As Purdue sits firmly in the tournament as a potential one seed, Wisconsin is battling for its life just to get off the bubble. Expect this to be a tight one as Purdue comes in as a -4 road favorite when they travel to Madison Wisconsin as the Badgers are in desperation mode. Even in a must win situation, Purdue will look to put this away early and cover the spread with ease.
Purdue Vs. Wisconsin Odds
I’m not the only one who believes that is to be the case as bettors were quick to hammer the Boilermakers by taking them up to -5 in some shops. While their defensive metrics mirror the Badgers efficiency per Kenpom, Purdue will have a massive advantage when it comes to scoring consistency. That has been a thorn in the Badgers side all season long, struggling to generate offense inside the perimeter as they currently shoot a lowly 41.5% from two. Now they get the pleasure of trying to find an interior offense against Zack Edey.
Speaking of offense, points are expected to be scored at a slow pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 127. Bettors are surprisingly backing the idea of points being scored at a quicker pace, backing the over up to 128 since the open. This comes as a bit of a surprise as both defenses have been the more consistent unit, locking up opposing looks at one of the better rates in the nation per Kenpom with low Effective Field Goal defensive percentages.
Purdue Vs. Wisconsin Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Purdue -4
While Wisconsin is one of those feel-good teams that are normally good for an upset or two in the tournament, their chances of winning look bleak as Purdue will exploit the Badgers weakness throughout the course of the game. The Boilermakers come into this one off a disappointing loss to Indiana in their much-anticipated rematch, now looking to finish out strong and hold onto their highly coveted one seed for March Madness. I will back them at no higher than -5.5 as this may get ugly quick.
Speaking of exploiting the Badgers weakness, that stems from pressing up on the Badgers guards and forcing them to scramble on offense. While the Badgers offensive identity has remained the same as years past, the success has severely dipped as their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency rating is 150th as of writing. The culprit to this dip in production has been their inconsistency inside the perimeter, shooting well below average in the nation as previously noted.
This is a bit head scratching to figure out why this has been a theme as Wisconsin normally runs as one of the most efficient offensive units in the nation. They field a productive big man in Tyler Wahl, running their inside-out approach to set up looks from the perimeter. It’s not as if their perimeter looks have not fallen as they average 35.5% from three. With their three-point shooting you would think that the floor would open up more for the interior offense, yet they have failed to capitalize on that opportunity.
Now perimeter looks are more vital than ever with Purdue’s Zach Edey hovering around the paint. He is a force down low, altering looks and swatting away shots at an impressive rate. He currently averages 2.4 blocks per game and will have a massive size advantage against Wisconsin’s bigs. Granted he has a size advantage in any matchup but now he gets the benefit of not having to stray away from the rim against Wisconsin’s poor interior shooting.
Purdue Vs. Wisconsin Key Matchups
Can Purdue get back on track with their offense?
Purdue interior scoring vs Wisconsin defense
While the Badgers offense has yet to find life throughout the course of the season, their defense has maintained an elite efficiency ranking by continuing their high rate of defending the perimeter.
This has been a staple of Wisconsin basketball the past few years. Especially as of late as they are holding opponents to 25.8% from the perimeter in their last three contests per TeamRankings. Too bad they couldn’t find that success against Hunter Dickinson.
ANOTHER buzzer beater, this time Hunter Dickinson ties it at the horn! Free basketball in Ann Arbor pic.twitter.com/VDaU1QJMCF
— B-Fox and B-Frank Show (@BFoxBFrankShow) February 26, 2023
Purdue has lacked from the perimeter as they are mainly an interior unit with an offense that runs through Zach Edey. He will show no signs of slowing down in the scoring department, already averaging 22.3 points per game. Should Braden Smith create openings with his slashing, Edey will get high quality looks at the rim all game long.
Back Purdue at no higher than -5.5 in what will be an ugly defensive slugfest of a Big Ten matchup.