Published November 20, 2014
The Boilermakers are a perfect 4-0 on the season. After posting a pair of home wins over Northern Illinois (96-34) and High Point (67-65), Purdue took care of business in San Juan, navigating the tournament field with wins over both Iona (91-90) and Temple (85-77).
The Crimson Tide have followed a similar path to the title game. Alabama recorded a pair of lopsided wins at home against North Florida (64-44) and Oakland (74-57) and then took out Maryland (62-42) and Wichita State (70-60) in this event.
This marks the eighth all-time meeting in this series. Purdue has won five of the previous seven matchups, including wins in each of the last two seasons.
The Boilermakers are finally at full strength, as All-American candidate Robbie Hummel has finally found his way to the court after a couple of injury- plague campaigns. Hummel has been extremely sharp in the early going, pacing Purdue in scoring at 20.8 ppg. Ryne Smith and Lewis Jackson provide backcourt balance with 14.8 and 12.8 ppg, respectively. Through four games, Purdue is averaging a solid 84.8 ppg, getting it done on .460 shooting from the floor, including .446 from behind the arc. In the semifinal win over Temple on Friday, Jackson and Hummel led the way with a combined 46 points. Jackson finished with a game-high 26 points, while Hummel poured in 20. D.J. Byrd came off the bench to tally 12 points in 17 minutes of work, while Smith finished with 10.
Alabama has gotten the job done with defensive tenacity, limiting foes to just 50.8 ppg on just over 30-percent shooting (.309). The Crimson Tide have also been strong on the boards, outrebounding their first four opponents by almost seven caroms per game (6.8). Offensively, the team is paced by forward Toney Mitchell, who has shot 51.8 percent from the floor, averaging 18.0 ppg. Mitchell is also getting the job done on the glass, grabbing 9.5 rpg. Fellow forward JaMychal Green (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) provides frontcourt depth, while Trevor Releford (11.5 ppg) is the top backcourt threat. Mitchell led the way in the win over Wichita State with 26 points. Green and Releford poured in 15 points apiece, while Green completed a double-double with a team-high 11 rebounds.