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Game Preview and Odds: #3 Purdue vs. #24 Wisconsin

New Year and the Big Ten season is in full swing.

NCAA Basketball: Nicholls State at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

A top-25 Big Ten match-up between #3 Purdue hosting #24 Wisconsin will have one of the first marquee match-ups between potential Big Ten Players of the Year.

While Purdue has as many as three potential players of the year, it will be hard to keep your eyes off the pair of sophomore guards likely to face off against each other: Jaden Ivey and Johnny Davis.

Ivey’s year has been a collection of highlights. He’s taken over the lead guard role on offense but it’s his breakaway dunks, his pull up threes, and ability to get to the rim at will that’s excited NBA scouts and kept Purdue’s offense humming as the most efficient unit in college basketball. A guard who had everything but a shot going into the season is all of a sudden shooting above 45% from three.

For Davis, his game lacks some of the pizazz of Ivey’s, but he’s Badgers do everything guard, a well built and strong attacking guard that’s capable of taking over any game for the Badgers. He dropped a thirty piece on a top-ten caliber Houston team, and 23 against Indiana in two of Wisconsin’s best wins of the season.

Davis’ all-around should scare the Boilers whose perimeter defense has dropped off as the season’s gone on. Purdue just got a shot at checking an all-around scoring guard in Nicholls Ty Gordon. They gave up 29 to the diminutive guard on the way to 90 team points. Purdue’s defensive efficiency has dropped, and dropped. It was top twenty early in the season, then in the twenties, now it sits just inside the top-60. Purdue has National Title aspirations. Their offense is certainly good enough. This defense isn’t anywhere close.

A familiar name is still around wearing the red and white, somehow, for the Badgers. Brad Davison is still drawing charges, playing dirty, and hitting fade away jumpers he has very little business taking. He’s the kind of guard that could give any of Purdue’s guards some trouble. It will be interesting to see which assignment he draws, but with his off-ball defense and tenacity, expect him to try and take out Sasha Stefanovic from this one. That match-up is likely to be 1b to the David/Ivey back and forth that will draw the tides for this one.

But this Badgers team has struggled, even if their record is good, with a big win, and no bad losses. They are not a frightening offensive or defensive team. They missed Davis for one game and they nearly lost to Nicholls, and despite getting Davis back and playing him 43 minutes, they were taken to overtime by Illinois St. in their last game.

They’re a disciplined team, but they struggle on the glass. They lack heft and their rebounding struggles for it. Davis is their shot making, with a little bit of Davison mixed in. Davis is a great north south player, attacking the basket hard, and his footwork and ability to finish above the rim and with his off-hand is refined and impressive, but his jump shot is spotty. When he hits, the offense works. When it doesn’t, the Badgers really struggle to threaten the full court.

They’ve shot just over 30% on the season from three as a team.

While the Davis and Ivey match up will be what NBA players will remember, and will almost definitely be what the highlights show, the Boilers biggest advantage is inside.

It’s worth noting that Caleb Furst missed last game with COVID protocols. It will be important for Coach Painter to have his freshman forward back. He’s pretty much a suped up, better version of every big on the Badgers. His length and speed would be a nice counter to a thin but athletic and balanced Badger front court.

But even without, Trevion Williams and Zach Edey should be able to control the glass on both sides of the court. Williams has owned the Badgers most his career. Edey is back to dominating after a couple game slide. If the Badgers continue to struggle to shoot the deep ball and get worked on the boards, it’s going to be a long night for them in Mackey.

But make no mistake. Watching Davis and Ivey go at it will be much watch television. Both of them are sophomores that have expanded their game while getting better at almost every facet. They’ll face off on Monday in Mackey and in the NBA in the future.

Purdue’s perimeter defense better be better and ready.

Basketball GameDay Vitals

St. Peter's Peacocks Record: 21-11, 14-6 MAAC
St. Peter's Peacocks Record: 21-11, 14-6 MAAC
From: Jersey City, NJ
Game Location: Philadelphia, PA
Venue: Wells Fargo Center (19,500)
Odds: Purdue by 12.5
Date & Time: Friday, March 25, 2022, 7:09pm ET
Streaming Radio TuneIn
Live Stats: Purdue Sports
KenPom 101
NET 124
Blog Representation: None
2020-21 Record 14-11, 10-8
Postseason Result: None
NCAA Tournament History: 4th appearance. This is the first season they have won a game. 2017 CIT Champions
Series With Purdue: Purdue leads 1-0
Last Purdue win: 65-43 in Chicago, IL on 3/18/2011 (NCAA Tournament First Round)
Last St. Peter's win: None
Coach: Shaheen holloway (63-55 in 4th year at St. Peter's)