This is March.
Jon Rothstein being a huge dweeb aside, March is an excellent month full of exciting college basketball and here on the first day of the month the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers (23-5 overall, 14-4 Big Ten) men’s basketball team welcomes the No. 8 Purdue Boilermakers (24-5 overall, 13-5 Big Ten) to the Kohl Center with a share of the Big Ten regular season title on the line. It barely gets any bigger than this in the whole sport.
The Badgers are rolling right now, winners of four straight games and eight of their last 10. Purdue is coming off of a close loss at Michigan State on Saturday but have also won eight of their last 10 games. With both teams still battling for the Big Ten regular season crown, Tuesday night’s game should be a barn burner.
Welcome to March. GAME DAY❕— Wear White Tuesday Night (@BadgerMBB) March 1, 2022
If you’ll be at the Kohl Center:
1. Badger gear!
2. Show up with ENERGY!!
3. Help us create a special night!!! pic.twitter.com/gwxm7KZZag
A couple of quick conference title scenarios for you:
- if Wisconsin beats Purdue or Nebraska, they clinch at least a share of the title
- if Wisconsin beats Purdue and Nebraska, they clinch the title outright
- The scenarios for seeding in the Big Ten Tournament are vast and I will not be discussing all of them. Here is an excellent table from Spartan Dan over at The Only Colors. He updates it after games end and it goes through the, literally, thousands of scenarios for us!
Range of possible seeds by team:— SpartanDan (@dbaker3448) March 1, 2022
The Badgers and Boilermakers have already met once this year. You may remember that Wisconsin won at Purdue for basically the only time in history, Johnny Davis had a MONSTER game, and it was awesome. Davis had 37 points and 14 rebounds and took over the game near the end to will the Badgers across the finish line.
One major thing to keep an eye on in the rematch is Zach Edey and Trevion Williams down low. The two of them combined to foul out Steven Crowl, Tyler Wahl and Chris Vogt in the first matchup this year, with none of the three Badgers able to play more than 23 minutes. Crowl and Wahl have been playing quite well lately and losing them for extended periods of time on Tuesday night could prove to be the edge Purdue needs to win.
Purdue sharpshooter Sasha Stefanovic was only 1-of-5 from deep against Wisconsin their first game and I can’t imagine he’ll shoot that poorly again. On the season he is shooting 39.9% on high volume. Mason Gillis is also someone to be aware of at all times beyond the arc. He was 3-of-4 against UW and is making 45.7% of his threes all season.
The Wisconsin crowd should be absolutely electric since the game doesn’t tip-off until 8 p.m. CT, it’s a White Out and a conference title is on the line. While normally you might worry about a younger team, like the Badgers, being TOO amped up for this game, their performance in hostile road venues all season shows that sorta stuff does not bother them.
Four of Purdue’s five losses this year have been on the road to Big Ten teams. Their fifth loss was to Wisconsin. This should be a really exciting game and we are counting down the minutes to tip-off.
How to watch/listen
TV: ESPN, 8:00 p.m. CT, Jason Benetti, Robbie Hummel, Myron Medcalf
Streaming: ESPN App; Watch ESPN
Radio/Satellite: WIBA 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 195; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas
Live stats: Here!
Arena: Kohl Center, Madison, Wis.
DraftKings Line: Wisconsin +2.5
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 45%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 47%
Fun facts (according to the media guides)
- Wisconsin needs just one win to clinch its 20th Big Ten regular season championship. The Badgers only trail Purdue (24), Indiana (22) and OSU (20) for most conference titles.
- Wisconsin has won five Big Ten regular season titles since 2000 (2002, 2003, 2008, 2015 and 2020), trailing only Michigan State (eight) for the most titles during that span.
- Wisconsin’s 23-5 record matches the school’s 4th-best 28-game start in program history.
- The Badgers have 14 Big Ten wins for just the fifth time in program history, including the third time under Greg Gard.
- The Badgers are 14-1 in games decided by six or fewer points — the most “close” wins in Division I. In fact, UW has won 14 straight games decided by two or fewer possessions.
