DJ Burns Believes He’ll Give Zach Edey Problems in NC State–Purdue Final Four Clash

North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. speaks to the media.
North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. speaks to the media. / Michael Chow-Arizona Republic

The Final Four matchup between NC State and Purdue is billed to be a battle down low.

Zach Edey, the Boilermakers' 7' 4" center, will be tasked with stopping rising Wolfpack star DJ Burns Jr., the 6' 9", 275-pound big man who has become a household name when guiding NC State to nine straight wins and a national semifinal appearance.

Will Burns present problems for Edey on Saturday?

"Yeah, for sure," Burns told reporters Thursday, via John Fanta. "He hasn't had anybody put scoring pressure on him as much as I will.

"Well, maybe he did, but not under a stage like this."

Burns has been on a tear in the NCAA tournament, averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 rebounds across four games. He scored a season-high 29 points on 13-of-19 shooting in NC State's win over Duke in the Elite Eight.

Edey, who recently became the first player to win back-to-back AP Player of the Year awards since Ralph Sampson from 1981 to '83, has been on a heater as well. Over four NCAA tournament games, Edey is averaging 30.0 points, 16.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest.

Edey and Burns will collide at 6:09 p.m. ET Saturday when the Final Four matchup between Purdue and NC State tips off from State Farm Stadium.

Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.