Zach Edey Powers Purdue to First Final Four in Over 30 Years

The end of last season for the Purdue Boilermakers basketball team was as heartbreaking as ever. They became the second team in NCAA history to lose a Round of 64 matchup as a No. 1 seed to a No. 16 seed. They were blindsided by the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights by a score of 63-58, bowing out of the 2023 NCAA Tournament in disgrace.

However, they have more than redeemed themselves so far in 2024. After taking down the Tennessee Volunteers on Sunday in the Elite Eight, Purdue reached its first Final Four since 1980. They did so behind a 40-point performance from star big man Zach Edey, who wouldn’t be denied in helping his team reach this new height.

Edey finished the day with 40 points, 16 rebounds, and one massive block to help seal the win. He has been subject to much criticism throughout his time with Purdue, but he showed just how dominant he can be in the win. Edey shined when the lights were brightest and now has Purdue on the biggest stage, two wins from a championship.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – MARCH 31: Zach Edey #15 and Fletcher Loyer #2 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Little…

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Many around the country didn’t believe in the Boilermakers, in part because of what happened last season. But the guys in the locker room have been determined to prove the doubters wrong all year and their goal of winning a title is starting to feel closer to a reality. ESPN’s Myron Medcalf detailed that Purdue confronted their poor 2023 end all year, helping them grow as a unit.

“But the Boilermakers never ran from that reality. They confronted it throughout the season, knowing they’d never convert the naysayers into believers without a deep run in the NCAA tournament.”

Purdue may have some history on their side as the only other team to lose as a No. 1 seed to a No. 16 seed, ending up winning the title the following year. That would be Virginia in the 2018-2019 season, so the dream is still alive for the Boilermakers. If Edey plays the way he did on Sunday, Purdue will be very difficult to take down, no matter who they face.

His future in basketball may be in question, but nobody can doubt his talent. Some believe he is good because of his height, but Edey is more than that. He is a pure basketball player, one who still has a lot to prove to anyone who doesn’t believe. But both Edey and the Boilermakers are okay with having people not believe in them. In reality, they encourage it and simply let their play on the court do the talking for them.