The Purdue Boilermakers (9-6 Overall, 2-2 Big 10) play the Wisconsin Badgers (11-4 Overall, 3-1 Big 10) tonight, Jan. 11 at 9 pm ET. The Boilermakers and Badgers have both gone 3-2 over their last five games. Purdue is sixth in the Big 10, while Wisconsin is fourth. Our Wisconsin vs Purdue pick has the Badgers favored by 3.5 points.
At the start of the season, Purdue won four straight games and then lost to #16 Virginia 89-83. Two games later the Boilermakers fell victim to #15 Florida State 73-72 and #7 Michigan 76-57. They next beat #23 Maryland 62-60. Over their next six games, Purdue went 3-3 with an 86-70 win over #25 Iowa and a 77-59 loss on Jan. 8 to #6 Michigan State.
Wisconsin began their season by ticking off five wins. But when they played their first nationally-ranked team, #4 Virginia, they suffered their first loss 53-46. The Badgers then won three in a row, including a 72-66 win over #14 Iowa. After that big win, they were 4-3 with losses to Marquette (74-69 OT), Western Kentucky 83-76), and Minnesota (59-51). They last played on Jan. 6 when they easily beat Penn State 71-52.
Stats that Tell the Tale
Although a lot of the team stats are fair equal, including rebounds, steals, and blocks per game, there are some important differences between these two teams as indicated in statistics. Purdue is outscoring Wisconsin 77.6-to-74.5. But that difference is fairly minimal. However, the difference in PA (62.2-to-69.3) and field goal percentage (48.7%-to-45.2%) is fairly hefty. Both of these stats favor Wisconsin. The Badgers also lead in three-point conversion rate (38.5%-to-36.2%), while Purdue is better in free throw percentage (73.1%-to-67.2%). Who has the advantage here? We believe Wisconsin does due to their stingy defense.
The guy to focus on for the Boilermakers is junior guard Carsen Edwards. He leads the team with 24.5 PPG and is a 37.2% three-point shooter. In the Michigan State loss, Edwards scored just 11 points and connected on only 15.1% of his attempts from downtown. At the same time, for the Badgers, it’s about senior forward Ethan Happ. Happ, a double-double player averaging 19.3 PPG and 10.3 RPG, is making 55.6% of his field goals. He also leads the club in assists with 4.6 per game. He’s been fairly consistent even in losses.
In our Wisconsin vs Purdue pick, we think Happ’s consistency offers more promise. Give the Badgers the edge.
Keys to the Game
Here are some important keys to our Wisconsin vs Purdue pick.
- Wisconsin’s inside game has to be efficient
- Purdue needs to work the outside shot and hit
- Badger’s D on perimeter and offensive rebounding essential
- Boilermaker’s need to shutdown Badger guard D’Mitrik Trice (46.5 3PT%)
- If Purdue controls offensive boards they can win
- Home crowd helps Badgers
We do think that Wisconsin will win. We feel they’re deeper and have a much better defense. Also, their inside game offers them a way to dominate without having to rely on their three-point game. They will have to step up when it comes to offensive rebounding and also need to keep Edwards in check. Our Wisconsin vs Purdue pick is the Badgers at -3.5. Again, the game is at 9:00 pm ET. For another men’s college basketball pick from Betting Brain, see our Indiana at Maryland preview. That game tips off at 7 pm ET. Also, we’ve got a free spread pick for the Raptors and Nets at 7:30 pm ET.