EAST LANSING, MI - FEBRUARY  18:  Ethan Happ #22 of the Wisconsin Badgers handles the ball under pressure from Gavin Schilling #34 of the Michigan State Spartans in the first half at the Breslin Center on February 18, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Badgers basketball preview: Iowa edition

The Matchup: Wisconsin (17-10, 9-5 B1G) vs. No. 8 Iowa (20-6, 11-3 B1G)
When: Wed. Feb. 24; 8p.m. CT
Where: Iowa City, IA; Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Radio: Badgers Sports Network
Last Meeting: Wisconsin won, 74-63; at Iowa (1/31/15)
All-Time Series: Wisconsin leads 82-79


Starting Lineups:

Iowa Hawkeyes

G Mike Gessell — Sr. 6-2, 190 (8.5 ppg; 3.3 rpg; 6.2 apg)
G Anthony Clemmons — Sr. 6-2, 200 (9.0 ppg; 2.7 rpg; 3.7 apg)
Peter Jok — Jr. 6-6, 205 (16.3 ppg; 3.3 rpg; 1.5 apg)
F Jarrod Uthoff — Sr. 6-9, 221 (18.8 ppg; 6.5 rpg; 1.1 apg)
C Adam Woodbury — Sr. 7-1, 250 (8.3 ppg; 7.9 rpg; 0.9 apg)

Wisconsin Badgers

G Bronson Koenig — Jr. 6-4, 193 (13.4 pgg, 2.7 rpg, 2.3 apg)
G Zak Showalter — Jr. 6-2, 180 (7.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.3 apg)
F Vitto Brown — Jr. 6-8, 230 (9.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.6 apg)
F Nigel Hayes — Jr. 6-8, 240 (16.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.2 apg)
F Ethan Happ — Fr. 6-9, 235 (12.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.2 apg)


Biggest Matchup: Ethan Happ vs. Adam Woodbury

Happ was a godsend on Sunday night, being the rock UW needed as Nigel Hayes struggled from the field. It was great to see, but he’s going to get a whole different kind of test on Wednesday night from one of the best big men in the conference. It’s going to be a classic matchup of experience versus potential and Happ needs to be as assertive as he was on Sunday against a much bigger Woodbury.

That assertiveness is going to be needed on both ends of the court, but Happ also will need to be smarter as he’s been prone to a bit of foul trouble as of late. Playing smart and assertive basketball can give the Badgers a big chance to open things up and play with the confidence it has around the perimeter as of late too.

Look for Gard to try and establish a post presence early on, and that means Happ will have to play a big role here.


3 Numbers to Know:

— 8: Ethan Happ leads all Big Ten players with eight double double’s this season after pouring in 20 points, 12 rebounds and 6 steals in the comeback win over Illinois this past weekend. He’s also the only player in the Big Ten to average 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

— .443: Wisconsin has upped its game from deep over the past five contests, shooting an incredible 44.3 percent from beyond the arc (47-106). It’s a huge bump from the 35.9 percent the team is shooting on the season.

— 16: A win, at any point in time the rest of the regular season will clinch the 16th-straight winning season in Big Ten play for the Badgers. Doing so will also tie the longest streak in conference history, along with Purdue (1972-88).


Prediction: Iowa 78, Wisconsin 70

Wisconsin has a lot of momentum on its side, but Sunday’s game was about as ugly as we’ve seen from this group as of late. Sure, the Badgers managed a win, but they simply can’t play like that against a Big Ten title contender and expect to win.

Iowa also gives Wisconsin plenty of matchup nightmares across the board and historically haven’t played well at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Strange things seem to happen in this rather intense series, but on this night I just don’t see the Badgers having the answer for the firepower of Jok, Uthoff and Clemmons.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com