Breakdown: Purdue vs. No.4 Wisconsin

Another early matchup of two undefeated Big Ten teams, No.4 Wisconsin hosts Purdue - a team that has traditionally played the Badgers tough - tonight at the Kohl Center. BadgerNation breaks down the game and the noticeable improvement of fifth-year senior Duje Dukan.

Purdue (10-5, 2-0 Big Ten) vs. No.4 Wisconsin (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Wednesday, January 7, 6 p.m. Central

Arena –Kohl Center (17,249)

Television -Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson and Seth Davis)

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

Series – Purdue leads 104-68 (Wisconsin leads 48-36 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 76-70, on March 5, 2014 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 12.4 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-3 Senior Guard, 9.3 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-9 Junior Forward, 12.7 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-4 Senior Guard, 7.2 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Senior Forward, 16.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 2.8 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-10 Senior Forward, 6.9 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 4.7 ppg)

30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Sophomore Guard, 3.1 ppg)

Purdue Probable Starters

0 Jon Octeus (6-4 Senior Guard, 8.0 ppg)

12 Vince Edwards (6-7 Freshman Forward, 10.6 ppg)

21 Kendall Stephens (6-6 Sophomore Guard, 11.0 ppg)

35 Rapheal Davis (6-5, Junior Guard, 9.7 ppg)

44 Isaac Haas (7-2 Freshman Center, 10.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Bryson Scott (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 5.7 ppg)

3 P.J. Thompson (5-10 Freshman Guard, 2.9 ppg)

5 Basil Smotherman (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 2.1 ppg)

20 A.J. Hammons (7-0 Junior Center, 10.3 ppg)

31 Dakota Mathias (6-4 Freshman Guard, 3.7 ppg)

Last Meeting

MADISON - Combining for 49 points, juniors Josh Gasser, Traevon Jackson and Frank Kaminsky helped No.9 Wisconsin avenge last year’s senior day with a 76-70 triumph over Purdue.

Wisconsin (25-5, 12-5 Big Ten) swept the Boilermakers for the first time since 2005 and extended its conference winning streak to eight games, its longest since winning its final 11 games in the 1940-41 season.

“Last year was kind of tough sending the seniors out on a sour note,” said Kaminsky, who finished with a game-high 22 points. “We didn’t want that to happen again. We wanted to do that for them.”

Not trailing for the final 38:20 was just what Wisconsin needed to give all three seniors their due. Brust checked out of the game with 21.9 seconds left to a standing ovation, finishing with nine points and four rebounds. Bohannon and Anderson checked in shortly thereafter, each playing a couple possessions before they came out to the same kind of treatment.

It was a far different scene a year ago when UW players were forced to sit through a lengthy tribute video after missing its final 18 3-pointers in a 13-point loss.

“It was nice to have everyone smiling in the locker room and smiling after the game,” said Brust. “It makes it much better for everyone and the seniors included.”

The first 10 points by Wisconsin were scored by five different players, leading to a 12-4 run out of the gates, and the offense just kept coming, especially from the two juniors.

Jackson and Kaminsky were a combined 6-7 on that opening stretch, building a lead to as many as 15 points. Both in double figures by halftime, the duo were responsible for nine of UW’s 14 made buckets in the first half, while Kaminsky continued to take advantage of a mismatch inside against Purdue’s A.J. Hammons to shoot an efficient 8-for-11 overall.

“We were just taking what they were giving us,” said Jackson (14 points). “It was good to get some shots going down.”

It was a stark turnaround from last year’s senior day when the Badgers sent off five seniors on a loss for the first time in 12 years under Ryan. On that night a sub.500 Boilermakers team used tough defense, aggressiveness on the glass and the ability to snag loose balls to outscore UW by 18 in the second half.

That tenacity wasn’t on display this time, as this year’s Boilermakers (15-15, 5-12) had as many turnovers (four) as made shots in the first 19 possessions and missed their first 11 3-point attempts, not making their first one until the 6:07 mark in the second half.

- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Last Time Out

EVANSTON, Ill. - Four days after shooting 63.6 percent – its best shooting percentage in 17 years – in the conference-opening win over Penn State, No.4 Wisconsin stayed hot with a 52.6 percent shooting performance in its 81-58 win over Northwestern Sunday.

