Three-Point Shot: Purdue

Before No.9 Wisconsin takes on Purdue at the Kohl Center Wednesday evening, Badger Nation looks at the three burning questions we're looking to have answered.

Wisconsin and Purdue enter the contest on Wednesday on opposite spectrums. While the Badgers are currently on a seven game winning streak, Purdue is looking at trying to snap its losing skid of four games, which include games home against Michigan and at Iowa where the Boilermakers had prime chances to pull the upset before faltering in crunch time down the stretch.

The only Big Ten team without a win over a Top 25 team this season, Purdue led by as many as 19 points in the first half against Michigan before ultimately losing on a buzzer beater in overtime.

Wisconsin would like nothing more than to extend its winning streak while sending the seniors out on top, but the Boilers would love to play spoiler like they did a year ago on Wisconsin's senior night.

In this Badger Nation feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin to have success against Purdue.

Lay up: Can Wisconsin avoid the same mistakes they did against Penn State?

Prior to playing Penn State, Wisconsin had been doing a much better job of protecting the paint, which plagued the Badgers during their struggles in January. Against Penn State, D.J. Newbill and the rest of Nittany Lions were able to take advantage of the Badgers being unable to fully protect the rim by scoring 50 points in the lane.

But how does Wisconsin fix it for the game against Purdue, who has the ability to pose the same problems? Josh Gasser will need to try and do a better job on the defensive side if assigned to Terone Johnson, who leads Purdue in scoring with 12.1 points a game. Gasser did a good job in the first meeting in holding Johnson to only 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting. If Gasser can consistently stay in front of Johnson and be able to limit any dribble penetration, Johnson will have to try and find other ways to have success scoring.

Besides limiting the dribble penetration, Gasser or Traevon Jackson are going to have to try and hedge through screens to make sure players can't get a shot off without a hand in their face. But like Tim Frazier and Newbill, if the defense can force Johnson to settle for threes, then that's a successful possession since Johnson is only hitting 36 percent from three.

Mid-range jumper: Can Wisconsin exploit Purdue's defense?

Giving up 71.1 points per game, second worst in the Big Ten, Purdue's defense has really struggled on its four game losing streak, giving up 82.5 points a game. In the first half alone at Iowa Sunday, Purdue allowed the Hawkeyes to score 50 points on 54.5 percent shooting.

Part of the reason for that was Purdue's inability to protect the paint, as Iowa scored 26 of its 32 points in the paint in the first half. With Frank Kaminsky struggling against Penn State to get touches down low, look for the Badgers to get Kaminsky some easy post touches to see if he can find himself in a rhythm early on.

Even if Kaminsky struggles from the field, he'll have his chances to possibly get to the free throw line if he remains aggressive around the hoop. Purdue committed 25 personal fouls in its loss against Iowa and Aaron White was able to get to the free throw line 10 times. If Kaminsky, or any other Badgers, can find ways of getting to the hoop and getting to the free throw line it will have potential for easy points.

3-pointer: Can Wisconsin slow down A.J. Hammons?

In the first meeting with Purdue, the question was whether Kaminsky or Nigel Hayes would be able to slow down Hammons in the paint. It turned out that Hammons was a non-factor due to him picking up two fouls within the first 90 seconds of the game. With Hammons having to sit on the bench for the majority of the first half it allowed for Wisconsin to attack the Boilers interior defense.

Hammons has shown a tendency of getting into foul trouble on the season. Despite having a double-double against Iowa (16 points, 14 rebounds), Hammons did pick up four fouls in the game. During Big Ten play Hammons is averaging three fouls a game. If Kaminsky or Hayes can force him into picking up a couple of early fouls, it could help open up the rest of the offense.

If Hammons does get into foul trouble it could allow Hayes some offensive opportunities, where he can do damage. Hayes has remained aggressive but the problem with him as of late is that he's struggled to knock down his mid-range shot, which has allowed teams to be able to defend him closer. With there being no space for him to drive, Hayes hasn't been able to get to the free throw line as frequently. When Hayes is clicking from mid-range, it allows the freshman to drive to the hoop and potentially draw fouls. When Hammons is out of the game, Hayes is going to have to try and take advantage.


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