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Matthew Morris Matthew Morris BVM Sports Journalist
Brian Butch believes Zach Edey is national player of the year

Brian Butch believes Zach Edey is national player of the year

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (BVM) –  Brian Butch joined BVM Sports’ Triple Threat to talk Big Ten basketball as conference play reaches the halfway mark. The Big Ten is packed with talented teams and getting a win each night has been a battle, but one team has stood above the rest. Purdue has been that team since the start of the season and it’s in part due to its star center Zach Edey. 

“All we know is Purdue is really good, that’s all we know,” Butch said about the Big Ten conference. 

The Boilermakers have been at the top of the conference since the season began and it looks like that will continue into March. The No. 1 team in the nation has played in some tight games against conference rivals but has prevailed thanks to Edey and the team that has been built around him. 

“They’ve got Zach Edey,” Butch said. “He’s the best player in the Big 10 but he’s also the national player of the year. Sunday night he had a bad game, he had 25 (points) and 17 (rebounds) still. That’s a bad night for Zach Edey.”

The 7-foot-4 center leads the Big Ten in scoring and rebounds. He anchors Purdue’s defense and opens up the offense by forcing teams to converge on him in the paint. 

“They’ve added enough shooting around that it’s very tough to guard,” Butch said. “I think Matt (Painter) does a great job of putting all those guys in situations to have success.” 

Guard Braden Smith is a perfect example of that as he has been shooting over 40% from three this season. The shooters around Edey create tough matchups for defenses and Edey alone is good enough reason to expect Purdue to make a deep tournament run, but Butch thinks the Boilermakers’ guards will be the real difference.

Zach Edey Zach Edey national player of the year Brian Butch Purdue Final Four
Purdue Boilermakers guard Fletcher Loyer (2) shoots against the Penn State Nittany Lions. (Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports)

“I think Purdue has the ability to do that (make the Final Four) because of its guard play,” Butch said. 

However, Butch does point out that the guard play has primarily come from freshmen like Smith and Fletcher Loyer. The freshmen have stepped up in big moments so far but the lack of experience in March Madness could spell trouble for a Boilermaker run. 

“Can they handle that moment? So far they have handled that moment,” Butch said. 

As always, health, seeding and matchups play a huge part in any team’s success in March Madness but Purdue looks like it could be Final Four bound and have the national player of the year in Edey. 

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