The Matchup: No. 4 seed Purdue (21-11) vs. No. 1 seed Wisconsin (29-3)
When: Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 11am CT
Where: Chicago, IL; United Center (20,917)
Radio: Badgers Sports Network
Last Meeting: UW win, 62-55 (1/7/2015)
All-Time Series: Purdue leads, 104-69
Projected Starting Lineups:
G Jon Octeus (9.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
G Dakota Mathias (4.7 ppg, 1.3 apg)
G/F Rapheal Davis (11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
G/F Vince Edwards - Fr. (8.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
C A.J. Hammons - Jr. (11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
G Bronson Koenig - So. (7.8 ppg, 2.2 apg)
G Josh Gasser - Sr. (7.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
F Sam Dekker - Jr. (13.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
F Nigel Hayes - So. (12.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
C Frank Kaminsky - Sr. (18.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg)
Biggest Matchup: Frank Kaminsky vs. A.J. Hammons
While there are going to be very interesting battles in the backcourt, especially between Rapheal Davis and Josh Gasser, there’s no doubt this game is going to be won in the blocks — literally and down on them.
Last the Badgers saw Purdue they were struggling to find an identity, but the Boilermakers we see today grew up in that game against Wisconsin way back in January. It also was the game where A.J. Hammons found himself after starting on the bench and this matchup with Frank Kaminsky is going to be very interesting indeed.
Wisconsin needs Kaminsky to be more dominant than he was yesterday, and with Hammons and the Boilermakers big front line in that won’t be easy. Last time around Kaminsky scored 21 points and had 4 rebounds, but it won’t be that easy on Saturday afternoon in the United Center.
Kaminsky will have to work much harder on the defensive end of things this time around and that’s where the “blocks” come in to play. UW needs him to be more of a shot stopper and a rebounder than a pure scorer to win this time around.
Hammons is coming off a stat sheet-stuffing 23-point, 9-rebound, 4-block effort in Purdue’s quarterfinal win over Penn State. Kaminsky hasn’t faced a defender like Hammons since facing that Purdue team in West Lafayette.
Prediction: Wisconsin 70, Purdue 58
While the Boilermakers are much different than the last time UW saw them, so is Wisconsin. Thanks to Bronson Koenig being a starter, this offense is very difficult to defend against. Look for Koenig to hit some stop and pop threes and Dekker to kill Purdue with some slashing to the basket. It all adds up to Wisconsin winning in more dominating fashion than a lot of people think. #MakeEmBelieve