Preview: Purdue at Wisconsin
A win over Purdue in late January provided Wisconsin with a much-needed jolt during one of its worst stretches under coach Bo Ryan, sending the teams in opposite directions since. The 11th-ranked Badgers, who close out their home schedule on Wednesday against the Boilermakers, dropped five out of six games from Jan. 14-Feb. 1 to bring the momentum created from a school-record 16-0 start to a screeching halt. Wisconsin's only victory over that stretch was 72-58 at Purdue.
The Badgers proceeded to lose their next two games at home, but enter this contest as the hottest team in the Big Ten following their seventh straight win on Sunday at Penn State. The victory guaranteed Wisconsin yet another top-four finish in the Big Ten - the Badgers have ended the season no worse than fourth in each of Ryan's 13 seasons - while another win would extend the Boilermakers' misery. Purdue, which dropped its sixth straight road contest Sunday at Iowa, has lost four in a row and nine of 11 overall.
TV: 8 p.m., Big Ten Network
About Purdue (15-14, 5-11)
The Boilermakers recorded a season-worst minus-11 turnover differential and were outscored 18-4 off those miscues on Sunday, continuing a recent trend of offensive inefficiency. Over the last three contests, Purdue has committed 20 more giveaways than its opponents (41-21), leading to a 48-17 disadvantage in points off turnovers. Sterling Carter (torn ACL) and Jay Simpson(dizziness) have each missed the last two games due to injuries, forcing coach Matt Painter to cut his bench minutes nearly in half (84.7 minutes in the first 27 games to 44.5 over the last two).
About Wisconsin (24-5, 11-5)
The Badgers ended last season shooting a Big Ten-worst 63.4 percent from the foul line (good for 323rd in Division I), but rank second in the conference and 16th overall with a 75.4-percent mark this season. Wisconsin, which also averages a NCAA-low 8.1 turnovers, isn't giving its opponents much margin for error during its winning streak, averaging 7.7 turnovers while going 132-of-164 from the charity stripe. "We're making our free throws, which is big. Not only are we making them but we're making them at the right times," Badgers guard Ben Brust told the school's official website.
1. The Boilermakers ended the Badgers' 11-game winning streak in home finales with last season's 69-56 victory at the Kohl Center.
2. Purdue is the only Big Ten team with a winning record against Wisconsin in the Ryan era (10-9).
3. The Badgers have made as many or more free throws than their opponent has attempted in 21 of their 29 games.
PREDICTION: Wisconsin 73, Purdue 56