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Wisconsin vs Purdue: UW Badger Basketball Preview

UW Badger Basketball
Wisconsin vs Purdue
Thursday 1/28/2010
TV: ESPN
Time: Sunday, 6:00 PM CT
Location: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, IN

Badger Game Preview - First Easy Trey:
1. The Badgers are 16-4 and ranked 16th in the nation, Purdue is ranked 12th and is 16-3 overall and 4-3 in the Big Ten . The Badgers beat Purdue at home 73-66 which started a very unexpected 3 game loosing streak for Purdue. Purdue followed up the loss with losses to Ohio State at home and Northwestern on the road, Purdue has beaten Illinois,Michigan,Iowa, and Minnesota. Purdue's big victories are against Tennessee and West Virginia yet they are still looking to beat an upper division Big Ten team.

2. Purdue starts JaJuan Johnson at forward and at the forwards Robbie Hummel and Kelsey Barlow, at the guards are Chris Kramer and E'Twaun Moore. Keaton Grant is the number one bench player if Barlow is in the staring lineup, against the Badgers last time Barlow came off the bench and scored 6 of Purdue's 9 bench points. Purdue has three players averaging in double digits in scoring Moore (17.5), Hummel (16.1) Johnson (14.2), against the Badgers in the first meeting it was Moore who did the damage with 24 points. Johnson was the Big Ten Player of the Week this last week.

3. The Badgers have won one of their last 33 games at Mackey arena which was a 77-68 win in 2005, so another loss would not be a huge surprise especially without Leuer. In fact the Badgers have won just 2 games at Mackey since it opened in 1965, the other win was 84-65 in 1972. The Badgers lost at Purdue last year 65-52 with Johnson and Hummel beating the Badgers with 20 and 15 points. The Badgers were led in scoring by Joe Krabenhoft, Marcus Landry, John Leuer, and Hughes with 13,9,9 and 9 points. Of course only Hughes will play in this game and he will be looking to do far better than his 3 for 11 shooting night a year ago at Mackey.

Badger Game Preview - Fast Break Keys to the Game:
1. The Badgers need to get off to a fast start, they can't afford to fall behind like they have been in recent games in the first half. The Badgers were down at the half 33-25 to PSU, the Badgers got down 13-3 and 21-10 against Michigan before bringing it closer at the half, against Ohio State they actually started out OK in the first couple minutes but were down 34-22 at the half in what turned into a loosing effort. So what has hurt the Badgers in the first half, it has been poor defensive intensity in particular not closing out on the three point shooters in addition to poor shot selection settling for to many threes instead of trying to penetrate with dribble drive.
2. The Badgers guards need to have a big game with it all starting with dribble penetration. Jon Leuer actually had a very poor scoring day in the win over Purdue earlier in the year, however it was the ability of the guards to drive and score or kick it out that keyed the win at home. In particular Jordan Taylor had a big night with penetration being the primary way he scored 23 points. Since that game Taylor has been struggling, however he exploded down the stretch against Michigan to carry the Badgers to victory. Purdue knows all about Taylor and they won't forget with his Michigan game so JBo and Hughes also need to be effective at looking to drive to the hoop as well.
3.  The Badgers need some three point shots to go down, they have been shooting a lot more treys since Leuer's injury but they haven't been falling. The fact is the Badgers can talk about taking it down low for easier points, however they will still be shooting more threes and they need to hit them. Jbo has been struggling from three in addition to Nankivil and up to his outburst so was Taylor. Nankivil seems to have solved the problem by taking long two pointers instead, and hopefully Taylor will come out on fire like he ended the Michigan game. JBo is a streaky shooter and you can count on that he has been putting in the effort to get his shot back, so hopefully it is there. With Wilson getting more minutes look for him to have an impact from behind the three point line as he looks very solid from that range. On the good news front they likely won't shoot worse from three point range than the last game against Purdue when they shot only 26.3%, if they do that again expect a sure loss.
4. The Badgers bench owned the Purdue bench scoring 34 points to their 9, however that was with Taylor coming off the bench. The Badgers bench is still likely to play a role in this game in a number of ways if the Badgers are going to win. The Badgers should still outscore Purdue off the bench with the way Wilson has been playing. In addition the Badgers have been coming from behind and winning games because the Badgers bench can keep the starters fresher than the other teams starters as Bo has kept role players in for more minutes than the other team, and finally when the Badgers bench players come in they all contribute effectively on the defensive end of the court.

Badger Game Preview Prediction:
The Badgers win this game 64-62 as Taylor,Hughes and JBo have a big game, in addition to Wilson and Evans scoring a combined 20 points and having key defensive stops.

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