Cold As Ice

Having won four consecutive games, there is no team hotter in the Big Ten than the Purdue Boilermakers. On the flip side, there is no colder shooting team on the conference than the Wisconsin Badgers, who are in a four game streak of their own.

MADISON – Mired in his longest conference losing streak in his tenure and sitting three games back of first in the Big Ten Conference, its evident Bo Ryan has not lost his sense of humor.

Answering questions about the status of his team's confidence, missteps and shooting woes, Ryan was quick to issue a word of warning

"We could get hot here," he quipped. "Watch out when we do."

Wisconsin will need to find that shooting spark if they hope to remove a major thorn from its side, as No.16 Purdue comes to Madison Tuesday in hopes of extending its recent dominance over the Badgers.

Starting with the Boilermakers (15-4, 4-2) first conference win over Wisconsin on January 11, Purdue has won four in a row, including two on the road. Playing in the Kohl Center is no problem for young Boilermakers either, as Purdue proved it could conquer the Kohl with a 72-67 triumph last season.

"They'll get after you, (which) is something we have kind of hung out hat on, too," Ryan said about Purdue. "We try to have our scout team get after us. The game hasn't changed over the years. There are still the basic things you have to try to execute well."

One of those things is getting off to a positive start, something Wisconsin (12-7, 3-4) hasn't done in its last three losses to the Boilermakers. Last season in West Lafayette, the Badgers trailed 12-4 in the early going after Purdue ripped off a 10-0 run. Just four games later, the Badgers trailed by 10 (42-32) at halftime and were down by as many as 15 points in the second half.

This season, Wisconsin was down by double digits early at Mackey Arena, the game that started UW's current four-game skid.

"We were killing them at their place. It was 7-6. Then I think it was 21-9. So we hit a little drought … for like the rest of the half," said Ryan, as the Badgers have failed to shoot better than 38.5 percent in the last three games against Purdue. "They played better than we did … on both ends. That is something that if you want to be successful, you've got to change that. Hopefully we can change that."

If Wisconsin wants to change, the Badgers need to find the rim and their aggressiveness in the paint. During UW's four game skid, Wisconsin has shot less than 40 percent from the field three times, less than 35 percent from three-point range all four games and have shot more than 15 free throws only once.

Wisconsin's shooters aren't helping the cause either. Point guard Trevon Hughes is 15-of-45 (33 percent) in his last four games, guard Jason Bohannon is 8-of-29 (28 percent) in his last three games and forward Jon Leuer has yet to score in double figures in consecutive games.

On the flip side, Purdue ranks second in the conference in both scoring offense (72.1 points per game) and scoring defense (57.6 points per game).

"We haven't finished around the basket and the open looks we've had with some shooters that have been shooting it pretty well," Ryan said. "We haven't had a great percentage and if you're not shooting a great percentage, you need to get to the free throw line a little bit. If you had those answers, you would be so far ahead of the game."

With Wisconsin sporting a 1-6 record against ranked teams and still looking for its signature win of the season, the Badgers better hope that victory comes Tuesday. With road games at Northwestern and Penn State and a home rematch with Illinois sandwiched in between, the journey doesn't get any easier for the once-ranked Badgers.

"We need (to play) 40 minutes and that's what this team is looking to do," senior Joe Krabbenhoft said. "We need some momentum, something. We don't want to be in that situation, but we know that we have guys to do it. Against Purdue, we've got to bring it."

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