Wisconsin Basketball: Badgers look to remain hot against Purdue Boilermakers

Koenig had a tough go of it. Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports
Koenig had a tough go of it. Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports /

The brutal opening conference road trip for the Wisconsin Badgers continues on Sunday when they take on the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette.

The Wisconsin Badgers will look to make it ten straight on Sunday afternoon when they attempt to make it a clean sweep in the state of Indiana as they take on the No. 20 Purdue Boilermakers.

Looking to accomplish a feat that has not been done since 1972, the Badgers will try to secure a road win at Indiana and Purdue in the same season for the first time in 44 years. Wisconsin defeated No. 25 Indiana on Tuesday 75-68.

Not only is a 44-year streak on the line, but the Badgers will also be looking to win at Indiana and Purdue in consecutive road games for the first time since Illinois did it in 1956.

The Boilermakers swept the Badgers a year ago, knocking off Wisconsin in the conference opener and the conference finale. This will be the only meeting between the two this season, meaning the winner will hold a great advantage if the league title comes down to any potential tiebreakers.

Highlighted in the press this week has been the importance of the Badgers and their ability to stop Purdue’s signature big men- Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan. Both big men are leading the team in scoring and rebounding, including 18.3 points and 12.9 rebounds from Swanigan. He has recorded a double double in all but three games this season.

“He’s just hungry,” Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft said of Swanigan, who also leads the Big Ten with 105 free throw attempts and is converting at a 77.1-percent clip from the line. “Rebounding is 90 percent heart, and he’s got as big a heart for it as anybody. He wants every single one of them on both ends of the floor. He’s one of the best rebounders we’ve seen in this league in a long time.”

There have been six 20-point, 20-rebound games recorded by Big Ten players since the 1996-97 season.

Swanigan has four of them.

It will certainly be a battle of the big men Sunday afternoon as Badgers’ forward Ethan Happ is having himself quite the season, perhaps a conference player-of-the-year type season if it weren’t for Swanigan’s dominance up to this point.

The Badgers have a history of struggling on the road versus Purdue, especially in Mackey Arena. Since its opening in 1967, Wisconsin has just four wins and 38 losses there. Purdue currently leads the all-time series 107-69.

Tip off is at 3:30 pm CT on CBS.