Four players cracked double-figure scoring for Wisconsin (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten), which won for the fifth straight time at Welsh-Ryan Arena and improved to 23-5 (.821) away from home over the last two seasons.

Much like it has been for most of the season, the Badgers’ attack was balanced and productive.

Sam Dekker scored 16 points, Frank Kaminsky added 11 of his 16 in the second half, Dukan finished with 14 off the bench and Nigel Hayes had his 10 in the first half, as the Badgers scored 80-plus points in consecutive Big Ten games for the first time since Steve Yoder’s final year in February 1992.

“We’ve had a few nights this year where we’ve had a multitude of guys putting shots in the bucket,” said Dekker. “I think that’s what’s cool about our team this year. We have a lot of guys who are confident to take those shots…When you have weapons like that, it makes the game a lot easier.”

UW was 18-for-32 from 2-point range (56 percent) and 12-for-25 (48 percent) from 3-point range, outscoring Northwestern (10-5, 1-1) 36-12 from beyond the arc.

“They were tremendous from 3-point range,” said Northwestern coach Chris Collins. “This is a national-championship quality team. When you have five guys who can really play out there, you have to pick you poison … Sometimes when that happens, you have to tip your cap.”

Even with Kaminsky on the bench for the final 8:06 with two fouls, Wisconsin still shot 53.6 percent (15-for-28) from the floor, had 14 assists and outscored the Wildcats 24-0 from 3-point range in the opening half.

It had a similar ring to last year, when Wisconsin – in its first Big Ten road game – led 40-14 after the opening half.

Second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (58.9 points per game), the Wildcats allowed a season high in points and didn’t start finding success until the UW lead ballooned to 28 late in the second half. That surge was quickly correctly, as UW held Northwestern to only nine points over the final 7:23.

-Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Series Notes

UW has won three of the last four meetings including a season sweep a year ago.

Since Bo Ryan arrived in Madison, the series is tied 10-10. Under Ryan, UW owns a winning record against every Big Ten team except Purdue (.500).

Overall, UW has won 10 of the 13 Kohl Center meetings between the Badgers and Boilermakers (7-3 with Ryan at the helm). Purdue and Illinois are the only Big Ten teams that have won three times at the Kohl Center in the Bo Ryan era.

In the two meetings with Purdue last season, the Badgers went a combined 50-for-64 (78.1 percent) from the free throw line, averaging 32.0 FTAs per game. The Boilermakers averaged just 13.5 FTAs per game in the two contests. Purdue was also just 6-for-31 (19.4 percent) from 3-point range vs. UW a year ago.

Frank Kaminsky averaged 19.0 ppg in two games vs. Purdue a year ago. Traevon Jackson and Josh Gasser also reached double figures in both meetings, averaging 14.5 ppg and 11.5 ppg, respectively.

Wisconsin Notes

Bo Ryan is on the cusp of breaking an 80-year old record. Already the author of the most overall wins in Wisconsin history, Ryan is one win away from setting the school’s Big Ten wins mark as well. With his next Big Ten win, Ryan would pass Hall of Famer Walter Meanwell (158 wins from 1912-17, ’21-34) for the most conference wins in school history.

After being hobbled by an ankle injury for a few games, Sam Dekker has returned to form averaging 15.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg while shooting 59.3 percent from the field (50.0 percent on 3FGs) over the last six games.

The Badgers are averaging just 13.4 fouls per game, the lowest mark in the Big Ten and third in the nation. UW is one of nine teams in the NCAA that has not had a player foul out of a game this season. UW opponents are fouling 18.6 times per game.

This season, UW is currently second in the nation, averaging a mere 8.5 turnovers per game (behind Cal Poly, 8.4). The Badgers have had 11 or fewer turnovers in all but one of their games.

Gasser is on pace to set school record for games played and games started. He is currently second in UW history with 119 career starts, trailing only Alando Tucker (126 starts).

Purdue Notes

Purdue is looking for just its second 3-0 Big Ten start during the Painter era (2010-11).

In the second half of Big Ten play, Purdue has outscored its opponents, 86-50, and held foes to 33.3 percent shooting.

Purdue is 9-0 this year when holding foes to 69 or fewer points. When it allows 70 or more points, the Boilermakers are 1-5. During the Painter era, when Purdue holds foes to 69 or fewer points, Purdue is 175-40, including 99-4 when holding foes to 59 points or less.

