April 15, 2024

Men’s NCAA Tournament 2024: Sunday’s Elite Eight Winners and Losers | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Purdue's Zach Edey

Purdue’s Zach EdeyAaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Over the past few years, the various National Player of the Year trophy ceremonies have been a little…awkward.

Last year’s Wooden Award winner, Zach Edey, played for a No. 1 seed that was unceremoniously bounced by No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson.

The year before that, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe had to make his rounds accepting all of that hardware after his team’s first-round loss at the hands of No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s.

In 2021, Luka Garza’s Iowa Hawkeyes did at least survive the opening round, but got blown out in a second-round loss to Oregon.

Then, of course, in 2020, Obi Toppin’s award ceremonies were all conducted over Zoom a few weeks after the world shut down.

You have to go back to 2018 and Jalen Brunson to find the last time the NPOY was already going to be at the Final Four on account of his ability to carry his team that far into the Dance.

But that drought is over after Edey’s unreal individual effort in Purdue’s 72-66 victory over Tennessee.

By halftime, Edey already had his standard double-double, going for 19 points and 10 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. And he was just getting warmed up, ending up with a rarely seen Elite Eight 40-burger and 16 rebounds.

Tennessee joined a long list of teams that simply had no answer for the 7’4″ machine. It was clear in a hurry that Jonas Aidoo was completely overmatched, which resulted in him barely playing and not scoring a single point. The Volunteers tried Tobe Awaka and J.P. Estrella. They threw Jahmai Mashack or Josiah-Jordan James at Edey if he put the ball on the ground.

None if it really mattered, though, as the Boilermakers just kept feeding the big man like never before. (Why, oh why, didn’t they do that against FDU last year?) He had 21 field-goal attempts and 22 free-throw attempts, drawing around 15 fouls en route to a career high in points. And now, after he collects all of his awards for the second consecutive year, this time he’ll get to go out there and play at least one more game.