Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 14, 2015

CHICAGO — The Big Ten regular-season champs are one win away from being Big Ten tourney champs, too.

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No. 1-seed Wisconsin erased a five-point halftime deficit en route to running away from No. 4-seed Purdue, 71-51, in the first Big Ten tourney semifinal Saturday at the United Center.

Get senior writer Tom Dienhart's rapid reaction to Wisconsin's win.

Top star: Bronson Koenig was on fire for Wisconsin, scoring a game-high and career-high 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He drained three 3-pointers, as the Badgers had four players in double-figures. Koenig was equally deadly shooting from long range or driving the hoop.

Top stat: 3, turnovers for Wisconsin. It was another classic exhibition by the Badgers, who excel at protecting the ball. Conversely, Purdue had nine-with seven coming in the second half, when Wisconsin outscored the Boilers, 41-16.

Top stat line: Nigel Hayes is a do-it-all force for Wisconsin, showing his full fury of skills vs. Purdue. He had 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Top play: Seven-footers don't lead the break, you say? You'd be right most of the time, but very few teams have a player like Frank Kaminsky. Check out Frank doing one of the several things he does so well below.

Top dunk: A.J. Hammons set a strong tone early on with a flush. But it was a Frank Kaminsky flush late in the second half that basically summed up this game. The Badgers responded like champs, erasing a five-point halftime deficit to win by 20 points.

Top shot: This one-legged Bronson Koenig shot to beat the shot clock was nice. Are you serious?

Top call: "Lingerie in the air!" – Bill Raftery, after this pretty Nigel Hayes move against A.J. Hammons, the Big Ten's top shot-blocker.

Top picture: I'd love to experience this just once.

The finisher: Purdue battled well, taking a 35-30 halftime lead after being ahead by as many as seven in the opening 20 minutes. But Wisconsin made its classic run to open the second half, going on a 14-3 run to take a 44-38 lead. The Boilermakers closed to 46-44. But Wisconsin ran away from there, closing the game on 25-13 run. With the win, the Badgers reached the 30-win plateau for the fourth time in program history; they can tie the school record for wins with a victory in the Big Ten tourney title game.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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