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Zach Edey of the Purdue Boilermakers has the ball knocked away as we look at the best Wooden Award odds
Zach Edey of the Purdue Boilermakers has the ball knocked away by Charlie Daniels of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images via AFP.

The story of this year's NCAA Tournament has been the mighty Peacocks out of Saint Peter's, advancing to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed after upsetting two legitimate programs from the Bluegrass State over the weekend. Their next task will be a juggernaut out of the Big Ten that has no intention of taking their unlikely foe lightly. Check out our Saint Peter's-Purdue picks.

I'm just going to say it. Purdue lucked out here, avoiding Kentucky in what would have been a colossal matchup between two of the best teams in college basketball this year for the right to advance to the Elite Eight. Instead, Purdue gets the plucky Peacocks, who blitzed Kentucky for one of the most improbable upsets in NCAA Tournament history.

How much will Saint Peter's have left in the tank when it takes on another tremendous basketball team in its Sweet 16 game this weekend?

Here are my picks and predictions for Friday's college basketball matchup between Saint Peter's and Purdue (odds via BetMGM; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Saint Peter's vs Purdue Matchup Info

Date/Time: Friday, March 25, 7:09 p.m. ETTV: CBSLocation: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

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Saint Peter's vs Purdue Odds

Interestingly enough, the line on this game hasn't really changed since it opened at Purdue -12.5. For a game with such a disparity, you'd think Vegas would have required some adjustments after this initial line, but that has not been the case to this point. The public loves a good underdog story, so it's not surprising to see 66% of tickets on the Peacocks. The handle is split more evenly, with Purdue seeing 51% of the money overall. Remarkably, Saint Peter's has been the second-best team against the spread in the nation this season, at 22-9 ATS. Purdue has gone a more modest 15-20-1 ATS on the campaign.

The total opened at 136 and has decreased to 135 in some spots. BetMGM has it currently at 135.5. Purdue games have gone 19-17 toward the Over this season, while Saint Peter's has been much more profitable for Under bettors on the year, at only 13-18 toward the Over to this point.

Saint Peter's vs Purdue Picks

Purdue -12.5 (-110) ?????Under 135.5 (-110) ????

SEE ALSO: March Madness Betting Guide

Saint Peter's vs Purdue Predictions

Purdue -12.5 (-110)

You might consider me to be Captain Buzzkill for this one, but I'm calling it now, the "Strut of Destiny" goes out with a whimper against Purdue on Friday. Saint Peter's has been the talk of the sport for several days following their improbable wins over Kentucky and Murray State during the opening weekend of the tournament, but the time off to think about the monumental nature of their victories is not going to end up doing Saint Peter's any favors.

What's interesting about the two previous No. 15 seeds that advanced to the Sweet 16 is the fact that both teams lost only by single digits in that round. Oral Roberts nearly defeated Arkansas last year, falling 72-70. For my money, though, Saint Peter's won’t have the same level of fortune up against a Purdue team that is an absolute wagon offensively.

The Boilermakers have the No. 2 adjusted offensive efficiency in the entire country. Even with a metric ton of pixie dust magic for the Peacocks, I just don't see any way the No. 226 team in adjusted offensive efficiency keeps things remotely close against a Purdue team that will know better than to ease up on these giant slayers for even a moment. Saint Peter's came into this tournament with the third-worst offense in the entire field of 68. Winning with gritty defense has been effective to this point. Purdue is on an entirely different level offensively, and the Boilermakers won't slip up the way Kentucky did in the opening game.

Saint Peter's has been one of the best teams in the nation this season at covering the spread. I don't see it happening again on this stage against a far superior opponent who will be acutely aware of what Saint Peter's is trying to do. The days of the Peacocks taking blue bloods by surprise are, unfortunately for the underdog, over as of Friday night.

SEE ALSO: North Carolina vs UCLA Picks

Under 135.5 (-110)

While I'm supremely confident that Purdue will game plan for the Peacocks as though it's preparing to face the '96 Chicago Bulls, it would be foolish to suggest that Saint Peter's will have no success whatsoever in its ability to rely upon the elements of its game that got the Peacocks to this historic place. The Peacocks are going to slow the tempo and force Purdue to grind out quality possessions.

To be clear, it's going to come in a losing effort, but I do anticipate Saint Peter's holding its own for a good stretch of this game. The Peacocks are not as talented as one of the Big Ten's top programs, but they've shown enough to this stage to prove that they're not going to be rattled by the moment. What makes Saint Peter's effective is its No. 28 adjusted defensive efficiency paired with the No. 240 adjusted tempo in the nation. The Peacocks will attempt to shorten this game to hang around in it for as long as possible. That's to the benefit of the Under, as is my belief that Saint Peter's simply won't be able to make enough of a mark offensively to cover this spread.

The Peacocks' explosion for 85 points including the overtime period against Kentucky won't happen again. I don't see them reaching the 70 points they earned against Murray State, either. The team that won the MAAC Tournament with 60 points in the conference tournament final likely ends up at a similar number on Friday, falling to Purdue by a score that appropriately displays the degree to which Saint Peter's would be overmatched against some of these elite programs over a larger sample of games. Purdue lands in the low-to-mid 70s, with the game narrowly finishing Under the total at BetMGM.

Where to Bet Saint Peter's-Purdue Picks

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Saint Peter's-Purdue picks made 3/22/2022 at 10:59 p.m. ET.