percentage is good, but their 10.7%(33) non-steal turnover percentage is in the top quarter of teams in the nation.

They swarm ball handlers, and cause a number of passes to end up in the first row. If you’re not strong with the ball they will take it from you, and if you panic when double teamed, they will force you into bad passes.

This will be a test for Purdue. If they’re solid with the ball on offense, there is no way forward for FDU, but Purdue’s guards haven’t exactly been solid with the ball this season. The only way they can stop Zach is to stop the ball from getting into the post. I expect them to pressure perimeter players, front the post and hope for tips and deflections. It will end in multiple Edey dunks, but if he gets it in the post, it’s close to guaranteed 2 anyway.

For FDU to pull the upset, their magic number is 20 turnovers. That’s a huge ask, but they’re a 16 seed playing the Big10 regular season and tournament champs. The road to victory is the width of hair anyway.

They’re not a good shot blocking team. They have no rim defenders or post players. Any blocks they get come on contested guard vs guard layups and backside jump shot blocks.

Defensive Style

Half Court

Against Pitt, they played straight man-to-man. I expect the same against Purdue. Pitt doesn’t have much of a post presence but 6’9”, 265 pound John Hugley put up a season high 17 points, despite the Knights best effort to keep the ball out of his hands.

Post D

Pitt’s looking to enter the ball into the post. FDU knows if the ball gets down low, they’re cooked. The only way to stop a post score is to keep it from getting in the post. In hopes to dissuade the entry pass they sandwich the post player. They front the post with the primary defender and bring a weak side defender to try and prevent the lob.

Once they have the post fronted, they amp up the ball pressure on the player trying to enter the ball. On this play, they keep Pitt from entering the post, but give up a wide open free throw line jumper. That’s a trade they will gladly made against Purdue.

Purdue has tall wings in Morton, Loyer, and Newman. Mason Gillis can also pop out and feed the post as well. This should help negate some of the ball pressure, but they’ll need to pass with precision because FDU has nothing to lose. They will sell out for a steal because if Zach gets it in the post, it’s all over anyway. A dunk counts the same as a 3 foot hook shot. They’d rater sell out for the steal and eat a dunk than get hook shotted to death.


FDU presses after every made basket. They put a man on the ball (yellow circle) and play man on the two wings (blue circle, green circle). Notice the defender in the blue circle, he’s inviting the pass into the corner. His jog is keep the ball out of the middle and force/invite it into the corner.

Once they get the ball into the corner, they use the on-ball defender (yellow circle) to trap the wing in the corner along the baseline.

It’s a simple concept. We ran a similar trapping press on my 7th grade championship team, but just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s not effective.

It’s a bit of a guessing game for the wing trapped in the corner. The simple pass is to return the ball to the inbound passer stepping onto the court. FDU doesn’t mind if the ball goes backwards against their press.

On occasion they will try and pick the pass to the inbounder off, using the opposite side wing to jump in front, leaving the opposite side wing open. Purdue is prone to making sloppy auto passes against the press without looking. If that happens, FDU will punish them. The guards have to be strong against the trap, use their pivot foot, keep the ball high, and see the court before making the pass.

Press 2

One way to beat the first trap is to get the ball in quickly before FDU can set. Merrimack takes the ball out of the net and gets it in before FDU gets their wings in position. That doesn’t mean FDU isn’t going to try and trap it just means they’re going to try and trap further down the court.

This looks like a standard man press teams use against Purdue to slow the ball down and break Purdue’s rhythm, but it’s not.

The wing defender (green circle), shepherds the guard into the middle of the court. The secondary defender (yellow circle) abandons his man and jumps the ball handler, setting the trap.

They’ve got the guard right where they want him. He’s facing the wrong direction. He can’t advance the ball forward from this position. The player the defender in the yellow circle abandoned isn’t paying attention and continues down the court. He can’t help release the pressure. He needs to stop and give the ball handler an option to pass the ball horizontally. He’s not in a position to receive the ball at the angle.

Purdue can’t shut off and assume they’ve got a free pass up the court, because FDU will trap whenever the opportunity presents, even if that means leaving themselves exposed on the back end of the defense. They’ll pull the same trapping scheme at half court as well, using the center court line like they use the baseline in their initial press. Braden Smith has to keep his head up and be aware of his surroundings. FDU plans on putting him to the test tonight.

They’re a bad defensive team, they know they’re a bad defensive team, they’re happy to sell out for a turnover.

Needless to say, breaking the press hasn’t been a strength for Purdue this season. FDU needs that trend to continue if they have any chance to pull the monumental upset.


This is a 1 vs 16 match-up but FDU isn’t your typical 16 seed. They play an awkward style on both sides of the court. Their offense, in particular, doesn’t look like the offense of a 16 seed. Purdue needs to come out focused because FDU makes you pay attention on both sides of the court.

If you turn off on defense, they’ll sneak a cutter to the bucket for and easy layup, or pick off a defender with a screen and find an open 3. If you turn off on offense, they’ll sell out for a steal with their traps.

I would have much preferred Texas Southern and their more conventional style, but this could be a good warm-up for Purdue. They’re going to see the press throughout the tournament. FDU doesn’t have enough to beat Purdue, but they could push them for a half and make things uncomfortable.

If Purdue doesn’t show up and give FDU the respect they deserve, they could find themselves in a similar position as Houston found itself in last night against Northern Kentucky. That said, Matt Painter’s too good of a coach and Purdue’s too focused and experienced to overlook FDU. They’ve felt the sting of the upset last season when an undermanned St. Peters knocked them off.

That won’t happen this year.



Purdue – 87

FDU – 64

Confidence – 98%


Purdue – 101

FDU – 70

This is a different Purdue team. They’re locked in and ready to roll. FDU might keep it somewhat close early, but the Boilermakers will eviscerate their defense. FDU won’t be able to keep up with their offense, and as the lead builds, this game will turn into an avalanche midway through the second half.

Coach Anderson wants Purdue, and he’s about to get all the Purdue he can stomach.

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