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
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)
G 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)
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.