The Kohl Center will be the epicenter of Madison and college basketball Tuesday night for a top ten showdown with the Big Ten regular-season title in the air. No. 10 University of Wisconsin Badgers (23-5, 14-4 Big Ten) faces the No. 8 Purdue University Boilermakers (24-5, 13-5) in a rematch from earlier this season which resulted in a 74-69 victory for UW in West Lafayette.
The stakes are higher this time around, as UW has an opportunity to clinch a share of the regular-season conference title with a win. Just ahead of the conference tournament is the best time for a team to peak and the Badgers have an opportunity to do that with a season sweep over Purdue to add to their existing four-game winning streak.
In the previous matchup, sophomore Johnny Davis scored 37 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to elevate UW to a win despite foul trouble in the frontcourt. The Badgers, especially Steven Crowl, Tyler Wahl and Chris Vogt, will look to stay out of foul trouble in order to handle the massive size Purdue presents inside with Zach Edey and Trevion Williams.
Davis’ impressive game also masked a 25% shooting performance from the behind-the-arc for Wisconsin. Improved 3-point shooting would be a plus on Tuesday as the Boilermakers can be tough to keep up with offensively. Head coach Greg Gard continues to trust Brad Davison to let it fly — the senior shot 4-8 from deep in the Badgers win against Rutgers and will look for a similar performance in one of his last games in Madison.
Purdue sophomore Jaden Ivey will be of note for UW defensively, along with their twin towers inside. Ivey averages 17.3 points a game on the season and is a dangerous player both driving to the rim and from 3-point range. In the first matchup between these teams, Ivey shot just 3-9 for 14 points, a stat-line the Badgers will hope to replicate.
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While Wisconsin was written off by some before the season even started, they have a chance on Tuesday to put the college basketball world on notice. Purdue has an arsenal of scoring options and averages 81.6 points per game, so UW needs to stay sharp defensively and make shots on the other end to avoid big scoring runs.
A victory over Purdue would put UW in a great position to enter postseason play with momentum, as well as a likely one-seed in the conference tournament. The Boilermakers will test UW on the defensive end, but the Badgers have a great chance to win if they stay out of foul trouble and come up big on the offensive side when it matters most.