Purdue and Wisconsin faced off twice during the 2015-16 campaign. Greg Gard and the Badgers would come out on the losing end of both of those matchups, and Purdue was the only Big Ten team to beat Wisconsin twice last season. This year, the Badgers (13-2, 2-0) will look to flip the script and continue their run of dominance that has developed into a nine-game winning streak against the Boilermakers (13-3, 2-1). The game will be televised on CBS at 3:30 p.m. CT.
G: Bronson Koenig (14.3 PPG, 1.9 APG)
G: Zak Showalter (8.5 PPG, 2.5 APG)
F: Nigel Hayes (13.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.2 APG)
F: Vitto Brown (7.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG)
C: Ethan Happ (13.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG)
G: P.J. Thompson (7.7 PPG, 3.6 APG)
G: Dakota Mathias (9.9 PPG, 3.9 APG)
G: Carsen Edwards (10.8 PPG, 2.0 APG)
F: Caleb Swanigan (18.3 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 2.8 APG)
F: Vince Edwards (12.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.8 APG)
The Boilermakers stormed out to a 12-2 record, but have faced a little bit of adversity over their last couple of games. Purdue lost at Minnesota in overtime in their second Big Ten contest. Following that, they battled Ohio State in a game that went down to the wire, but Matt Painter’s squad was able to fend off the Buckeyes in a 76-75 win.
One of the best matchups of the year will be watching how and what the Badgers decide to do with the Boilermakers’s monster down low, Caleb Swanigan. Swanigan has been one of the most productive players in the entire nation, averaging 18.3 PPG, 12.9 RPG, and 2.8 APG. The Badgers batted .500 last year against Swanigan, as he went scoreless in one game but erupted for 27 points and eight rebounds in the other.
Nigel Hayes won Preseason Big Ten POY, but so far, Swanigan may be setting the pace for the award. Swanigan has four 20 rebound games, and in all of those, he scored at least 20 points. In fact, Swanigan has only been held to single digit rebounds twice this year and has recorded at least 10 boards in every game since December 3rd.
Seeing how the Badgers initially defend, you would assume with Happ or Hayes, will be very interesting. Once 7’0″ behemoth Isaac Haas (13.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG) enters the game, it will be even more difficult for the Badgers to control the boards and the paint. Haas has started every game this year except for the last one, so he could easily be moved back into the starting lineup by Purdue coach Matt Painter for Sunday’s matchup.
Highly touted Purdue freshman Carsen Edwards is having a solid year, averaging 10.8 PPG and 2.0 APG. If Edwards and D’Mitrik Trice face off individually, it could be a nice look into the future for the bright young guards.
Purdue moves the ball extraordinarily well, averaging 20 assists per game as a team. Painter gets solid passing production from all his players. Three Boilermakers average nearly four assists per game, including forward Vince Edwards. Swanigan even gets involved in that phase, averaging more assists than Wisconsin point guard Bronson Koenig.
Nigel Hayes led the Badgers in scoring in both outings against Purdue last year, including dropping 30 in Mackey Arena.