Purdue Boilermaker Basketball: Previewing The Grudge Match Against Wisconsin

James EvensCorrespondent IFebruary 15, 2011

CHAMPAIGN, IL - FEBRUARY 13: JaJuan Johnson #25 of the Purdue Boilermakers gets free for a dunk against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall on February 13, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Purdue defeated Illinois 81-70. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 12th ranked Purdue Boilermakers will face off against the 10th ranked Wisconsin Badgers in West Lafayette, Indiana, in what should be a great Big Ten match-up with potential title implications.  

In their first meeting, the Badgers took the victory 66-59 in a close game until the end.

At Wisconsin, it was a story of the two star seniors in John Leuer and JaJuan Johnson respectively.

Leuer had a great performance, scoring 24 points and 13 rebounds on the night. Johnson had a good night as well, scoring 23 points and three blocks on the night. 

For the Badgers, the guard play of Jordan Taylor and Josh Gasser who combined for 26 points and seven assists really helped the Badgers over the Boilermakers.

In addition, they were given a spark from the bench by Ryan Evans. Evans, who rocks the flat-top fresh-prince style, provided a few momentum swinging dunks and 10 points off the bench for the Badgers.  

He was able to really hurt the Boilermakers because of his size, and the Boilers lack there of. 

For the Boilers, the key offensively to this game will be getting E'Twaun Moore established early. Moore has been on and off this season and this is one of the those nights that the Boilermakers really need him on his game.

The 6'3" guard is averaging 17.8 points per game and is a lock-down defender. Smooge has the ability to score big-time points and will need a big game against the Badgers. Moore is very comfortable in the friendly confines of Mackey Arena, as he is averaging 19.3 points per game at home.

JaJuan Johnson will also be very key in this game. Johnson the 6'10" national player of the year candidate needs to have a huge game against the Wisconsin big men.

The key to this game, however, for the Boilermakers will be in the play of the bench and defense.

The Boilermaker bench needs to be able to play productive minutes without fouling and without turnovers.  The big men especially need to step up, including Bade and Carroll who will likely see more time than normal.

Purdue was killed on the boards in their first match-up with the Badgers 31 to 23. I'm sure Matt Painter is really focused on winning this battle Wednesday night.

Although Wisconsin is coming off a great win against Ohio State the history is on the Boilermakers side. The Badgers have won in Mackey two times in the last 40 years, and it should be a very rowdy crowd Wednesday night.

The Boilermakers should win this match-up, but in the Big Ten, anything can happen.


James Evens serves as a National Featured Columnist for college football and basketball as well as the FC for the Purdue Boilermakers.   

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