Purdue fans can punch their tickets to Phoenix with the Boilermakers advancing to their first Final Four in over 40 years! Sunday afternoon, the top seed in the Midwest Region matched up with Tennessee, the 2-seed, in an Elite 8 for the ages.

While the supporting pieces played key roles, this game developed into a showdown of superstars on the floor. The Vols would eventually battle foul trouble in the second half while Purdue managed to shake off some rusty shooting to get key buckets late.

In the end, Purdue pushed past the Vols 72-66 in the Regional Final with a Final Four up for grabs. Here are the key takeaways from that game:

The Zach Edey vs. Dalton Knecht show

Early on, it was abundantly clear this would be a showdown focused on the two superstar players. Neither team had an answer for the opposing superstar as the first half was a back-and-forth affair.

At halftime, Zach Edey had 19 points and 10 rebounds, completing his first-half double-double with a 7-for-11 shooting effort. More importantly, he did not record a foul before the break to avoid the foul trouble that bothered him in the regular-season matchup.

For Dalton Knecht, he entered the break with 18 points on 4-for-5 shooting from 3-point range. That scoring ability of Knecht allowed the Vols to keep enough pressure on Purdue with Edey dominating on the inside throughout the game.

In the end, both superstars would eclipse the 30-point threshold in a brilliant duel down the stretch. Though contrasting styles were involved, it was a great reminder of the dominance of Edey and the electrifying season Knecht has compiled.

At one point in the second half, Edey scored 14 straight points for Purdue on his way to a new career-high 40 points. He also finished with 16 rebounds, giving him 2 games of 30+ points and 15+ rebounds this NCAA Tournament.

In addition to his scoring efforts, Edey helped seal the win late with an amazing defensive maneuver. He met Knecht at the rim to deny a layup that would have made the score 69-66 in the final minute of the game.

Knecht would finish the game with 37 points, including 6-for-12 from 3-point range, but this day would belong to Edey and the Boilermakers. Now, Purdue will await the winner of Duke vs. NC State in the national semifinals, and fans can track all the latest odds with Tradition’s BetMGM links.

The turnover situation

Heading into the Elite 8, Matt Painter circled turnovers as the one stat he was monitoring after getting past a gritty Gonzaga squad. According to Painter, the Boilermakers were 26-0 when committing 13 or fewer turnovers.

Any guesses as to how many turnovers Purdue had against Tennessee?

The Boilermakers would hit double figures, but they finished with 10 to avoid the dreaded 14+ turnover margin. Even still, it was a stat that nearly doomed Purdue.

Tennessee delivered 20 points off of Purdue’s turnovers to just 7 points off turnovers for Purdue. Those miscues kept the Vols in the game, but true to form, Painter was able to keep his team focused on limiting the overall number of turnovers.

First-ever Final Four for Matt Painter

In Purdue’s longtime history, the Boilermakers have just 2 Final Four appearance despite developing into one of the most consistent regular-season programs under Painter. Now, Purdue is heading back to the Final Four for the first time since 1980, and it’s the first-ever trip for Painter.

Painter achieves the feat in his 9th NCAA Tournament appearance with Purdue, including 5 trips to the Big Dance as a 3-seed or higher. Everyone is well-aware of some of Painter’s previous trips to March Madness and losses to double-digit seeds, but he has proven he can vanquish some of those demons this time around.