Max Siker/BadgerNation

No.13 Wisconsin looks to topple No.20 Purdue in historically tough Mackey Arena this afternoon

No.13 Wisconsin is looking to become the first team in more than 60 years to win back-to-back games at Indiana and Purdue when it heads to Mackey Arena today. BadgerNation breaks down the match-up.

No.13 Wisconsin (13-2, 2-0 Big Ten) vs. No.20 Purdue (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten)

Date/Time – Sunday, January 8, 3:30 p.m. central

Arena – Mackey Arena (14,804)

Television – CBS (Ian Eagle and Bill Raftery)

Radio –Badgers Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Purdue leads 106-70 (Purdue leads 69-18 in West Lafayette)

Last Meeting – Purdue won, 91-80, on March 6, 2016, in West Lafayette, Ind

WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS

3 Zak Showalter (6-3 Senior Guard, 8.5 ppg)

10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Senior Forward, 13.7 ppg)

22 Ethan Happ (6-10 Sophomore Forward, 13.1 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-2 Senior Guard, 14.3 ppg)

30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Senior Forward, 7.8 ppg)

OFF THE BENCH

0 D’Mitrik Trice (6-0 Freshman Guard, 6.4 ppg)

15 Charles Thomas (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 3.3 ppg)

21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Sophomore Forward, 4.9 ppg)

PLAYER TO WATCH

Hitting at least four triples in five of the last eight games. Koenig was perfect from behind the arc, going 5-for-5 from 3-point range and finishing with 17 points in 25 minutes. He has gone 27-for-51 (.529) from 3-point range over the last eight games.

PURDUE PROBABLE STARTERS

3 Carsen Edwards (6-0 Freshman Guard, 10.8 ppg)

11 P.J. Thompson (5-10 Junior Guard, 7.7 ppg)

12 Vince Edwards (6-8 Junior Forward, 12.4 ppg)

31 Dakota Mathias (6-4 Junior Guard, 9.9 ppg)

50 Caleb Swanigan (6-9 Sophomore Forward, 18.3 ppg)

OFF THE BENCH

5 Basil Smotherman (6-6 Junior Forward, 4.5 ppg)

14 Ryan Cline (6-5 Sophomore Guard, 6.7 ppg)

44 Isaac Haas (7-2 Junior Center, 13.4 ppg)

PLAYER TO WATCH

Thompson leads the country in assist/turnover ratio at 5.27 (58/11), the best mark for any player in the country since at least the 2009-10 season.

LAST TIME OUT

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Happ led four Wisconsin players in double figures with a game-high 19 points to help No.13 Wisconsin hold off a desperate Indiana team, 75-68, at Assembly Hall Tuesday night.

Wisconsin has won 16 of 18 since Indiana coach Tom Crean arrived and six of the last eight in this historic venue. Most importantly, the Badgers weren’t perfect but still extended its winning streak to nine.

Wisconsin hadn’t played a game closer than nine points the entire season, so finding itself in a back-and-forth affair was something new for this group. Of course this group is mostly old veterans who had been down this road before, going 11-9 in games decided by 10 points or less a year ago.

A one-possession game from 15:12 to 6:10 in the second half, Wisconsin relied on its veterans. Happ, Bronson Koenig (17 points), Zak Showalter (14) and Nigel Hayes (12) scored 31 of Wisconsin’s 37 points in the second half, including 22 in a row down the stretch. 

The work down the stretch was methodical and balanced. After Hayes and Happ attacked and scored in the low post, Showalter did the same, executing a little pump fake to open up a clean alley for him to attack the basket. One possession later he nailed a 3-pointer to push the score to 66-59, UW’s largest in 12 minutes.

“We haven’t been in many close like games like this all year,” Showalter said. “Both of our losses were double-digit losses and none of our wins were this close. This was a good test on the road in a hostile environment to try to have to pull one out like this. It’s good to see that we’re able to do that.”

Happ scored 11 of his points in the second half, but his defensive stand on center Thomas Bryant might be the standout play. After hitting a layup to make it 68-63 with 1:51 remaining, Happ – playing with four fouls – prevented Bryant from attacking the lane and forced him to take an off-target fade away.

