The Wisconsin Badgers had to deal with some adversity at the start of the Big Ten schedule, but they have been able to overcome it – eventually anyway – and now sit in a position where they can not only seal up a decent seed in the NCAA Tournament but also earn a double-bye in the Big Ten conference tourney. But to do that, they will have to get by the Purdue Boilermakers, who have a national ranking they are trying to protect. The game will take place at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, IN at 7:30 PM ET on Sunday night.
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Three of the top four seeds in the upcoming Big Ten tournament are set, and Wisconsin and Purdue are battling it out for the last one. Well, sort of – Purdue can get one only if they win and Maryland loses to Indiana on Sunday. Wisconsin will get the #3 seed if they win.
In the basketball odds posted on this game, the home team is favored:
Wisconsin ventured out of the Big Ten early in the schedule and registered some victories over the likes of VCU, Syracuse and Temple, all of whom might find themselves in the Big Dance. But shortly before the start of the conference slate, they had to endure the shocking retirement of their mentor, head coach Bo Ryan, on December 15. Ryan later admitted to having an affair with a woman and as accused of making unauthorized use of university resources during this relationship, but was subsequently cleared.
In the Big Ten opener, with Greg Gard now at the helm, the Badgers lost 61-55 to Purdue, and had all kinds of problems slowing down the Boilermakers’ big man, seven-footer AJ Hammons, who had 24 points. That still looms as a problem, but BetAnySports patrons must acknowledge that this Wisconsin team has gotten itself together in a big way.
They have won eleven of the last twelve games, covering ten of them, and their list of victims has been very impressive, as it includes Michigan State, Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana and Iowa. In short, they have beaten everybody who is anybody in the conference. Except for Purdue, of course.
It is indeed true that even though the Badgers took some early lumps, their resume as of now favorably compares with that of the Boilermakers, who are ranked 13th by the coaches and 15th by the AP. Regardless of whether they get a top-four seed in the conference tournament (which starts on Wednesday), they should be in decent shape when the NCAA field is announced.
Meanwhile, Purdue, which averages almost 82 points at home en route to a 16-1 record in West Lafayette, has shot 55% over the last three games and has limited opponents to just 39% from the floor this year – roughly the same figure Wisconsin shot against them on their own home floor in that December meeting.
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