FORT WAYNE – Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter can’t say for certain that Wisconsin has the most efficient offense that his team has face this season.
But he knows if the No. 9 Badgers (16-3, 3-3 Big Ten) are clicking on offense today when they visit Purdue (13-6, 3-3), his team will be challenged.
You look at the five guys they put out there that are skilled, especially with their center (Frank) Kaminsky, who really causes problems with his ability to play inside and outside, and Sam Dekker is so versatile as their four, he’s really like a big guard, Painter said. They’re playing four guards and a mobile five, that can move and shoot, it causes you problems.
Wisconsin comes into today’s game fourth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, knocking down 47.2 percent of its shots. The Badgers are second in 3-point shooting, making 38.4 percent.
Dekker leads the offense with 14.1 points per game, and Kaminsky averages 13.3 points. Ben Brust averages 12.9 points, and Traevon Jackson and Josh Gasser average 10.9 and 9.1 points.
Even though the Badgers have lost their last three games, Painter said the focus has been completely on what Wisconsin has done wrong during the losing streak.
When people win, they are still doing some bad things, and when people lose, they are still doing good things, Painter said.
It is difficult to win in this league. It is difficult to win on the road. You are still doing the same thing whether they lost those three games or they won those three games.
Wisconsin has struggled to keep opponents from scoring inside in two of its three losses.
IU scored 52 points in the paint in its 75-72 win Jan. 14, and Minnesota scored 48 in the paint in its 81-68 victory Wednesday.
Purdue averages 34.4 points in the paint, but Painter said it will take more than getting inside to defeat Wisconsin.
The Boilermakers will need to match the Badgers’ ability to limit turnovers and rebound.
Wisconsin averages a Big Ten-low 8.2 turnovers and is giving up only 31.7 rebounds per game, tied for second in the conference.
Purdue is fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin, grabbing 4.2 more rebounds than its opponents.
The Boilermakers are third in the league in rebounding, averaging 40.3, but are giving up 36.1 rebounds per game.
Purdue averages 11.8 turnovers, which is only better than IU’s 15.5 and Iowa’s 11.9 among Big Ten teams.
You have to be prepared to play that style and beat them at their own game, said Painter, who is 8-4 against Wisconsin.
That’s always been what I’ve preached any time you go against programs, such as that, that have had so much success and a coach has had so much success.
You’ve got to try to be a little bit better in some areas that they excel in.