The Matchup: Purdue (10-5, 2-0 B1G) at No. 4 Wisconsin (14-1, 2-0 B1G)
When: Wed. Jan. 6; 6pm CT
Where: Madison, Wis.; Kohl Center
Radio: Badger Radio Network
Last Meeting: Wisconsin Win, 76-60 (03/05/14)
All-Time Series: Purdue leads, 104-68
Projected Starting Lineups:
G Jon Octeus — Sr. 6-4 175 (8.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
G Kendall Stephens — So. 6-6 197 (11.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
G Rapheal Davis — Jr. 6-5 217 (9.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
F Vince Edwards — Fr. 6-7 220 (10.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
C Isaac Haas — Fr. 7-2 297 (10.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
G Traevon Jackson – Sr. 6-3, 207 (9.3 ppg, 3.1 apg)
G Josh Gasser – Sr. 6-4, 192 (7.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
F Sam Dekker – Jr. 6-9, 230 (12.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
F Nigel Hayes – So. 6-8, 235 (12.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
C Frank Kaminsky – Sr. 7-0, 242 (16.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg)
Key Matchup: Badgers frontcourt vs. Purdue frontcourt
Normally we’d say this is all about a specific player-on-player matchup, but for the first time there is potential for the Badgers to see two 7-footers on the court at the same time. Purdue will likely start freshman Isaac Haas and could very well bring on veteran A.J. Hammons to help combat the size advantage UW has elsewhere.
If that’s the case then look to Nigel Hayes to be a major player to watch in this game. He’ll need to be stout on the defensive end of the court, but his ability to draw defenders outside with some good shooting around the arc will be vital.
Add in Sam Dekker’s hot shooting and driving ability and you’ve got a frontcourt that is very dangerous. However, trying to go up against two 7-footers could change that. If the Badgers start shooting well from outside like they did against Northwestern on Sunday it will negate any potential advantage Purdue could have inside.
3 Important Numbers:
- 59.3%: Sam Dekker has come back from his injured ankle with a vengeance, shooting 59.3 percent from the field since his two game slump against Duke and Marquette. He’s also shooting 50 percent from deep in that six game stretch.
- 3: This number has a double meaning as the Badgers and Boilermakers get together at the Kohl Center on Wednesday night. It’s the number of times that Purdue has won at the Kohl Center, going 3-10 overall since the opening of the building. The number also happens to represent a potential 3-0 start for both Purdue and Wisconsin in conference play. Should the Boilermakers win, it would be just the second 3-0 start in Big Ten play under Matt Painter.
- +7.6: Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in rebounding margin, but this could be the first big test to the season-long dominance UW has had on the boards. Purdue can come at the Badgers with two 7-footers in freshman Isaac Haas and junior A.J. Hammons. Can the Badgers get it going on the boards against fellow giants?
Prediction: Wisconsin 75, Purdue 58
Matt Painters crew seems to have found something that works, but it has only played at home so far during Big Ten play and we all know going on the road is a very different animal in this league. Badgers basketball at the Kohl Center is also a giant step up from taking on the likes of Michigan and Minnesota so far.
While there are two nice players up front for the Boilermakers, I expect to see Frank Kaminsky put on a master-class on Purdue’s freshman big man, Isaac Haas. Between him and a very confident Sam Dekker on the wing it’s a dangerous time to be taking on the Badgers at home. Don’t be surprised to see Wisconsin win this game early and keep the foot on the gas.