As the Badgers embark on their second major road trip of the season, they are hoping to have a little better luck than they did last time. Two weeks ago, they headed to Michigan, where they escaped with an overtime win in their first game before suffering their first loss of the season in the second.
This time, they’re headed to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers Friday and Purdue Sunday in another weekend of Big Ten play. Wisconsin could certainly use a pair of conference wins to bolster its spot in the standings.
First up is a Hoosiers team that has really struggled in Big Ten games. They lost their first three conference games before getting a 1-0 overtime win over Northwestern last Sunday. Indiana is 5-5 overall, and their statistics mirror their average record.
They allow nearly as many shots per game as they attempt, while also being outscored by opponents on the season 14-12. Contrast that with the Badgers (8-1), who have outscored opponents 24-4 this season, and it is clear Indiana has not been up to par.
This season has been disappointing for an IU team that made it to the second round of both the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament in 2013.
Purdue, on the other hand, has taken an opposite swing. They finished under .500 last season, but they’re looking strong so far in 2014. They currently sit at 6-3-1, 2-2 in conference play after a tough opening stretch of Big Ten games.
The Boilermakers are a much more imposing offensive threat than their in-state rival Indiana. They average nearly 16 shots a game, although they have only connected on 16 total all season.
Purdue is an up-and-coming team that should only improve with time. Their two forwards and leading goal scorers are a sophomore, Maddy Williams, and a freshman, Erika Arkans. Williams has attempted nearly a third of the team’s shots while Arkans has had higher quality, rather than quantity.
History favors the Badgers this weekend, though. Wisconsin has won the last five matchups with Purdue as well as four of the last five against Indiana.
Head coach Paula Wilkins has stressed the importance of these conference games, and after losing one on the road last weekend, there should be some extra motivation to dominate this weekend.
The Badgers return home Friday, Oct. 3 to take on Ohio State.