INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER  20: Head coach Matt Painter of the Purdue Boilermakers seen during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 20, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Purdue 94-63. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Badgers Basketball Preview: Purdue edition

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
TV: BTN
Radio: Badger Radio Network
Last Meeting: Wisconsin Win, 76-60 (03/05/14)
All-Time Series: Purdue leads, 104-68

 

Projected Starting Lineups:

Purdue

G Jon Octeus — Sr. 6-4 175 (8.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Kendall Stephens — So. 6-6 197 (11.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
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)
Isaac Haas — Fr. 7-2 297 (10.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg)

Wisconsin

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

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 25: Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives to the basket against A.J. Hammons #20 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on January 25, 2014 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Wisconsin defeated Purdue 72-58. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 25: Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives to the basket against A.J. Hammons #20 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on January 25, 2014 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Wisconsin defeated Purdue 72-58. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

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.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com

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