Championship Game – Purdue
Previous meetings this season
January 11 (at Wisconsin): Purdue 84, Wisconsin 80 (OT)
As I said in the last slide, I personally do not think the Badgers will make it to Sunday. However, it certainly is not beyond the realm of possibility by any stretch, and I hope I’m wrong.
Should Wisconsin win its first two games in the tournament, its last obstacle will most likely be Purdue or Michigan. Because the Boilermakers are the higher seed and have been so hot lately (winners of six of their last seven) my money is on them to make it to the championship game.
In Wisconsin’s loss to Purdue earlier this season, the Badgers fell in large part because of shooting themselves in the foot. They have averaged 9.4 turnovers a game this season (No. 4 in the country) but coughed the ball up 17 times against the Boilermakers. Purdue has been good on defense this season, but not that good. The good news for Wisconsin fans is I don’t envision the Badgers struggling to that extent again against the Boilermakers on Sunday, especially if they have been playing well enough to dispatch of teams like Maryland and Michigan State in consecutive days.
It also isn’t likely that star guard Carsen Edwards replicates his last performance against Wisconsin. The first team All-Big Ten selection racked up 36 points against the Badgers in January, and whenever one player fills it up that much, you’re going to have a pretty hard time winning that game. I would expect Edwards to hover more around his scoring average of 23 in Round 2 against this Wisconsin defense.
Again, I do not believe the Badgers will make it this far. However, should they find a way to advance to Sunday’s championship game, it’ll probably mean they have been playing lights-out on both ends of the court. The same could obviously be said of the Boilermakers as well, but my gut tells me that Wisconsin will not lose twice to this Purdue team, and should this matchup materialize, the Badgers will take care of business and take home the tournament crown.
All stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com