Wisconsin (11-16, 4-10 Big Ten) will host Purdue (23-4, 12-2 Big Ten) on Thursday night in Madison. The game will begin after a ceremony to retire Badger legend Frank Kaminsky’s No. 44, just the second jersey alongside Ab Nicholas’ No. 8 to be retired in the Kohl Center.
Purdue will pose a strong challenge for the Badgers, who have dropped six of their past seven contests. A major weakness for Wisconsin of late has been their perimeter defense, something the Badgers struggled mightily with during their last contest versus Michigan, which does not bode well for them considering the Boilermakers strength in outside shooting.
In the two teams’ last match up in West Lafayette, Wisconsin allowed Purdue to shoot 64 percent from the field on just 22 shots. The Boilermakers have five players with over three 3-pointers per game with each of them shooting at least 40 percent from beyond the arc.
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Carsen Edwards and Vince Edwards, no relation, are the team’s two most prolific shooters. They are averaging 16.9 and 15.1 points on 40 percent and 41 percent 3-point field goals respectively. As a forward though, Vince is able to generate more action on the glass with 7.8 rebounds per game compared to Carsen, who averages 3.8 as a point guard.
Purdue’s third-leading scorer is Isaac Haas, a force in the paint with a 61 percent field goal percentage and 5.3 rebounds. However, Haas is the only starter who is not a threat from beyond the arc as the center has yet to shoot a 3-point shot this season.
Coach Greg Gard addressed how to tackle a team that has such a strong outside and inside presence.
“With Haas being mostly in the paint they stretch you with four guys but you have such a load inside. You have a guy that’s really two guys it’s like playing six on five with Haas inside on his own. Some teams have chosen to double him. Some teams have chosen not to double him. We did a little bit of both the last time and I think it’s one of those where you pick your poison,” Gard said.
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Tip off will begin at 6 p.m. with live coverage on ESPN. If you’re attending the game be sure to arrive by 5:45 to watch Frank Kaminsky and other former Badger stars celebrate the jersey retirement and Kaminsky’s legacy.