Before I go deeper into some of the numbers of the game let me first state this, Purdue won because Purdue was at home. Like Wisconsin, Purdue rarely, if ever, loses at home and is a beast to deal with when playing there. Ideally, these teams will meet up in the conference tournament on a neutral court so we get a better idea of how these teams match-up without either having the home-court edge. In the meantime we have to deal with idiot “experts” who cut Wisconsin down because they cannot win on the road due to this loss. I heard a couple of analysts say “Texas beats everyone on the road yet Wisconsin cannot beat Purdue.” Purdue is better than any team Texas has played but Kansas and I would argue Purdue is just as good as Kansas.
Another tidbit to keep in mind about Texas and Kansas, the Big 12 sucks. I mean really sucks, according to the Ken Pomeroy ratings, with four bad teams(Iowa State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State), five average teams (Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M), and only one other lock for the tournament in Missouri. The Big 10 has one bad team (Iowa), six average teams (Indiana, Northwestern, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Penn State), and four locks for the tourney (Purdue, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois).
My point is Texas winning on the road is a much easier task in the weaker Big 12, at least for this season. I would watch out for overrating Texas and Kansas when tourney time comes due to this weaker competition. The conference is not much better than the Colonial or the Atlantic 10 so the numbers for Texas and Kansas will be inflated. Personally, I really like Texas and think they are very good, but I would tread carefully with either team as I am sure all experts will have one or both in the final four. Both teams are being written into number one seeds with ink and I am not sure that conference deserves two one seeds.
Why Wisconsin Lost?
Beyond the main reason of playing at Purdue here are some of the stat comparisons that help explain the loss.
- Wisconsin was out-shot in effective field goal% 47.3 to 43.2. The Badgers have only won three games all year when the other team out-shot them.
- Purdue protected the ball. Wisconsin does not force a ton of turnovers but they usually get some. Purdue had the lowest turnover% of the season that Wisconsin has forced. When Wisconsin continued to make a mini-run to close the gap a turnover or two would have been crucial in getting over the hump but those turnovers never happened.
- Wisconsin slightly turned it over too much. The numbers were not that bad for the Badgers, 16.6% of their possessions is only a bit above their average of 13.8 but when compared to the ridiculous percentage for Purdue from above it did make the difference.
- The Badgers actually rebounded quite well as the offensive rebounding% was in their favor with the Badgers 39.7% and Purdue had 30.1. This edge could be misleading since the Badgers did not shoot as well so there were more misses to grab.
- Free throws. Purdue got to the line at a much better rate which is mostly due to the end of game free throws that iced the game.
It was a fairly tight game where Purdue held a lead for the majority of the game. The Badgers made a good run in the second half and at one point cut the lead down to two points with the ball. That possession ended with a JuJuan Johnson block shot that led to a runout and the Badgers were never able to get any closer.
In this game you just have to tip your hat to Purdue, they played better and deserved the win. I really hope these teams meet up again in the conference tournament on a neutral court.