Not many teams have had success at the Kohl Center since Bo Ryan took over, but Matt Painter has a bizarre hex on the place. Here are his results since his first game during the 2006-07 season:
1/17/2007 #2 Wisconsin 69, Purdue 64
2/9/2008 #24 Purdue 60, #8 Wisconsin 56
1/27/2009 #16 Purdue 64, Wisconsin 63
1/9/2010 #17 Wisconsin 73, #4 Purdue 66
2/1/2011 #19 Wisconsin 66, #11 Purdue 59
3/3/2013 Purdue 69, #17 Wisconsin 56
3/5/2014 #9 Wisconsin 76, Purdue 70
Since Purdue has only lost twice at home to Wisconsin under coach Painter that means he has a winning record against the Badgers, and that is a good backdrop for today's Q&A with Phil MItten of Bucky's 5th Quarter:
T-Mill: It's a battle for first place in Madison! Coach Painter's teams have always done well there even when their record is not so good. How do you explain it?
Phil: Yeah, the Baby Boilers had some unprecedented success against Wisconsin in general, and to this day that 13-loss in 2013 is one of the strangest games I've ever seen (the "D.J. Byrd-splosion"). I think a lot of it has to do with their style and attitude. Traditionally, Purdue played a very scrappy, in-your-face style of defense that could cause the Badgers turnovers and anxiety more so than others. Throw in a couple of those Indiana-bred shooters with a defense-first attitude and the Boilers can occasionally beat the Badgers at their own game.
T-Mill: From a Wisconsin perspective does the Big Ten season look easier after all the struggles in the non conference (Purdue, Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, etc.)?
Phil: That's one way to put it. As a Wisconsin fan, I don't see any automatic losses like I normally do -- although that trip to College Park, Md. is looking pretty dreadful already isn't it? On the other hand, it's almost more frightening. It doesn't feel like we really know who any of these teams are yet. Odds are, at least of couple of them (Michigan State likely being one) are going to be very tough outs in a month or so.
T-Mill: Purdue has been very poor defending the three-pointer this season. Who makes the Boilers pay on Wednesday?
Phil: If I may, allow me to choose a 1-2 punch of Frank Kaminsky and Duje Dukan. I predict Kaminsky bounces back by being able to stretch Hammons and Haas out of their comfort zone. I think he'll see some good looks and is due to knock some down. Though Josh Gasser has the best percentage on the team from deep, I think Purdue's length could keep Gasser from getting as open as he'd like. Dukan shot well against Northwestern and with his size and relative anonymity, he might be the poison Purdue picks to beat them.
T-Mill: Who on Purdue do you fear the most?
Phil: Honestly, I don't feel like I know any of these guys, but what I fear is a guy like Rapheal Davis making hustle plays, getting his team fired up and having a great all-around game. In true Sandi Marcius-style. Those guys are the difference makers in a slugfest.
T-Mill: How do you see Wednesday night's game playing out?
Phil: I'm really interested to see how Purdue uses the twin towers. If using Isaac Haas keeps A.J. Hammons fresh and focused, maybe Hammons finally has a good showing against Wisconsin. But I also cannot see Haas staying with Kaminsky for any stretch of time, which kind of bursts that bubble. My keys to the game would be containing Kendall Stephens from going off and then offensively, hope that Sam Dekker stays aggressive. If so, there is just too much firepower up front from Wisconsin. Maybe 77-68, Badgers?