That was a case of the team with identity winning.
Wisconsin had Purdue on its heels. It had clawed back from a six point halftime deficit and had a five point advantage with just over three minutes. Right as Brent Musburger said something along the lines of "Hold on folks, this is NOT done, this Purdue team is too talented, TOO TALENTED folks to not put up a fight," the comeback commenced.
Keaton Grant hit a three. So did Chris Kramer. and Robbie Hummel. And that was it. Purdue never looked back. Hummel, the guy responsible for making the Kohl Center look vulnerable last season, help show again that your arena is only as good as you are.
The true difference down the stretch? Identity. The Boilermakers had reliable guys firing from downtown when it needed it most, guys it knew had a good chance at coming through for them. Wisconsin's last gasp effort down by two with under ten seconds involved its inexperienced freshman point guard wildly throwing the ball up with his left hand in the lane with eight seconds left.
At this point, the Badgers have absolutely no clue who to go to in that situation. I understand Jordan Taylor hit a couple of big shots against Iowa, and hasn't turned the ball over much in the Big Ten season, but that is really the best you can come up with? A team that starts two seniors, two juniors, and a sophomore, and you're having a freshman guard throwing up a prayer in the lane to tie it up?
And that's what it is. Purdue knew what it needed, knew who to go to, and converted down the stretch. After Adam Hoge speculated that the Badgers might not make the tournament, it appears as now that they are definitely on the outside looking in.
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