Happ recovered the rebound and Vitto Brown hit his own bucket of the second half – a 3-pointer – with 41 seconds left to make it 71-63. Ball game.

Losers of three straight, Indiana (10-5, 0-2) entered the conference’s top rebounding team at 44.0 per game, Wisconsin entered as the conference’s top defensive rebounding team at 27.0 per contest and both were tied at the top of the conference with a plus-13.8 rebounding margin.

The Hoosiers also led the conference in scoring (86.5 point per game) and field goal percentage (49.8 percent) and were second in 3-point percentage (39.1 percent).

Wisconsin allowed them to shoot 53.1 percent from the field on 61 possessions, numbers the Hoosiers helped generated by scoring 38 points in the paint. Twenty of those came in the first half, benefited by 13 second-chance points that helped erase a Wisconsin lead that was as many as 14 points.

A friendly reminder by Gard to box out in the second half helped the numbers recover, holding the Hoosiers to only 12 rebounds (three offensive) in the second half and two second-chance points.

Considering the point total and holding them to 5 of 15 from 3-point range, UW can live with losing the rebounding battle 32-25.

SERIES NOTES

Wisconsin has won four of the last six meetings. The Badgers were ranked in the top 10 and the Boilers were unranked. Purdue swept the season series last season when the Boilers were ranked No.15 and the Badgers were unranked.

UW is just 18-69 all-time in games played in West Lafayette. In fact, the Badgers have won just three times at Mackey Arena since 1972, owning a record of 3-35 over that span. Each of those three victories have come in the last 12 years (2005, 2012, 2014).

Wisconsin has allowed Purdue to hit the 70-point mark just three times in the teams’ last 14 meetings.

The last time UW posted wins in both Bloomington and West Lafayette in the same season was in 1972.

LAST MEETING

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – An early eight-point lead melted under Purdue’s red-hot shooting, as the Boilermakers shot 62.2 percent in a 91-80 victory over Wisconsin at Mackey Arena to end the Big Ten regular season.

The Big Ten’s top scoring defense at 63.5 points per game, Wisconsin (20-11, 12-6 Big Ten) saw Purdue past that total with more than 10 left, as the hosts go on a roll and didn’t relent.

“It seemed like everyone was hitting shots,” Koenig said. “When their making all those good shots, it’s hard to beat anyone.”

Shooting above 60 percent in each half, Purdue (24-7, 12-6) put four players in double figures, got 15 of sophomore P.J. Thompson’s career-high 22 points in the first half and 23 in the second half from freshman Caleb Swanigan, who went 14-for-17 from the line after halftime to push him to a career-high 27 points.

The Badgers were only able to hang in the game because Hayes scored a conference career-high 30 points. During a five minute stretch late in the second points, Hayes scored all 13 of Wisconsin points.

“We’d had to have a perfect game offensively in order to match that,” Hayes said. “Some of their guys shot exceptionally well … Just tip our hats off to them.”

Ethan Happ scored 14 points, Zak Showalter had 13 and Koenig finished with 8 points on 3-for-12 shooting (2-for-9 from 3-point range).

Wisconsin came out making 13 of its first 19 shots, going 5-for-10 from 3-point range and pounding the ball into the low post with Happ to build a 31-24 lead 13 minutes into the game.

But for a Wisconsin team that held 10 opponents in the regular season to season-low point totals, Purdue’s transition offense – and sophomore P.J. Thompson – quickly caught the Badgers. Thompson was a 5-for-6 from 3-point range in the first half, helping orchestrate a 10-0 run that wiped out UW’s seven-point lead in less than two minutes, and the Boilers scored on nine of its final 13 possessions, resulting in 24 points.

Averaging 1.5 points per possession in a 45-39 halftime lead, Purdue shot 63 percent in the first half – a season-worst in a half for UW – and went 8-for-12 from 3-point range against a defense allowing only 5.8 3-point makes per game in conference play.

When the final horn sounded, Purdue scored 28 points in the paint, 25 on 33 free-throw attempts and 30 from the 3-point line on 19 attempts.

In a span of the first three minutes of the second half, Purdue’s 7-0 run put the Badgers in a 13-point hole, and the hits just kept coming with the Boilers making seven of their first eight shots.

