Preview: No.10 Wisconsin vs. No.11 Purdue

In a season of rare road wins for No.10 Wisconsin, the Badgers try to use their momentum from their big victory over No.1 Ohio State to get a road win in the rarest of places, against No.11 Purdue in Mackey Arena.

No.10 Wisconsin (19-5, 9-3 Big Ten) vs. No.11 Purdue (20-5, 9-3 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Wednesday, February 16, at 5:30 p.m. Central

Arena – Mackey Arena (14,123)

Television - Big Ten Network (Gus Johnson, Shon Morris & Charrisa Thompson)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Satellite Radio - Sirius 121; XM 141

Series – Purdue Leads 103-64 (PU leads 67-16 in West Lafayette)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 66-59, on Feb. 1, 2011 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 18.1 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 5.6 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 4.0 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 19.1 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Senior Forward, 9.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Wquinton Smith (Senior Guard, 0.4 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (Sophomore Forward, 2.9 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Sophomore Forward, 4.8 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 2.8 ppg)

Purdue Probable Starters

21 D.J. Byrd (Sophomore Guard, 4.9 ppg)

23 Lewis Jackson (Junior Guard, 7.2 ppg)

24 Ryne Smith (Junior Guard, 6.5 ppg)

25 JaJuan Johnson (Senior Forward, 20.7 ppg)

33 E'Twuan Moore (Senior Guard, 17.8 ppg)

Off the Bench

0 Terone Johnson (Freshman Guard, 5.0 ppg)

12 Kelsey Barlow (Sophomore Guard, 5.3 ppg)

32 John Hart (Sophomore Guard, 5.1 ppg)

50 Travis Carroll (Freshman Forward, 1.5 ppg)

Last Time Out

As students rushed the Kohl Center court Saturday in a dizzying display of déjà vu, they managed to do what no Ohio State defender could handle: Taylor was finally stopped.

The Wisconsin point guard finished the game with a surreal stat line, putting up 27 points — on a crazy efficient 13 total shots — to go along with seven assists against one turnover as the Badgers handed No. 1 Ohio State its first loss of the season, 71-67.

But the point and assist totals provide just a shallow glimpse of the virtuoso performance Taylor put on.

With Wisconsin (19-5, 9-3 Big Ten) trailing by 15 with 13 minutes left, and the crowd just begging for a reason to get back in the game, Taylor drilled three jumpers (two threes) on consecutive possessions to raise the noise level to deafening and trim the lead to seven.

After Ohio State (24-1, 11-1) called a timeout to slow Taylor's roll, the junior point guard conducted Wisconsin's first and last fast break of the day, finding Bruesewitz under the basket to force a Buckeyes foul. Bruesewitz knocked down both the free throws, before Taylor scored on another runner and assisted on a Gasser 3-pointer on the next two possessions.

All told, and Taylor conducted a 15-point come back in three and a half minutes of game clock.

"I would like to be able to explain that, but it is hard, even for me and I see him every day," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "Just good decision after good decision."

UW went 12-of-24 from 3-point range, while Ohio State made just 3-of-9. Josh Gasser continued his second-half of the season resurgence with 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc. Bruesewitz chipped in 12 points as well, going 2-for-2 from three and 4 of 5 on the day.

Last Meeting

Leuer and Taylor scored 24 and 15, respectively; Smith got into a minor tussle on the floor and Evans finally found the switch, helping No.19 Wisconsin to a key 13-3 that was vital in registering a 66-59 victory against No.11 Purdue.

The three-minute second-half snapshot of UW's supporting cast from seniors Smith and Nankivil and Evans, a stretch that injected some needed life into a drab atmosphere, was the difference in that second-half run.

Wisconsin (16-5, 6-3 Big Ten), allowing a conference best 58.9 points per conference game, was stuck on the tracks when the second half began with Purdue, averaging a conference best 74.8 points per conference game, making its first nine shots and engineering a 27-12 run to take a seven-point lead, its largest of the game, with 11:47 left.

Naturally, the run was led by Johnson (23 points) and Moore (15), which had led Purdue (18-5, 7-3) to a 61-9 record entering the night when they both reached double figures. Naturally, UW needed other players to kick in production wise when those flip the page. That came from Evans, whose 10 points single-handedly outscored Purdue's bench by seven.

The Kohl Center started to vibrate at the 9:59 mark when Taylor hit Evans for the dunk and really started to rumble after Smith got into a little tussle with Purdue junior Lewis Jackson. Smith was rewarded after Nankivil made his first basket, a three from the top of the key, when he drew a charge by sliding into the path of Moore.

Throw in the fact that the public address announcer made it a point to further rile up the students by announcing class at the university was canceled with Nankivil rattling in a three from the top of the key to give UW a 51-49 advantage, it proved a vital sequence.

Although Johnson answered back with a 3-pointer of his own to give Purdue a 52-51 lead and a D.J. Byrd layup gave the Boilermakers a 59-58 lead with 1:11 remaining, Evans again was vital, hitting a 12-foot jumper with 50 seconds to give UW the lead back and tied up Moore on a drive to the bucket with 21 seconds left, forcing a jump ball and a change of possession in UW's favor.

After scoring 30 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, Wisconsin held Purdue to 10 points in the final 10 minutes.

