Breakdown: Purdue at No.9 Wisconsin

A year after the Boilermakers gave Wisconsin its first loss on senior day under Bo Ryan, Purdue is back to close out the Badgers' home slate again tonight at the Kohl Center. BadgerNation breaks down the matchup.

Purdue (15-14, 5-11 Big Ten) at No.9 Wisconsin (24-5, 11-5 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Wednesday, March 5, 8 p.m. Central

Arena –Kohl Center (17,249)

Television -Big Ten Network (Kevin Kugler and Shon Morris)

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

Series – Purdue leads 105-66 (Wisconsin leads 46-37 in Madison)

Last Meeting -Wisconsin won, 72-58, on January 25, 2013 in West Lafayette, Ind.

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Senior Guard, 12.6 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Junior Guard, 10.8 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 13.4 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Junior Guard, 9.3 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Junior Forward, 13.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

10 Nigel Hayes (6-7 Freshman Forward, 7.8 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-9 Junior Forward, 2.6 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-3 Freshman Guard, 3.1 ppg)

Purdue Probable Starters

0 Terone Johnson (6-4 Senior Guard, 12.1 ppg)

3 Ronnie Johnson (6-0 Sophomore Guard, 11.0 ppg)

20 A.J. Hammons (7-0 Sophomore Center, 10.6 ppg)

21 Kendall Stevens (6-6 Freshman Guard, 8.0 ppg)

35 Rapheal Davis (6-5 Sophomore Guard, 5.8 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Basil Smotherman (6-5 Freshman Forward, 5.0 ppg)

12 Bryson Scott (6-1 Freshman Guard, 6.4 ppg)

32 Errick Peck (6-6 Senior Forward, 4.4 ppg)

Last Time Out

Nothing is supposed to come easy in the Big Ten, but No.14 Wisconsin is making its finishing push look pretty spectacular.

Josh Gasser scored a team-high 15 points, one of three Badgers in double figures, as Wisconsin outlasted Penn State, 71-66, at the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday afternoon for UW's seventh straight win and fifth straight road victory.

The victory guarantees another top four finish in the Big Ten for Wisconsin (24-5, 11-5 Big Ten), tying them with Purdue (1920-32) for 13 consecutive top four finishes in the conference. The Badgers have never finished lower than fourth with Bo Ryan at the helm and approve to 11-2 away from home, a new program record.

The Badgers led virtually the entire game – only trailing for 1 minute, 52 seconds in the first half – and used a balanced offense that had at least five players contribute nine points or more.

Although trailing by as many as 10 points in the second half, Penn State (14-15, 5-11) mounted multiple comebacks, closing the lead to one possession four times in the second half, the last coming with 18 seconds left at 66-64.

Traevon Jackson and Gasser iced the game from there, as Jackson went 4-for-4 from the line and Gasser went 1 of 2 with the game already decided.

"The way they had been playing, we knew this was going to be a dogfight," said Ryan. "I really got to give all our guys credit. They handle all the runs Penn State made. They handled it, made the free throws at the end and if you are going to beat a team like this on their home floor you've got to do that."

The starting backcourt of Gasser, Ben Brust (14) and Jackson (13) combined for 42 of Wisconsin's 71 points and the Badgers went 19-for-24 from the free throw line, compared to 9-for-13 from Penn State.

- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Last Meeting

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - No.9 Wisconsin regained some defensive swagger following a 72-58 victory over Purdue Saturday in front of 14,845 at Mackey Arena.

Five players scored in double figures, led by Frank Kaminsky's game-high 16 points, to lead the Badgers (17-3, 4-3) to just their third win at Mackey since 1972, but the victory was obtained more by what happened on the defensive end compared to the offense.

Beaten to a pulp over the last three games by teams willing to drive to the bucket with little to no resistance, Wisconsin held Purdue (13-7, 3-4) to 35.4 percent from the field and no players over 11 points.

More importantly, the Badgers' five-game streak of allowing opponents to score 70-or-more points – the longest such streak in two decades – finally ended.

"These guys are resilient," said UW associate head coach Greg Gard. "That's one thing this program always prides itself on. The fashion in which we lost those games is not characteristic of what this program has been about, and we had to get back to some things defensively."

The Boilermakers certainly gave the Badgers assistance, taking more than their fair share of perimeter shots early in the shot clock instead of pounding the ball into the paint. Had the Boilermakers done that, they could have scored much more than their 40 points in the paint, which ran UW's total to 232 points in the last five games.

"I don't think guys were ready to play," said Purdue senior Terone Johnson, one of two Boilers who scored 10. "For a game like this, you've got to be ready to play."

Wisconsin took advantage, reeling off a 17-4 run near the start that set the tone. Purdue never led after the opening 90 seconds and was only able to tie the game twice more, none coming in the second half.

- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Series Notes

Last season, the Boilermakers spoiled UW's senior day with a 69-56 win at the Kohl Center. That is the only blemish on Ryan's senior day record. The Badgers are 11-1 in their regular-season home finale under Ryan.