You ready, Badger Nation?!— Chucky Hepburn (@ChuckyHepburn) March 1, 2022
WEAR WHITE gear to the game and BE LOUD tomorrow night! Kohl Center needs to be hype START to FINISH! pic.twitter.com/VPM7kTl9rx
- Tuesday’s game will mark the 185th meeting between Wisconsin and Purdue in a series that began in 1906.
- Purdue leads the all-time series, 111-73.
- Tuesday’s game also marks the lowest combined ranking (18) between Purdue (8) and Wisconsin (10) in series history.
- The Badgers hold a 51-38 advantage in games played in Madison. Wisconsin is 13-5 against the Boilermakers at the Kohl Center.
- UW won at Purdue earlier this year, their first win there since 2014 and just their fifth win all-time at Mackey Arena.
- If the Badgers win on Tuesday night it will also be their first season sweep of Purdue since 2014.
- Johnny Davis tallied 37 points and 14 rebounds earlier this season at Purdue, the most points scored by a Badger vs. the Boilermakers.
- In seven career games vs. Purdue, Brad Davison has averaged 11.4 points per game. He has scored in double figures five times with a high of 16 as a freshman.
- In the last three games in this series, one team has scored 69 points. However, only once, a 69-65 win by the Badgers in Madison in 2020, has that point total been the winning one.
- Purdue is 24-0 in games it scores 70 or more points this season. In games held under 70 points, Purdue is 0-5.
- Davis is the only Big Ten player to lead his team in ppg (20.5), rpg (8.3) and apg (2.3). When facing AP Top-25 foes, Davis’ averages jump up to 25.3 ppg and 8.6 rpg. That is the top scoring average against top-25 teams of anyone in the nation.
- Under Gard over the last four seasons, UW has 52 Big Ten wins, the most in the league over that span (Purdue has 51). Among major conference teams, only Virginia (55), Duke (53) and Kansas (53) have more league victories.
- Gard also has recorded nine top-10 wins as Wisconsin’s head coach, including one against Purdue earlier this year.
- Tyler Wahl is averaging 11.9 ppg and 6.5 rpg in Big Ten play, shooting 54.6% FG.
Tyler Wahl (@tjwahl01) watched the @BadgerMBB Final Four runs as a kid.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 28, 2022
He knew back then that he wanted to play for the Badgers, and even included it on his life goals.@BTNJourney spotlights the junior's path to Madison ⤵️.
Fueled by @Gatorade pic.twitter.com/iqWaUl9eiD
- Chucky Hepburn leads all Big Ten freshman averaging 2.3 apg and his 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio is tops among rookies. In last seven games: 9.3 ppg with 21 assists and seven TOs.
- Wisconsin is 12-1 in games this season when Big Steve Crowl scores in double figures.
- Over the last five games, Crowl is averaging 11.8 points per game shooting 63.9% from the floor, 50.0% 3FG (5-10), and 8-for-10 FT.
- Purdue needs one win for 25 this season, which would mark the 15th season in school history with 25 wins, including nine under Matt Painter.
- In two career games against the Badgers, Purdue’s big man Zach Edey has averaged 22.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg while shooting 18-of-28 (64.2%) from the floor.
- Over the last four games, Purdue is allowing 66.3 points per game, holding three of four opponents under 70 points.
- Purdue has never had a season where it shot 50-40-70 from the three levels, but is trying to do that this year. It’s currently shooting 50.3 / 39.9 / 71.1 from the three levels and has six players shooting over 40% from three, and one shooting 39.9%.
Heading to Madison today. pic.twitter.com/D7oAX4pzRm— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) February 28, 2022
- Jaden Ivey needs 116 points and 15 assists throughout the rest of the year to become the third player in school history with 600 points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists in the same season.
- Johnny Davis, 6-foot-5, sophomore, guard, No. 1
- Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 5
- Steven Crowl, 7-foot, sophomore, forward, No. 22
- Chucky Hepburn, 6-foot-2, freshman, guard, No. 23
- Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, super senior, guard, No. 34
- Mason Gillis, 6-foot-6, sophomore, forward, No. 0
- Eric Hunter, Jr., 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 2
- Zach Edey, 7-foot-4, sophomore, center, No. 15
- Jaden Ivey, 6-foot-4, sophomore, guard, No. 23
- Sasha Stefanovic, 6-foot-5, senior, guard, No. 55