A high-stakes game will be played in a snow-embattled Madison tonight, featuring the Purdue Boilermakers (18-4, 7-2) and the Wisconsin Badgers (15-5, 5-3). Both teams have plenty to gain or lose depending on their respective performances.
Purdue looks to solidify itself as the only team capable of surmounting Ohio State at the top of the Big10 table. With the Badgers hot on their heels and only one game back in the loss column, Purdue must prove that they are who we thought they were coming into the season. On top of that, Purdue is on a 3 game road skid that is going to be tough to break in the Kohl Center, one of the toughest arenas in college basketball. However, Purdue has won 3 of their last 4 in Madison.
The Badgers need this quality win against a ranked opponent to boost their NCAA tournament resume not for a bid, but for seeding. This team has shown some immaturity late in games and needs to show that they can close out against a quality opponent in order to get the seed they want heading into March. They also have a chance to move to 6-3 in the Big10 and slip within a half-game of Purdue.
Purdue's Moore has been in and out of a shooting slump, likely due to high defensive pressure. Purdue has ridden the backs of players like Johnson, Ryne Smith, and Lewis Jackson to not only get an offensive edge, but to punish on defense as well.
The two leaders of Wisconsin will need to help show the rest of the squad how to close out a team, one of the hardest things to do in college basketball. With Jordan Taylor on a hot streak and a big performance from Jon Leuer, they could do just that.