Purdue’s Brandon Newman (5) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Bloomington Ind. Purdue won 81-69. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
- The Purdue Boilermakers (16-8, 11-6 Big East) host the Wisconsin Badgers (16-9, 10-8 Big East) Tuesday, March 2
- Purdue has won three in a row, while Wisconsin has lost three of its last four
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The Purdue Boilermakers (16-8, 11-6 Big East), winners of three straight, host the Wisconsin Badgers (16-9, 10-8 Big Ten) Tuesday, March 2 in West Lafayette. Tip is set for 9:00 pm ET at Mackey Arena.
Wisconsin vs Purdue Odds
|Wisconsin||+2 (-116)||TBD||Ov 129 (-110)|
|Purdue||-2 (-106)||TBD||Un 129 (-110)|
Odds as of March 1 at FanDuel.
An unconscious flurry of points by Badger senior D’Mitrik Trice nearly helped UW pull off a miraculous comeback over the Fighting Illini on Saturday. Down 13 with under three minutes left, Trice scored 19 points in just over 2:00 of game action. However, it wasn’t enough and Illinois won 74-69.
Friday, Purdue cruised to a 73-52 win over Penn State. The Boilermakers have won nine of their last 12 and got 16 from Sasha Stefanovic and 14 from freshman Jaden Ivey in the win.
Now, Purdue hopes to keep the momentum going as favorites against a Badger team looking for a victory prior to the Big Ten Tournament.
The Trice Is Right
The 6-foot guard from outside Dayton absolutely exploded in the final minutes of a game that looked to be decided.
What a wild ending in Madison. D’Mitrik Trice with a Herculean effort to single-handedly give Wisconsin a shot, but Illinois, without Ayo Dosunmu, escapes with a road win over the Badgers.
19 points in 125 seconds! Outrageous.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) February 27, 2021
The comeback wasn’t to be and Bucky lost its third game in the last four outings. Of course, those three losses were to three of the top-6 squads in the country according to KenPom: No. 2 (Michigan), No. 5 (Iowa), and No. 6 (Illinois).
At No. 12, Wisconsin is still an NCAA Tournament team. But the Badgers’ ghastly shooting display Saturday –17-of-62 from the field, a 27.4-percent clip — before Trice’s finishing flourish is cause for concern.
Greg Gard’s team finished the afternoon at 34%, which is still well below what you want to see from a team that was ranked in the AP top-10 and harbors aspirations of a tourney run.
Gard wasn’t overly concerned about his team’s woeful offensive effort (outside of Trice) after the five-point loss, saying the Badgers seemed rushed in the paint early on and simply didn’t convert. But he didn’t question his team’s shot selection.
That kind of philosophy is a good one to have in the ultra-competitive Big Ten, where seemingly any team can beat another any given day.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Boiler (Way) Up
UW’s opponent Tuesday was the opposite from a shooting perspective Friday. Purdue shot 51.9% from the field against Penn State. Meantime, Matt Painter’s club held the Nittany Lions to 35.5% from the floor. The Nits were flat-out awful from distance, shooting just 20.7% for the game.
That combination of efficient offense and shutdown defense is less than ideal for a Wisconsin team that has failed to reach the 72 point-plateau since beating the same Penn State team 72-56 Feb. 2.
The Boilers’ defense remains a spark for this year’s squad, as it has now held opponents to that same threshold of 72 points or fewer for 13 straight games. That’s tied for the second-longest streak in the country.
While teams like Wolverines, Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini have received much of the attention this season — and deservedly so — the Boilermakers feel like one of the sleeper squads from a power conference that always makes a deep run in the Big Dance.
Michigan big man Hunter Dickinson has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors seven times this season and is a virtual shoo-in to win the league Freshman of the Year award. But Ivey has impressed. The South Bend native has earned the underclassman honor twice this season and seems to be peaking at the right time.
Let’s get serious for a second.
Jaden Ivey is the kind of player who takes you places in March.
— Kyle Charters (@KyleCharters79) February 27, 2021
To go along with his 14 points, Ivey accounted for five rebounds, four blocks and three steals. That downright active effort made him just the seventh player nationally this season to have a 14-point, five-rebound, four-block, three-steal performance. Let’s not forget his ability score from downtown. When you throw in his pair of threes against Penn State, the effort made him just the second to do it this season. This is a nice stat for Purdue fans.
Sunday 🏀 Stat of the Day
▪️Purdue is 8️⃣➖0️⃣ when Jaden Ivey makes a 3 Pointer pic.twitter.com/ImTk9uBRCH
— #23 ISC Purdue 🚂💨💨💨 (@ISC_PU) February 21, 2021
Make that 9-0. Also, in Ivey’s last three games, he is averaging 13.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.7 blocks and 2.3 steals per game. He’s the type of transformative player that might help Purdue do things its never done before come tourney time — and the kind of player that can give teams fits.
With Wisconsin already going through a funk and Purdue rolling, I don’t see any reason to fade the home team in this spot.
The pick: Purdue -2 (-106)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.