The Purdue Boilermakers and the Wisconsin Badgers faced off Saturday afternoon with a trip to the conference championship game on the line. The Badgers won the Big Ten regular season championship, now they are just looking to add the Big Ten Tournament Championship to their already impressive resume.
Purdue jumped out to an early lead, and took a 5 point advantage into the break. Their lead evaporated quickly in the second half. The Badgers were just too much for the Boilermakers to handle coming down the stretch. Wisconsin outscored Purdue 41-16 in the second half. The Badgers picked up the 71-51 win.
What We Learned
Bronson Koenig can lead the Badgers in scoring.
Koenig finished with a career-high 19 points for the Badgers. He instrumental in Wisconsin's second half onslaught, and hit the 3 that gave the Badgers the second half lead. Wisconsin never looked back from that moment. Koenig showed us he can lead the scoring in the well-rounded Badger offense.
The Boilermakers offense goes as far as A. J. Hammons takes it.
Purdue was leading Wisconsin in the first half when Hammons was hitting his shots. He finished the first half with 10 points. The Badgers shut Hammons out in the second half and didn't allow him to score the rest of the game. Nobody else in Purdue's lineup was able to make up for the loss of production. As a result the Boilermakers only had 16 points in the second half on 24% shooting. Numbers like that aren't going to cut it against Wisconsin.
The Badgers can blow teams out when Frank Kaminsky isn't dominating.
Kaminsky had a solid day for the Badgers, but he wasn't dominating like he usually does. He finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. The Badgers showed how balanced their offensive attack is. Kaminsky was the 4th leading scorer on the team behind Bronson Koeng, Sam Dekker, and Nigel Hayes. You know you have a good offense when Kaminsky is the 4th leading scorer. Wisconsin doesn't need Kaminsky to put up 20 plus points a game to beat good teams. They showed us they can still blow teams out when he isn't at the top of his game.
Purdue can shoot better from beyond the arc, than they can from the field.
The Boilermakers were 50% from behind the arc on 7 of 14 shooting, but were only 37% from the field overall. Wisconsin did an excellent job of not letting the Boilermakers get anything easy buckets at the rim. They wanted to make Purdue beat them from with their 3 point shooting, and Purdue wasn't able to do it.
Wisconsin doesn't mind playing from behind.
The Badgers showed us just how good they can be on Saturday afternoon. They were unfazed by the Boilermakers second half lead and never panicked. They did exactly what good teams do and stuck with their game-plan. Once again Wisconsin showed us why they are going to be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.
This was a solid Big Ten Tournament outing for Purdue. Not many people expected them to knock off Wisconsin. They had an excellent first half, but they weren't able to finish the game off. We'll see how they fair in the NCAA Tournament.
Wisconsin is still the best team in the Big Ten. They had a great regular season, and they have carried it over into the tournament. Wisconsin will look to sweep the regular season and the tournament conference championship on Sunday afternoon.