When Purdue scores 70 or more points this year, the Boilermakers are just 7-4, but are 125-28 under Painter when scoring 70 points or more.

Purdue ranks 33rd nationally in rebound margin (+7.1), ranking third in the Big Ten conference behind Michigan State (+8.3) and Wisconsin (+7.6).

Purdue has recorded 86 blocked shots to rank 19th nationally in blocked shots per game (5.7). It’s early, but at the current rate (32-game season), Purdue would block 183 shots this year, which would be a new school record.

Prediction

Chris Collins knew the problems that his young Northwestern team would have to endure Sunday against the fourth-best team in the country. The Wildcats had to figure out a way to stop two All-Americans in Dekker and Kaminsky and try to disrupt the ball handling of two senior guards in Gasser and Kaminsky.

So when Dukan – the fifth-year senior – came off the bench and started splashing 3-pointers, it was almost like rubbing salt in the wound.

“I always thought he was a tremendous player,” said Collins, who has known Dukan’s dad for a long time and grew up with Dukan’s high school. “I love Duje. He’s got great size, he can put it on the floor (and) he can shoot it. I love how he gets to the glass. He’s very versatile … He could start on any Big Ten team outside Wisconsin.”

In Dukan’s first three seasons in Madison, he played a total of seven minutes in Big Ten play, hardly what you would call an impact player. Last year was substantially better, but Dukan still averaged only 6.5 minutes in UW’s 18 Big Ten games. Graduating after last season, Dukan could have transferred out of the program to find a starting role, but figured he’d have a chance to make a bigger impact this season.

So with the senior averaging just under 20 minutes a game, it was special for him to play 23 minutes off the bench, scoring a season-high 14 points in UW’s 81-58 win.

“It was really nice for me to be able to come out and play well, especially in front of a lot of family friends,” said Dukan.

Dukan came to Wisconsin as a solid 3-point shooter, but was seen driving to the rim, crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free throw line against Northwestern. He went 5-for-7 from the floor, 2-for-3 from 3-point range, 2-for-2 from the free throw line, grab four rebounds, two assists and no turnovers.

“I just want to help the team in any way possible, whether that’s showing my versatility or feeding the big guys when they need the ball,” said Dukan. “Just trying to impact the game. (Sunday) I had the big switch out to me on a couple of situations, so I decided to take (the ball) to the rim and take advantage of it.”

Since returning to the lineup in the third game of a NCAA-imposed two game suspension because of an eligibility issue, Dukan has seen a rise in his confidence and his comfort level with the increased role. From his head coach’s perspective, it was all about slowing down and seeing things develop.

“There were some good players who played in front of him,” UW coach Bo Ryan said of Dukan, referring to Jared Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz, Ryan Evans and others. “What you can’t do is try to do 10 things as soon as you walk on the court. He’s getting plenty of minutes this year because of the depth we’ve been able to use. We can only start five guys, and Duje, 20, 25 minutes, whatever it is, he’s ready to play all of that.”

While it’s not to the degree of Wisconsin, Purdue head coach Matt Painter boasts a balanced lineup as four players average over 10 points a game and six average at least eight points per game. It’s balanced that have helped the Boilermakers rally in the second half of both Big Ten games.

In the opener against Minnesota, Purdue rallied from 13 points down early in the second half to defeat the Gophers, 72-68. On Saturday, Purdue rallied from 10 down late in the first half by outscoring Michigan, 39-18, in the second half to defeat the Wolverines, 64-51, snapping a four-game skid against Michigan. In games that Purdue fell behind by 10 or more points, the Boilermakers had been 0-4 entering Big Ten play.

Purdue has always played Wisconsin tough (the Boilermakers are the only Big Ten school Ryan doesn’t have a winning record against), and the Boilers are 22nd nationally in two-point percentage defense at 41.6 percent. However, the one gapping problem with Purdue is it ranks 320th nationally in 3-point percentage defense at 38.6 percent.

If Wisconsin – which has shot over 50 percent its first two Big Ten games – can keep the shots falling, continue playing balanced offense and get some pop from Dukan, the Badgers should be able to earn a grinding 14-point victory.

Worgull's Record: 14-1

Points off Prediction: 101 (6.7 per game)


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