Juan To E'Twaun Moore Badger?

That was one they needed. Plain and simple.

A lot of things happened tonight that you should be somewhat optimistic about as a Purdue fan. Sure, the Boilers went long stretches without scoring, seemed befuddled by the officiating at times, and allowed Wisky to almost pull a late come-from-behind. But despite those things, the Boilers rose to the occasion and pulled this one out. Let's assess some of those issues...

Marginal offensive output -- You might be concerned about the offensive output. But let's be honest; they were playing a Bo Ryan team. Let's give credit where it's due and acknowledge that Bo Ryan knows how to coach and knows how to slow down the Boilers. This happens almost every time they play. The great part, though, is that Purdue is able to slow them down, too.

Officiating confusion -- No, you weren't seeing things. And neither were Musburger and Lavin. This game was inexplicably called very differently in the second half. I cannot figure out what happened, except that maybe someone got into the zebras' ears and convinced them to start calling every bump and hand check. It was ridiculous -- there's not much else to say about it. Probably as pissed as Matty's been at the refs this season.

Closing the game -- Purdue was not their usual second half selves tonight. They started the second half by letting Wisky go on a run.... well, okay, it was more like a jog.... but the Boilers didn't score a point in the second half until almost six minutes in. That's ludicrous. But the steady defense and solid rebounding by our boys (Ostrich cashing in with 13, as the Boilers outrebounded one of the best Big Ten rebounding teams, 34-20) kept it close, as per usual, and in the end the scoring came back. Yes, they had trouble at the end -- again -- but Smooge sliced through the lane in the final minute and put them ahead, where they stayed after withstanding a couple of late attempts from the Badgers.

On to some other thoughts....

The return of LewJack -- Lewis Jackson returned tonight to a loud ovation and he got things moving immediately. He didn't play very many minutes and only hit one shot, but he showed flashes of the guy we all remember. You know, a true point guard... but a flawed player, as well. Lewis still only has one season of college hoops under his belt and he had a couple of his trademark moving-too-fast turnovers....but all-in-all, we're happy to see him back. I spent his whole time in the game worried somebody was going to "accidentally" step on his foot. Not that Wisconsin players would do anything like that.

Nankivil out of his gourd -- Let's also keep in mind that Wisconsin was in this game because of an unreal performance out of the other Keaton in the Big Ten. Nankivil, who averages under 8 points a game, went berserk, hitting 7 of 8 threes and scoring 25.

Smooge = Mr. Consistency -- Once again, the most consistent guy on the team this year, E'Twaun shot 9 of 15 for 20 points, including the game-winner.

Boilers from three -- Only five attempts. Yes, you read that right. Hummel was 0-1, Smooge was 1-2, KG was 0-1 and Johnny Hart was 1-1. So 2-for-5 overall. 40% isn't bad, of course, but....only five attempts? Was this a concerted effort to try something different? Hard to say. We'll see if it continues.

JJ misses a start -- Yes, the word on the street is that JJ was late to the game tonight and docked one start. In his place was Bade. Yeah, let's be on time from now on, okay JaJuan?

CK very quiet -- How much is the ankle still bothering him? Hard to say. He looked like he was moving alright, but had no points, 3 rebs, 1 assist and 1 steal. Have to assume he's moving gingerly and isn't himself. No noticeable floor-burn hustle plays come to mind, either, so that's a good indicator that all is not well in Kramerica.

Purdue Owns Wisconsin -- Let's just say it, folks. The Boilermakers are now 5-1 against Wisconsin in the Smooge-Ostrich-JJ era.

The Boilers remain three games back of Michigan State, with two still to play against the Spartans. Someone needs to knock them off so that Purdue at least has things in their own hands.

Can our guys run the table? That might be what it takes... and a big hurdle was overcome tonight.

Taco Bell Denise Debate Ends Here