GameDay Preview: 3 Things to Know About the Wisconsin Badgers

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MADISON, Wis. — There was a consensus opinion that Wisconsin would struggle to keep up in the loaded Big Ten after Kobe King left the team three weeks ago. But the Badgers have been just fine without him and still find themselves solidly in the NCAA Tournament field.

The same can't be said for the Purdue Boilermakers, who could really use a nice road win to add to their resume. They get that shot Tuesday night in Madison against the Badgers.

Here are the particulars on the game:

  • Who: Purdue Boilermakers (14-12, 7-8 in the Big Ten) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (15-10, 8-6 in the Big Ten)
  • When: 7 p.m., ET, Tuesday, Feb. 18
  • Where: Kohl Center, Madison, Wis.
  • Latest Line: Wisconsin is a 4-point favorite as of Tuesday morning, according to VegasInsiders.com.
  • Poll rankings: Neither team is ranked in either the Associated Press or Coaches poll. 
  • Kenpom.com rankings: Purdue is No. 26, and Wisconsin is No. 28.
  • TV: ESPN
  • Announcers: Dan Shulman, Dan Dakich, Molly McGrath
  • Radio: Purdue Radio Network
  • Announcers: Rob Blackman, Larry Clisby

Here are three things you need to know about the Badgers.

1. Moving on just fine from Kobe King's departure

Kobe King surprised the Badgers when he walked away from the team in late January, but they've done well without him, posting a 3-2 record "that really should have been 4-1 if they don't blow that lead late at Iowa,'' Sports Illustrated Wisconsin's Jake Kokorowski said in previewing the game. 

The 6-foot-4 sophomore guard from LaCrosse, Wis., was averaging 10 points a game when he quit. His last game was at Purdue on Jan. 24, when he played 28 minutes, was 0-for-5 from the field and didn't score a single point in the 70-51 loss that wasn't that close.

"The one thing with King was that he could create his own opportunities,'' Kokorowski said. "It's been a team effort in terms of replacing that production from King.''

2. Fixing their rebounding troubles

In Purdue's win three weeks ago, the Boilermakers completely dominated the boards in the easy win. Wisconsin, usually a good rebounding team, has struggled in that area. Even in their last five games since the Purdue loss,  they've been outrebounded four times.

"Wisconsin got beat 42-16 that night, so that's going to be one huge glaring key for Wisconsin, get on the glass and don't allow second-chance opportunities,'' Kokorowski said. Micah Potter, the 6-foot-10 transfer from Ohio State, is getting more minutes now and he can help with that situation. 

it was Evan Boudreaux who took it to the Badgers in that first meeting, grabbing 13 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end.

3. Badgers love their home cooking

It's been a common theme all year in the Big Ten that home-court advantage is a big thing. That's certainly the case with Wisconsin as well. Wisconsin is 11-1 at home this year, and just 4-9 elsewhere.

For instance, the Badgers shoot 46 percent from the field and 40 percent on 3-point shots in the comfy confines of the Kohl Center, but they made only 26 percent from downtown on the road. Shooting is a big deal for them at home.  

Related Purdue-Wisconsin content

  • VIDEO: Tom Brew breaks down the Boilermakers for our sister site at Sports Illustrated Wisconsin. CLICK HERE
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