It’s been troubling times in the Wisconsin camp as of late, as the Badgers are in the midst of a three game losing streak and struggling to find their defensive muscle. Before the Big Ten race gets too far out of reach, the Badgers must now begin to get back to their winning ways when they travel to Purdue Saturday night to take on the Boilermakers.
Unfortunately for Bo Ryan and his squad, Mackey Arena is a place the Badgers have had very little success over the years.
In fact Purdue has caused many fits for the Badgers. Purdue leads the all-time series 105-65 and an impressive 68-17 record at home against Wisconsin. Coach Ryan has had some success against the Boilermakers, boasting an 8-10 record and responsible for the Badgers only two victories in Mackey Arena since 1972 (2005 and 2012).
Don’t forget it was the Boilermakers who spoiled senior day for the Badgers last season, winning at the Kohl Center 69-56.
Now that the history lesson is over with for now, let’s get to the matter at hand.
The Badgers have lost their defensive toughness in the last three games. Sure they’ve been able to put up points, but not being able to stop the opposition score has cost Wisconsin three straight games with most of the points coming in the paint.
Purdue center A.J. Hammons when motivated can be a hand full in the paint as he will look to expose the Badgers weak-of-late defense in the lane. The Johnson brothers, Ronnie and Terone, are the team’s top two scorers and will see if they can’t find success using their quickness to drive the lane and put up good shots.
If those three have a big game for the Boilermakers, the Badgers could be looking at a shocking four game losing streak after torching the start of the season with a 16-0 record.
Defense will be the name of the game for the Badgers. Both Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky must protect the lane force Purdue to take bad shots. The backcourt of Traevon Jackson, Ben Brust and Josh Gasser also have to do a better job of stopping the ball handler from being able to get to the paint so easily. A lot of that also has to do with the way the Badgers are defending ball screens, something that has burned Wisconsin as of late.
If there was ever a time a 16-3 team was faced with a must-win game, that time is now for the Wisconsin Badgers.