WISCONSIN NOTES

The Badgers have enjoyed a winning streak of at least nine games in three of the last four seasons. The current streak is the school's longest since winning 11 in a row before falling in the 2015 national title game.

Wisconsin is looking to become the first team in more than 60 years to win back-to-back games at Indiana and Purdue. The last team to play consecutive games in Bloomington and West Lafayette and win both was Illinois in 1956. Neither Assembly Hall nor Mackey Arena had been built yet.

Wisconsin is averaging 18.7 free throw attempts per game. Last season, the Badgers led the Big Ten with 20.8 FTAs per game. Nigel Hayes led the Big Ten in FTAs (258).

Overall, Wisconsin is averaging 77.4 ppg (sixth in Big Ten) and shooting 48.6 percent from the field (third in Big Ten). KenPom.com ranks the Badgers ninth in N.C.A.A. in offensive efficiency. Through 15 games last season, the Badgers were scoring 70.1 ppg and shooting just 42.4 percent.

PURDUE NOTES

Since the start of the 2015-16 season, Purdue is 39-12. The 39 wins are the 11th most nationally since the start of last year.

Purdue has scored at least 75 points in nine straight games. The last time Purdue scored at least 75 points in nine straight games came from Dec. 12, 1987, to Feb. 7, 1988 (15 straight games).

Purdue has had 19 runs of 10 points or longer this year, compared to two by its opponents (Auburn, Minnesota).

Purdue’s Vincent Edwards is averaging over 10.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He is on pace to become just the sixth player in school history to average 10.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.0 APG in a season, and just the second to average 12, 5 & 3 (joining the great E’Twaun Moore).

PREDICTION

The Badgers are out-scoring opponents by a margin of 516 to 356 in points in the paint, an impressive 34.4 to 23.7 points per game average. It’ll be a strong challenge to meet those numbers against a Purdue frontcourt that has two of the better big men in the conference.

Aptly nicknamed “biggie,” the 250-pound Swanigan has four 20-20 games this season (there have been only eight nationally) to go along with 13 double-doubles. The 7-2, 290-pound Haas is shooting 60.7 percent from the field and has 14 blocks. And to no big surprise, those two create a lot of attention and produce a lot for Purdue.

A year after ranking third in the country in rebounding margin, Purdue ranks seventh nationally with a plus-10.3 rebounding margin. Dissect the numbers further, Purdue has outscored opponents in second-chance points 121-54 (15.1 to 6.8 per game) during the last eight games and allowed just 44 offensive rebounds over the last six games (7.3 per game).

Ranking fifth in the N.C.A.A. with a plus-12.4 rebounding margin, Wisconsin will need to surpass what it did on Tuesday, holding the conference’s top rebounding team to 38 points in the paint and 12 rebounds fewer than its average.

The Boilermakers share the ball among the best in the country. Recording at least 20 assists in eight games, Purdue averages 19.8 assists per game (second nationally) and have assisted on 66.5 percent (316-of-475) of its made field goals (sixth nationally). A lot of those assists are post entry passes to the big men, but Purdue’s ball movement and ability to hit perimeter jumpers makes them a threat all over the court.

This has the makings of a good defensive slugfest. Purdue has held 13-of-15 possible foes below their pregame scoring averages, including nine opponents to 12 or more points under their respective average. The Badgers have held 10 of their 15 opponents to their (at the time) lowest point total of the season and has a scoring defense (59.4 ppg) that leads the Big Ten.

Both schools also keep the whistles low - Wisconsin averages 15.1 fouls per game with Purdue at 15.2.

Purdue showed against Wisconsin last year that they are tough with or without Swanigan. In Madison, Swanigan was held scoreless (0-for-5 from the field) but collected nine rebounds in Purdue's 61-55 win in the Big Ten opener. In the final game of the regular season, he had 27 points (14-of-17 from the free throw line) and eight rebounds. Unlike last year, Purdue is more balanced with scoring options inside and out and ability to attack effectively with small or big lineups.

Throw in the fact that Wisconsin is 4-38 since Mackey Arena, I think this is will be a tough draw for the Badgers. UW’s nine game win streak ends with an 11-point defeat.

Worgull's Record: 13-2

Points off Prediction: 131 (8.7 per game)

 


Badger Nation Top Stories