Since Bo Ryan arrived in Madison (since the 2001-02 season), Purdue leads the series 10-9. The Boilermakers are the only Big Ten team with a winning record against the Badgers in that era.

Wisconsin has won 4 of the last 7 meetings against Purdue overall, including 2 of the last 3 contests at the Kohl Center. Overall, UW has won 9 of the 12 Kohl Center meetings between the Badgers and Boilers.

Purdue and Illinois are the only Big Ten teams that have won 3 times at the Kohl Center in the Bo Ryan era. In this season's first meeting, all five UW starters scored in double figures. The Badgers went 27-for-33 from the free throw line, while Purdue was just 9-for-13. The Badgers shot 41.3 percent from the field while limiting the Boilermakers to 35.4 percent.

Wisconsin Notes

Wisconsin has clinched a top-4 finish in the Big Ten standings for the 13th-consecutive season, equaling the Big Ten record held by Purdue (1920-32). UW also secured a bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

All Josh Gasser has done since returning from a torn ACL in 2013 is re-establish himself as one of the top defenders in the Big Ten (held MSU's Gary Harris to 3-for-20 for example) and lead the conference in 3-point shooting at 46.6%. Over UW's 7-game win streak, Gasser is 17-for-28 (.607) from deep.

UW is ranked No. 5 in the latest official NCAA RPI ratings. UW has 15 wins over the RPI top 100. Arizona (16) and Kansas (16) are the only schools with more.

UW's six players averaging 9.0+ ppg in league play is the most in the Big Ten. In fact, MSU and Nebraska are the only teams that even have 4 such scorers.

All five UW starters have made at least 20 3-pointers this season. Michigan (5) and Michigan St. (5) are the only other Big Ten teams that boast that.

Purdue Notes

Purdue is 0-7 against ranked teams, losing all seven of the contests to teams ranked in the top 20.

Purdue's winning percentage (.507; 37-36) in all "true" road games since the start of the 2007-08 season is fourth behind Michigan State (.600), Wisconsin (.579) and Ohio State (.527).

In Purdue's 15 wins, the Boilermakers are allowing just 66.1 points per game and foes are shooting 38.4 percent from the field. In the 14 losses, Purdue is allowing 77.7 points per game and foes are shooting 46.3 percent from the field.

During the Painter era, when Purdue wins BOTH the rebounding and turnover margin in a game, Purdue is 78-5. However, four of those five losses have happened in the last two seasons, including two this season.

Prediction

Ben Brust came to the University of Wisconsin known for two things. One was that he was able to play for the Badgers after a lengthy appeals process, as the one-time Iowa signed commit had to jump through many hoops to play for the Badgers after Todd Lickliter was fired. The second was that he was a perimeter marksman.

The first subject matter is forgotten (unless you live in Iowa City) and while the second part is still true, Brust's development into a well-rounded player has the Badgers a formidable threat in the final month of the season.

The 38th player in school history to reach 1,000 points, and the 12th player to do so in the Bo Ryan tenure, Brust got a lot of those points from his 210 3-pointers (just 17 away from the school record) but his work as a rebounder and slasher the last couple seasons has certainly not gone unnoticed.

"He knew he was a good player," said Ryan. "He had a lot of confidence in his scoring ability. His defense, he figured somebody could teach him that, I guess. So he's played extremely well on both ends of the floor, and obviously, he's known for his three-point shooting, but he's done a lot of other good things for us.

"He'll be known for his outside shooting, but his all around game has helped put us each year where we are at the end. Certainly glad he's put those four years in here."

An example of those other attributes would be his rebounding (third on the team with 4.8 per game), ball handling (one turnover every 50.5 minutes this season) and his free throw shooting (best in the Big Ten at 89.4 percent), but the work Brust has done on the defensive end is one of the main reasons he's started 64 consecutive games and played more than 2,200 minutes in his career.

Leading the team with 26 steals, Brust has used his speed to cut into passing lanes and not shied away from guarding players who have a size advantage against him, not uncommon in Ryan's scheme.

"If he happens to be on a bigger guy, he's trying to pester them as much as he can," said Ryan. "I know he's a real nice, fine, young man, but when he wants to pester someone, he can."

For a player who likes to create a little bit of havoc, a matchup for Purdue on senior day would be a fitting conclusion. In three career games vs. Purdue, Brust is averaging 10.7 ppg (6-for-16 from 3-point range), and the Boilermakers are susceptible to good defensive play.

Turnovers have been a big issue for the Boilermakers. Purdue has had at least 14 turnovers in six of the last eight games, including 11 miscues that cost them an overtime win at home over Michigan and 16 of them at Iowa Sunday that were the breaking point in a seven-point loss.

Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said Purdue is having one of those seasons where the Boilermakers have yet to find ways to win in those close games. He's even gone as far saying he has done a poor job of recruiting ‘natural leaders' to his program, according to Scout.com Purdue writer Chris Emma.

Purdue shocked Wisconsin on senior day last season. I would be shocked if it happened again. Badgers by 12.

Worgull's Record: 19-10

Points off Prediction: 262 (9.0 per game)


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