Much Has Changed
Much has changed since.
Sixteenth-ranked Purdue looks to extend its winning streak to five games on Tuesday night in Madison, while the Badgers try to avoid their first five-game skid in more than a decade.
Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Wisconsin –1.5 point spread favorites for Tuesday’s game against the Purdue. Current College Basketball Public Betting Information shows that 52% of more than 305 bets for this game have been placed on the Purdue +1.5.
The Boilermakers (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) were coming off tight losses to Illinois and Penn State when Wisconsin came to West Lafayette on Jan. 11.
Forward Robbie Hummel and guard Chris Kramer both missed the loss to the Nittany Lions due to injuries, but returned against Wisconsin (12-7, 3-4). The Boilermakers had little problem with the Badgers, winning 65-52 behind 20 points and 10 rebounds from JaJuan Johnson and 16 points from Hummel.
Kramer, meanwhile, helped limit Trevon Hughes - Wisconsin's second-leading scorer (12.2 points per game) - to nine points with five turnovers.
"They have Hummel and Kramer back, and they're back playing like the Purdue everybody knows," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said after the loss, which ended his team's 10-game conference winning streak.
Hummel's back is still bothering him - he's come off the bench in two of his last four games - but the Boilermakers are now resembling the team that was tabbed as the Big Ten's preseason favorite. Johnson has been the best player during Purdue's four-game winning streak, averaging 15.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore had 19 points, eight boards and five blocked shots Thursday in the Boilermakers' 70-62 win at then-No. 21 Minnesota.
"(The losses to Illinois and Penn State) kind of opened our eyes,'' Johnson said. "It gave us the sense of urgency that we really needed. I think we are just really focused right now.''
While Purdue has surged since its last meeting with Wisconsin, the Badgers appear to be in the midst of a free-fall.
Wisconsin has dropped all three of its games since leaving West Lafayette, and if it can't beat the Boilermakers on Tuesday, will have lost five in a row for the first time since an eight-game slide from Jan. 21-Feb. 14, 1998.
The Badgers blew halftime leads in overtime losses to Minnesota on Jan. 15 and Iowa last Wednesday, then turned in a woeful shooting performance Saturday at Illinois, hitting just 35.6 percent of their shots in a 64-57 defeat.
Poor perimeter shooting has been the biggest problem for Wisconsin during its skid, with Hughes the main culprit. He entered the Badgers' first game with Purdue a 49.2 percent 3-point shooter, but has hit 21.7 percent (5 of 23) from beyond the arc since.
As a team, Wisconsin is shooting 25.6 percent from 3-point range in its last four games.
If that trend continues against Purdue, the Badgers will likely need more from Marcus Landry, whose 13.1 ppg lead the team. The senior forward has never had much luck against Purdue, averaging 6.5 points and shooting 26.3 percent from the field in four career meetings.
The Boilermakers ended an eight-game losing streak in Madison with a 72-67 victory last Feb. 9, snapping Wisconsin's 16-game home conference winning streak in the process.
Posted: 1/27/09 5:00AM ET