Preview: No.17 Wisconsin vs. No.4 Purdue

Perfect no longer in the Big Ten Conference, No.17 Wisconsin now turns its attention to a team that has been perfect all season long, as No.4 Purdue looks to win its third straight game in Madison, unheard of in the Bo Ryan era.

No.17 Wisconsin (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten) vs. No.4 Purdue (14-0, 2-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, January 9, at 12:30 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)

Television - Big Ten Network (Wayne Larrivee and Shon Morris)

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

Series – Purdue Leads 102-62 (UW Leads 44-36 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Purdue won, 64-63, on Jan. 27, 2009 in Madison.

Wisconsin Probable Starters

3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 15.9 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 10.0 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 3.2 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Junior Forward, 16.1 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 7.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 4.9 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 8.3 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 2.6 ppg)

Purdue Probable Starters

3 Chris Kramer (Senior Guard, 6.9 ppg)

4 Robbie Hummel (Junior Forward, 15.3 ppg)

5 Keaton Grant (Senior Guard, 6.6 ppg)

25 Jajuan Johnson (Junior Center, 14.7 ppg)

33 E'Twaun Moore (Junior Guard, 16.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

12 Kelsey Barlow (Freshman Guard, 3.6 ppg)

21 D.J. Byrd (Freshman Guard, 3.5 ppg)

24 Ryne Smith (Sophomore Guard, 4.9 ppg)

Last Meeting:

The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team has been in this situation quite a bit lately – being so close down at the end with a chance to win.

The Badgers have also experienced the same outcome quite a bit lately.

Wisconsin (12-8 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) lost to No. 16 Purdue (16-4, 5-2) 64-63 on Tuesday night, its fifth game in a row – the first time since 1998 and the first time in UW head coach's career since his first season at UW-Platteville in 1984-85.

Aided by a career-high 21 points from Keaton Nankivil, the Badgers were able to gain a lead as large as five points midway through the second half. Nankivil was on fire, shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from 3-point range and had the sold-out Kohl Center crowd of 17,230 wondering, ‘How could Wisconsin possibly lose this one?' late in the game.

Well, as has been the case as of late, Wisconsin found a way.

After Wisconsin grabbed a five point lead with 4:46 to play, Purdue rallied and went on an 11-2 run to put the Badgers in the all-too-familiar position of having to make a play in the closing seconds.

Robbie Hummel hit a go-ahead three-pointer to give the Boilermakers the lead and E'Twaun Moore scored 17 points to lead Purdue.

Down 62-60, the Badgers had that chance after Chris Kramer missed a one-and-one free throw with 22 seconds remaining. Ryan called a timeout to set up Wisconsin's play to either take the lead or tie it up and hope for overtime.

However, the Badgers were unable to find a look, forcing Jordan Taylor to drive to the basket and try to make a play. Taylor missed a tough lay-up and JaJuan Johnson grabbed the rebound before he was fouled.

Last Time Out:

This wasn't the way the University of Wisconsin wanted to roll out of the gates in a building they hadn't won in since 2004.

Missing the first five shots from the floor and committing four turnovers in the first 4 minutes, 34 seconds seemed tame for what ensued the rest of the first half.

Throw in three more turnovers and missing 16 of its first 20 shots, including an un-Wisconsin-like six air balls, to shoot a season low 28 percent from the floor, a box score observer could have guaranteed Wisconsin was getting blown out of the Breslin Center against Michigan State, the Big Ten's points per game (81.4).

No.17 Wisconsin's suffocating team defense and junior Jon Leuer scoring 18 of his game-high 21 points after halftime was impressive enough to try to counter the rough shooting night. Too bad in the end, the inconsistent shooting was the detriment proved to UW's undoing in a frustrating 54-47 loss to No.10 Michigan State Wednesday night.

Wisconsin (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten) had a game plan defensively to make things challenging on a Spartans team that had five players averaging double digits in points and averaged 50.7 percent shooting. Consider that mission accomplished, as Michigan State had a season low in points and shooting percentage (38.1 percent).

