Tennessee basketball got a matchup with a familiar counterpart in the Maui Invitational.
The No. 8 Vols face No. 2 Purdue (4-0) on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Honolulu. Tennessee (4-0) advanced to the semifinals with a 73-56 win against Syracuse in the opener Monday. Purdue topped No. 10 Gonzaga 73-63 in the second game.
Here is what to know about the matchup:
Josiah-Jordan James is hitting his mark
Josiah-Jordan James has found a role and is doing it perfectly for Tennessee in his fifth season. The senior guard posted a 15-point, 12-rebound performance against Syracuse, but it was hardly his first stellar outing.
James has at least eight points and six rebounds in each of UT’s first four games. He’s also hitting 3-pointers at a great rate (60%) this season. He was 4-for-5 on 3-pointers against Tennessee Tech in the season opener.
“Josiah was terrific today, rebounding,” Vols coach Rick Barnes said.
Zach Edey is an unstoppable force for Purdue
Purdue’s Zach Edey is back after sweeping national player of the year awards as a junior. The 7-foot-4, 300-pounder is doing the same things for the Boilermakers this season.
He has three double-doubles this season, including against Gonzaga with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Edey averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists last season. He shot 60.7%.
Tennessee has recent history with Purdue
Under Barnes, Tennessee is facing Purdue for the third time and the second time in a holiday tournament.
The Vols beat the Boilermakers 78-75 in their first game in the 2017 Battle 4 Atlantis. UT lost to them in the Sweet 16 in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, 99-94 in overtime in Louisville, Kentucky.
UT is 2-3 in its history against Purdue. It won the first matchup on Dec. 6, 1980, in Knoxville in the first game of a home-and-home series.
“Matt Painter, he’s a big-time coach,” Barnes said. “Obviously, got a great basketball player and Edey’s development is really impressive.”
Purdue 72, Tennessee 69: Jonas Aidoo is playing terrific and the Edey matchup will be his. Whether Tobe Awaka plays and how well he plays after injuring his right ankle against Syracuse is of massive importance for the Vols. They have the edge at guard. Purdue has the edge inside, especially because of Awaka’s injury.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it