Gameday Preview: What to Know About the Wisconsin Badgers

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Now that the top of the leaderboard is getting crowded in the Big Ten standings, Friday night's meeting between Wisconsin and Purdue takes on added importance.

After Indiana knocked off Big Ten leader Michigan State on Thursday night, there are now seven teams within one game of the conference lead. Wisconsin is one of those seven, and Purdue has some catching up to do, especially after losing at home Tuesday night to Illinios. The Boilers can ill afford a second home loss. 

As part of Coaches vs. Cancer week by the National Associated of Basketball Coaches, Purdue will be wearing special "Hammer Down Cancer'' jerseys that will be auctioned off. Proceeds will go to the Tyler Trent Endowment Fund, associated with the Purdue Center for Cancer Research. 

Here are the particulars on Friday's game:

  • Who: Wisconsin Badgers (12-7, 5-3 in the Big Ten) at Purdue Boilermakers (10-9, 3-5 in the Big Ten)
  • When: 7 p.m. ET, Friday, Jan. 24
  • Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Latest Line: Purdue is a 4-point favorite as of Friday afternoon, according to VegasInsider.com
  • Rankings: Neither team is ranked in the Associated Press poll or Coaches poll, but both are receiving votes in the AP poll. Wisconsin would be ranked No. 31 in the AP poll, and Purdue would be No. 40. In the Coaches poll, Wisconsin is receiving votes, but not Purdue.
  • Kenpom.com rankings: Purdue from 17 to 31 after the home loss to Illinois. Wisconsin is No. 17.
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Announcers: Brandon Gaudin, Stephen Bardo
  • Radio: Purdue Radio Network
  • Announcers: Larry Clisby, Rob Blackman, Ralph Taylor

Here are three things you should know about the Wisconsin Badgers:

1. They know how to win on the road in the Big Ten

Wisconsin already has won at Ohio State and at Penn State this season, and they were the only team to win on the road twice prior to this week in the leagues first 49 games.

That's not to say that Mackey Arena won't be overwhelming on Friday night, but the Badgers have succeeded in two hostile environments already.

2. Potter adds to Wisconsin's front line

The Badgers have been getting a lot out of 6-foot-10 forward Micah Potter since he became eligible in December. In nine games so far, he's averaging 9.3 points per game while playing only 15.1 minutes.

He was huge in that big road win at Penn State. He got his longest run of the year — 27 minutes — and earned it. He had a team-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. The junior from Mentor, Ohio, played at Ohio State for two years before transferring to Wisconsin and wasn't deemed eligible by the NCAA until Dec. 21.

3. Red hot from distance lately

 Wisconsin set a school record on Tuesday when it made 18 3-pointers in its 82-68 victory over Nebraska. Eight different Badgers hit  a 3-pointer, led by and Brevin Prizl with four. The Badgers were a  season-high 52.9 percent (18-for-34) from long distance.

it will be interesting to see if that shooting can continue, because Mackey Arena has been a house of horrors for Wisconsin through the years. The Badgers are just 4-40 all-time at Mackey, although two of the four wins have come in their last five trips, when Wisconsin won 67-62 in 2012 and 72-58 win in 2014.

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