The problem was the Badgers couldn't buy a bucket offensively in a rugged first half and only marginally improved from the floor after halftime, as the size and speed of Michigan State (12-3, 2-0) forced UW out of its comfort zone from the opening whistle.

The Spartans weren't much better, scoring a second-low 22 points to lead 22-20 at halftime, giving UW a glimmer of hope that they were never able to fulfill, trailing the entire game.

The Badgers wanted to come into just their third true road test and match-up with the physically-talented Spartans. The final results were not what UW wanted: getting out rebounded 40-27, including 11-6 on the offensive glass.

The results could have been much worse had the Spartans been more proficient from the free throw line, where the hosts went 20-of-30 compared to only 8-of-12 by the visitors, and Leuer's first-half frustrations, shooting just 1-for-7, boiling over to the point where he erupted for 18 of UW's 27 second-half points.

Series Notes:

This marks the 165th meeting between Wisconsin and Purdue. Wisconsin has won eight of the last 10 games vs. the Boilers in Madison.

Purdue has won four straight games in the series and owns a 7-5 record vs. UW since the 2001-02 season. The Boilermakers are the only Big Ten team with a winning record against the Badgers in the Bo Ryan era.

Purdue has won its last two games at Wisconsin, however no team has ever won three straight games at the Kohl Center.

Matt Painter is 5-1 against Wisconsin in his tenure as Purdue's head coach.

Wisconsin Notes:

Saturday's game vs. No. 4 Purdue is UW's fifth contest vs. a ranked team, the most in the Big Ten. In Ryan's nine seasons at UW, the Badgers are 6-18 vs. teams ranked in the AP top 10.

In Bo Ryan's nine years as head coach, the Badgers have amassed a 129-10 (.928) record at home. That ranks as the third-best home winning percentage in the country during that span. Only Kansas (.944) and Duke (.932) have posted better home marks since the beginning of the 2001-02 season.

UW is third in the Big Ten shooting 73.2 percent at the free throw line. That is the team's highest mark since shooting 74 percent at the charity stripe in 1998-99.

The Badgers are also lighting it up from 3-point range, connecting on 36.3 percent from behind the arc. That is UW's second-best 3-point FG pct. in the last 18 seasons (39.1 pct. in 2004-05). Wisconsin is shooting 40.5 percent (64-158) from long range at home this year.

Purdue Notes:

Hummel needs 10 points to reach 1,000 for his career and is looking to become 19th Purdue player with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

A win on Saturday would give Purdue the best start in program history and also mark the first time since 1999-00 that the Boilermakers have won their first two league road games

Purdue is one of just four Division I teams that remain undefeated, and one of just three in the nation with two wins over teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll at game time (also Texas and Kentucky)

Purdue owns a league-leading +6.8 turnover margin and a +2.7 edge on the boards this season to give them an average of 9.5 possessions per game more than their opponents. The Boilermakers are outscoring their opponents by an average of 12.4 points per game off of turnovers this season

Purdue has won 36 of 37 games during Painter's tenure when it has earned the edge in both the rebounding and turnover battles

Worgull's Prediction

It just doesn't get any easier in the Big Ten for Wisconsin. The Badgers have two tough road games and this game against Purdue, which was why the Badgers' struggling offensively and physically against Michigan State was such a downer.

In order for the Badgers to win, they will need to shut down juniors E'Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel, who head into the Wisconsin game with streaks of 14 and 11-consecutive games with double-figure point totals, respectively. Not only is Hummel one of the best rebounders in the Big Ten, the second-best board man could be Jajuan Johnson. UW wasn't aggressive Wednesday. They will need to be Saturday.

This is going to be a challenge, much like the Duke game was for UW ... and we all know how that ended up. The Badgers need this game for their own psyche. I was planning on picking Purdue all week but something tells me the wake-up call UW got Wednesday will serve them well. If they win the battle of the board, UW wins by three points. If they don't, next Wednesday becomes maybe the biggest game of the season.

Worgull's Record: 10-5

Points off Prediction: 186 (12.4 per game)

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