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Opening Odds and Game Preview: #8 Purdue at #10 Wisconsin

Late night tip-off for a top-10 match-up that will decide the Big Ten on a Tuesday night.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Two top-ten teams with 5 losses a piece. The two best guards in the conference. The Big Ten Conference championship on the line? All at 9:00 pm?

Sign me up.

The #8 Purdue Boilermakers will travel to Madison, Wisconsin to the Kohl Center to try and avenge an earlier season home loss to the #10 Wisconsin Badgers.

It was billed as a game of two stars, Jaden Ivey and Johnny Davis, and when the Badgers walked out of Mackey Arena on the back of Davis’s 37 points, there wasn’t much doubt who Player of the Year belonged to at the moment.

Not a lot and everything has changed since that moment. Davis is still the favorite to win the Player of the Year in the Big Ten. Purdue and Wisconsin are still two of the best teams in the conference. Ivey is still the most spectacular player in the Big Ten.

But Purdue is coming off a loss on the road to Michigan St., just their fifth on the year, but it was one that took away their autonomy. With Big Ten teams falling all around them and a Wisconsin match up ahead of them, this was supposed to be their chance to lay claim to the conference all on their own. Instead, they picked up their fifth loss in conference while Wisconsin has ran through their last four games, winning them all and remaining at four losses.

Now the Badgers get to control their destiny - if they win at home against Purdue, they have just a home game against Nebraska and a Big Ten Championship as the only team left in the conference with just four losses.

On the even larger picture, the top tens sliding down with losses has given Wisconsin new life in seeding. Their resume now looks pretty similar to Purdue. Add another win against a top-ten team and it’s easy to imagine Wisconsin sliding up and taking that two seed from Purdue that seemed like a near lock a couple weeks ago.

Purdue is a program so close to the precipice of March glory that even the games in late February and early March can carry the whole program’s legacy and torture with them. A loss at Wisconsin isn’t just about gaining another tie on top the Big Ten standings, it’s also about not losing the favor of a two seed and hopefully two rounds of games within two hours of their beloved West Lafayette.

A last second buzzer beater against Michigan St. is the third dagger of the season against Purdue. A common trend, one that Johnny Davis shot to cliché, the Boilers can’t seem to get a stop when they need it. They’re going to need it a lot against the Badgers which are an entirely different beast at home.

So it comes back to how we started, a show down between the two most exciting and elite guards in the conference, and probably the country. The first match up went squarely to Johnny Davis who roasted Purdue from the middle of the paint to the three-point line, drawing fouls, and getting to the free throw line at will.

Jaden Ivey has a full length feature film of highlights. Dunks at the rim, game winners, and incredible finishes around the basket, but he hasn’t written his masterpiece yet. While Purdue fans would be glad to wait to see that film in the NCAA tournament, Boiler nation wouldn’t mind a trailer tonight or perhaps the first of series of genre-redefining masterpieces to make them rethink what’s possible with Purdue basketball.

There will be other players involved, tactics and mismatches and narratives to be fulfilled, but I’m just here to tell you that the corns popping to watch those two guards go at it for maybe the last time.

They’ll definitely appear on screen together at this year’s NBA draft, but they have the chance for at least one more classic together in college first.

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)