Purdue vs. Wisconsin Basketball: Keys for the Boilermakers Against the Badgers

James EvensCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2012

Purdue vs. Wisconsin Basketball: Keys for the Boilermakers Against the Badgers

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    Purdue and Wisconsin are set to be the big game of Thursday night in the world of Big Ten basketball, and surely they will not disappoint.

    Wisconsin comes into Mackey Arena with a record of 12-5, including a 1-3 record in conference play. After its early conference play win against Nebraska, the Badgers went on a three-game slid including an ugly loss to Iowa at home and an overtime loss against Michigan State.

    Purdue is 13-4 and 3-1 in conference play. The Boilermakers got put back to reality against Penn State after losing to the Nittany Lions big on the road but Purdue responded with a victory against Minnesota.

    This game is important to both teams, as Purdue is looking to stay in conference contention, and the Badgers are trying not to be knocked out of it with four straight conference losses.

    Here are the keys for Purdue to defeat Wisconsin.  

Contain Jordan Taylor

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    Let's face it—stopping Jordan Taylor completely is out of the question, but it is possible to contain him, something that will be important for Purdue if it expects to win this game. 

    Taylor, the senior PG out of Bloomington, Minnesota, started off the season extremely slow after such a great junior season but seems to have it all together.

    He is only averaging 13.6 per game, but he dropped 28 on Michigan State in the over-time loss.

    Although he may not be having an outstanding senior season, Taylor is still a force to be reckoned with and needs to be contained.  Expect to see Barlow on him most of the night, as he might be a little tall for Lewis Jackson, but both are capable of guarding him. 

Feed off the Crowd

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    There has been a lot of talk recently about why the Penn State loss occurred. Some think the Boilers just got out-played, and others think that the lack of crowd could have been an issue.

    The Boilermakers won't have that problem in a sold-out Mackey Arena that is surely going to have the roof taken off of it.

    With the students back from break, it's essential for Purdue to feed off the crowd's energy and make it impossible for the Badgers to win.  

Keep Ryan Evans in Check

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    Ryan Evans, or the Fresh Prince, is a great player that has the potential to just explode on a team. Evans is really athletic and will require a lot of attention in the post and near the perimeter. 

    Look for Hummel to spend some time on Evans, but DJ Byrd is probably a better option as the two match-up well.

    Getting a hand in Evans' face is important to prevent him from having a good game and making easy baskets. 

Get Transition Points out of Turnovers

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    Purdue seemed to turn into a transition team over night and is arguably the best in the Big Ten at running the floor. 

    Maybe it's the smaller lineup that is being played, but Purdue can flat-out run the court almost Big East style. 

    With Purdue forcing so many turnovers, it will be essential for Purdue to capitalize on it with some quick transition buckets. 

Stay out of Foul Troubles with the Bigs

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    Every season, Wisconsin has those big guys with short hair that make us all want to pull our own hair out, and that isn't changing anytime soon. 

    It will be really important for Purdue to stay out of trouble with the big guys. It's yet to be known if Sandi will be available, but really—does he matter? 

    It's just crucial to keep Lawson out of foul trouble along with Carroll. Lawson's athleticism could be a huge advantage for Purdue in the paint this week. 

Shoot at Least 70% from the Line

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    Man, would it be nice to be shooting at least 70 percent from the line in this game. 

    With a physical Wisconsin team in Mackey Arena, it will be key for Purdue to improve a bit on free throws. 

    Terone Johnson, I'm talking to you. Just knock them down, man. Make it a floater if you have to—just make it, for heaven's sake. 

Make Wisconsin Speed Up

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    Wisconsin is known for slow play and using the clock. It likes to use all of the shot clock before taking a shot and just play a slow-paced game, but the Boilermakers can change that.

    Putting a lot of pressure on the ball and taking out the passing lanes will be crucial for Purdue in this game. Hurting Wisconsin's usual flow is something that needs to take place in order for the Boilers to really succeed defensively in this one.

Get a Productive Game from the Bench

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    Purdue's bench has been important throughout the season, and that remains the same against Wisconsin. 

    Look for D.J. Byrd to get a lot of minutes after going off against Minnesota from the three-point line, as well as for his defense against Evans.

    Lawson will more than likely come off the bench as well, and John Hart will likely be key in this one as well.

    Whoever it is, it has been proven that for this team to succeed at least one person off the bench has to have a good game. 

Don't Let off the Gas

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    Purdue has been getting these big leads this season and then goes into defensive mode and blows the lead. 

    It almost happened against Minnesota, as well. In essence, Purdue just needs to keep being aggressive and hitting shots, no matter what the lead.

    To read more on this, click here. 

Lewis Jackson: The Takeover Edition

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    Lew-Jack has been playing great this season and is one of the most underrated guards in the country, mainly due to him being overlooked for his size, but Jackson can shred defenses.

    Look at Minnesota, for example—Lew-Jack was by far the smallest guy on the floor, but he also had 20 points and was shredding the zone defense.

    Purdue seems to go as Lewis goes, so Jackson needs to have a good effort for Purdue to win this one.