The Purdue Boilermakers will take to the road against the Wisconsin Badgers on Thursday night. Purdue’s overall record is 24-5, and their Big Ten record is 13-5. Wisconsin is 16-12 overall and only 8-10 in conference play. The opening tap will take place at 9:00 PM EST.
This season has been a success for the Purdue Boilermakers. They have another 20+ wins season, the likely National Player of the Year Zach Edey and already share the Big Ten title. The Boilermakers’ only failure so far is their inability to beat Indiana. The 5th-ranked Boilermakers lost 79-71 to Indiana on Saturday. With the win, Indiana completed their sweep of Purdue. The loss ended Purdue’s seven-game winning streak at home. In the game, the Boilermakers shot only 32% from the floor. Edey managed to score his 45th consecutive double-double in this loss, scoring 26 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. He also added three assists, two blocks, and two steals.
Purdue will be looking to win the remainder of the season and make a deep run at the Big Ten Tournament to secure a #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. This season, the Boilermakers rank fifth in scoring offense in the conference. They are fourth in field goal percentage and fourth in 3pt offense. Purdue’s scoring defense ranks second in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers rank sixth in the opponent’s field-goal percentage and third in 3pt defense. Purdue’s presence in Edey has made it the first conference in total rebounding. The Boilermakers also have the fourth-lowest number of turnovers per game.
Wisconsin Badgers are left with little room for error as the regular season draws to a close. Wisconsin is currently leading the Big Ten with 16 wins. According to ESPN Bracketology the Badgers currently rank fourth in the tournament. The Badgers lost 87-79 to Michigan in overtime on Sunday. This was another team still chasing postseason hopes. Wisconsin almost won the game, but Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson scored a field goal of 3pts at the buzzer. In overtime, the Badgers were outscored 19-11. Steven Crowl led Wisconsin with 14 points. Tyler Wahl contributed 10 rebounds and 11 points.
On Thursday night, Wisconsin will face a sold-out crowd. They are hoping to win the tournament and strengthen their hopes of winning. Wisconsin enters this game as the Big Ten’s 13th-ranked scoring offense. The Badgers also rank 13th in field goal percentage and 8th in 3pt offense. The Badgers are fifth among conference participants in scoring defense. However, they are only 11th in the opponent’s field goal percentage. They rank sixth in 3pt defense. Wisconsin ranks ninth in turnovers and fourteenth in total rebounding.
These teams have not played yet this season; last season saw a 70-67 Wisconsin victory.
This spot feels like it belongs in an upset category.
The Badgers need this game, and they have the formula to make it a fierce contest for 40 minutes.
Purdue is less dominant in the Big Ten, playing away from Mackey Arena.
I believe Hepburn will win against Smith at the point-guard position. Wahl could also be in for an exciting night.
Edey will win his battles, but Wisconsin could succeed in other areas. The Badgers should be able to hold on until the final whistle and possibly pull off an upset.
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