Series Notes:

Since Bo Ryan arrived in Madison, Purdue leads the series 8-7. The Boilermakers are the only Big Ten team with a winning record against the Badgers in that era.

Nankivil has topped the 20-point mark twice in his career, and both times have come against Purdue. Nankivil had 21 points (5-of-5 from 3-point range) in UW's 64-63 loss to the Boilers on 2/27/09 and tied a UW record with 7 3-pointers and finished with 25 points in a 60-57 loss at Purdue on 1/28/10. In 5 career games vs. Purdue, Nankivil has made 14-of-20 (.700) from 3-point range.

In this season's first match-up, Leuer posted a double-double with a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. Last season, Leuer suffered a fractured left wrist in the first meeting with Purdue. Despite injuring the wrist early in the game, he played 38 minutes and had 4 points and 10 rebounds. He was unable to play in the rematch in West Lafayette.

Taylor has averaged 17.5 points per game in his last three games vs. Purdue, including a then-career high 23 points in UW's 2010 win at the Kohl Center.

Purdue Notes:

The Boilermakers head into the Wisconsin game with a +3.5 rebounding margin in Big Ten action. Purdue has won the battle on the glass in eight of 12 Big Ten contests, with four games seeing the Boilers post a double-digit advantage on the backboard. In 18 Big Ten games last season, Purdue out rebounded its opponent on just eight occasions.

Senior guard E'Twaun Moore enters the Wisconsin game as the second-leading active scorer in the Big Ten, having amassed 1,970 points during his tenure in West Lafayette. Classmate JaJuan Johnson ranks fourth on the list with 1,739 points, making Purdue the only school with two of the top five active scorers in the league.

Johnson has scored in double-figures in 34-consecutive games, the longest streak in the Matt Painter Era and tied for the ninth-longest in Purdue history.

Purdue has won 76 games since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, the fourth-best win total in the nation over that stretch. The Boilers' 76 wins in that timeframe are also the most in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin Notes:

Wisconsin has climbed to No. 10 in both the AP and Coaches polls, the school's highest ranking since the final poll of the 2007-08 season (UW was AP No. 6). UW is also No. 18 in latest official NCAA RPI rankings.

Wisconsin plays great defense (56.7 ppg is 2nd in NCAA), takes care of the ball (7.8 TOs per game is 1st in NCAA), makes free throws (.824 is 1st in NCAA) and is ultra-efficient on offense (1.19 points per possession is tied for 1st in NCAA).

The NCAA leader with a sparkling 4.00 assist-to-TO ratio (116 assists/29 TOs), Taylor is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week after averaging 21.5 ppg and 7.5 apg in UW's two wins last week.

UW defeated the AP No. 1 team in both football and basketball this school year, marking the 7th time a school has accomplished that since 1969-70

Wisconsin has won four straight games, and in three of them, the Badgers have had to erase significant second-half deficits to record the win. UW fought back from 7-point deficits against No. 11 Purdue (2/1) and at Iowa (2/9) and then climbed back from down 15 vs. No. 1 Ohio St. (2/12). That 15-point comeback tied as the 5th-largest second-half deficit overcome in a win in program history.

Prediction

In the 30 minutes following UW's 71-67 win over No. 1 Ohio State, the phrase "Jordan Taylor" was trending worldwide on the social media site Twitter.com. What that means is, Taylor's name was one of the top 10 most discussed topics on Twitter in the entire world.

He'll be a big trend if he can upset Purdue on the road, a place where he has been quite comfortable this season.

In seven true road games, Taylor is averaging a team-best 18 points per game, and shooting 44.6 percent from the floor, second best among UW starters. It probably would take another herculean-type effort like we saw in the second half against Ohio State or some of UW's role players stepping up to the plate to get a road win in what has been an impossible road environment for the Badgers.

After Taylor, Leuer and Nankivil, no other Wisconsin player averages over 4.4 points per game on the road. While that's one thing that has to change, the 3-point shooting has got to stay constant. After trailing by 15 points to the Buckeyes, the Badgers got back in the game with the 3-point shot, making 3 threes over a three-minute stretch and shot 50 percent for the game (12 of 24).

The last time the Badgers won at Mackey Arena (2005), UW made 14 of 22 attempts (63.6 percent), its first six baskets were 3-pointers, and they shot 8-for-10 from behind the arc in the first half compared to just 2-for-15 inside 3-point range. Purdue also didn't have much help from its home crowd that day either, as Mackey Arena was less than half full, thanks in part to the students being on break for the holidays and an ice storm in the area.

With temperatures expected to be in the mid-50s and the rowdy students expected to be there in full force, don't expect the same environment from six years ago, especially with them cheering on a second-place Purdue squad compared to the 4-7 team from 2005.

A lot has to happen for UW to win a share of the Big Ten conference and win or lose, the Badgers will be just fine. Wisconsin has the talent to win this game, but face it, this has been a different team away from the Kohl Center, a team that has yet to win a big game on the road. There are few arenas were 99 times out of 100, I'd pick UW to lose at. This is one of them. Until UW proves me wrong and wins a big game away from campus, I have to stick with the road team in a big game, especially a team as good as Purdue.

Boilermakers by 8.

Worgull's Record: 23-1

Points off Prediction: 159 (6.7 per game)


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