When the Big Ten’s two top-ranked teams meet in West Lafayette, Ind. on Sunday, all eyes will be on the paint. That’s where No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 20 Purdue have done much of their damage to date this season.
Both teams rank among the top 10 in the country in rebounding margin (Wisconsin is fifth at plus-12.4, Purdue is seventh at plus-10.3), and each is led by a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate. The Boilermakers’ Caleb Swanigan leads the nation in double-doubles with 13 in 16 games (including an active streak of seven straight); the Badgers’ Ethan Happ has six. Swanigan and Happ also sit 1-2 respectively in rebounding in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin (13-2, 2-0 Big Ten) enters the game on a nine-game win streak and is just one of two teams still unbeaten in Big Ten play (Nebraska is 3-0). The Badgers aced their first true conference test at Indiana on Tuesday, winning 75-68. But Purdue could be a completely different animal.
The Boilermakers (13-3, 2-1) stumbled in overtime against Minnesota last Sunday and came close to doing it again Thursday against Ohio State, but managed to eke out a 76-75 win in Columbus.
Wisconsin basketball vs. Purdue game time, details
Date: Sunday, Jan. 8
Time: 3:30 p.m. CT, 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.
The line: Purdue is a 3-point favorite.
What TV channel broadcasts Wisconsin basketball vs. Purdue?
The game will be on CBS.
How can I watch Wisconsin basketball vs. Purdue online?
CBS will live-stream the game at CBSSports.com, as well as on the CBS Sports app.
How can I listen to Wisconsin basketball vs. Purdue on the radio?
The Wisconsin call for the game will be on Badger Sports Network. A list of affiliates can be found here and can be listened to online here. Similarly, the Purdue basketball affiliates can be found here and the online stream can be heard here.
Who is calling the game for CBS?
Ian Eagle and Bill Raftery will be on the call.
Wisconsin basketball vs. Purdue keys to the game
Which big man wins on the glass?
While Swanigan has superior numbers at first glance to Happ, (18.3 points per game to 13.1, 12.9 rebounds per game to 9.4), the numbers even out significantly when adjusted for number of possessions and paint a picture that shows this as a matchup of two of the nation’s top rebounders.
Per KenPom.com, both players rank in the top 10 nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, with Swanigan third at 33.5 and Happ ninth at 29.5. However, Happ has the advantage on the offensive glass with a 14.6 mark to Swanigan’s 12.
Defending the arc
Purdue shot Wisconsin’s lights out the last time these two teams met at Mackey Arena, going 10 for 19 from beyond the arc on the way to a 91-80 win last March. That was a common trend for the Wisconsin defense last season, but the Badgers have improved this season. Opponents are now shooting 34.7 percent from deep against Wisconsin, healthily in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten.
However, Purdue has improved, too. The Boilermakers are currently shooting 40.3 percent on 3-pointers, tops in the conference and good for 17th in the nation.
Purdue is 38-4 against Wisconsin at Mackey Arena, which, while skewed by decades of futility by Wisconsin that only ended after the turn of the millennium, remains an impressive level of historical dominance. Two of those losses have come in the last five years, though, so Wisconsin has yet another chance to put a major depth in that winning percentage.