Take Two: Purdue Seeks Revenge As Wisconsin Comes to Mackey
From where I sit in the comfort of my dorm room, I can look out the window and see the sun glistening off the snow on this wonderful Purdue campus.
Slightly to the left, the sun reflects off the golden-roofed Mackey Arena, where emotions will run high tomorrow night against the Wisconsin Badgers.
Almost three weeks ago, the Boilermakers rolled into Madison boasting one of only four undefeated records left in Division-1. A few hours later, a one showed up in Purdue's loss column.
Though the Boilermakers have dropped two more games since that fateful day in Wisconsin, there certainly will be a grudge held against Bo's Badgers—a grudge that is sure to fuel Purdue's fire.
After starting out 4-3 in conference play, Purdue has much to prove over the remainder of Big Ten play. If Purdue can knock off Wisconsin, it will pull them within half a game of second place behind Michigan State, who has yet to lose to a conference team.
Without a doubt, the Badgers will come to West Lafayette to put up a fight, but now the tables have turned.
This time around, Purdue possesses the two key factors which contributed to Wisconsin's big win on Jan. 9: home court and motivation.
Wisconsin has one of the most ludicrous home records, maintaining almost a 93 percent win percentage since Bo Ryan took over the program in the early 2000's. Hardly any team can win at the Kohl Center.
However, this isn't just because the players know the grain in the wood of the floor better, or know how the ball bounces off the rims at the Kohl Center. The Badgers win in Madison consistently because of the Wisconsin faithful.
Game after game, their arena is packed with some of the loudest and craziest fans in the nation (or as I like to call them, The Badger Brigade). With that much moral support behind a team, it's hard to lose with thousands of others rooting you forward.
And that is exactly what will be happening in Mackey Arena on Thursday. With the 60's-style domed aluminum roof, Mackey is undoubtedly one of the most loud-friendly venues in the country.
Just like always, the 14,123 people who pack into the arena tomorrow night will be louder than ever cheering on the old, gold, and black. The reason they will be even louder than ever?
They are all back with a vengeance.
I think Kentucky freshman John Wall said it best when he was quoted saying “We're everybody's Super Bowl.” This was the same case for Purdue back in Madison.
Wisconsin had the chance to taint one of the only flawless records remaining. They made Purdue their “Super Bowl.” Wisconsin players and fans came out more ready than ever to play one of the best, and they did just that.
But once again, the tables have been turned. Purdue is back for revenge.
Yes, I can argue fate, which I have before, is why Wisconsin beat Purdue a few weeks back, as it is reminiscent of the 1993-94 season when Wisconsin handed then-14-0 Purdue their first loss.
And just as Purdue did in that season, when the Badgers come into West Lafayette, the Boilers will be returning the favor.
In addition to these two huge factors, Purdue has another on their side.
Wisconsin's big man Jon Leuer suffered a broken wrist in the 73-66 win over Purdue which will keep him sidelined Thursday. Even though Leuer only scored four points, the 6’10” junior was able to help hold JuJaun Johnson to seven points, less than half of which Johnson has been averaging. If Purdue can take advantage of this Badger loss and get the ball to Johnson underneath, they should be golden.
Back in 1994, after losing on the road to Wisconsin 69-75, the Boilermakers took down Wisconsin a few weeks later at home 67-64.
67-64 is a little too generous, though. Too generous to Wisconsin.
Purdue will take this one, 71-61, as we see Purdue return to the Purdue of those first 14 games.
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