The Matchup: Iowa (13-5, 4-1 B1G) vs. No. 6 Wisconsin (16-2, 4-1 B1G)
When: Tues., Jan. 20; 8pm CT
Where: Madison, WI; Kohl Center
Radio: Badger Radio Network
Last Meeting: UW won, 79-74, in Iowa City (2/22/14)
All-Time Series: UW leads, 80-79
Projected Starting Lineups:
G Bronson Koenig — So. 6-4, 190 (5.3 ppg, 2.1 apg)
G Josh Gasser – Sr. 6-4, 192 (7.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
F Sam Dekker – Jr. 6-9, 230 (12.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
F Nigel Hayes – So. 6-8, 235 (12.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
C Frank Kaminsky – Sr. 7-0, 242 (17.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
G Mike Gessell — Jr. 6-2, 190 (7.0 ppg, 3.7 apg)
G Peter Jok — So. 6-6, 200 (6.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
F Jarrod Uthoff — Jr. 6-9, 210 (11.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
F Aaron White — Sr. 6-9, 228 (16.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
C Adam Woodbury — Jr. 7-1, 240 (7.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
Key Matchup: Sam Dekker vs. Jarrod Uthoff
Just think, these two could’ve been teammates on the same frontcourt line, instead Dekker and Uthoff will be on opposing sides of this game. Uthoff was a class ahead of Dekker coming out of high school and the two are now juniors thanks to Uthoff transferring from Wisconsin back to his home state after the 2011-12 season.
That isn’t what makes this one-on-one matchup the key to this game though. It’s the key matchup in this game because the two are the most explosive and versatile players on the team. In fact, the Badgers swingman and Hawkeyes swingman have games that are nearly mirror images of each other. While the big man matchup between Kaminsky and Woodbury is going to be interesting, given the nature of these two teams it is likely that the players who can slash and get to the rim are going to be most important.
Dekker has had some monster moments in the past few games, including scoring in double digits in four of the past five games. But, it’s been his defense that has been most important and he’ll need to at least hold Uthoff in check and not let him go off if the Badgers are going to win.
You can bet the fans are going to be all over Uthoff, not only for the transfer and what happened after it, but because he’s a key cog in what the Hawkeyes did.
3 Important Numbers:
- 1: Wisconsin ranks first in the nation in both fouls given (13.4) and turnovers (8.3) per game. If there is one set of numbers that tell the story of how the Badgers are able to be where they are at this season it’s that set of numbers for sure. Hard to be beaten when you don’t foul and you don’t turn the ball over.
- 4.11: Many thought with starting point guard Traevon Jackson out of the lineup the Badgers would suffer. However, that 4.11 mark is the assist-to-turnover ratio for now starting PG Bronson Koenig. It also just happens to lead the nation (minimum of 30 assists on the season) and is a welcome sight to many Badger fans frustrated with Jackson’s ability to turn the ball over at inopportune times. Let’s see if Koenig’s numbers stay the same with the meat of the schedule coming up.
- 22: Iowa has had a player score 22 points in each of the last two games (Jarrod Uthoff and Aaron White). Guess what also happened because of it? Yep, they won each of those games and if UW can’t control either of them tonight it cold be dangerous.
Prediction: Wisconsin 82, Iowa 74
History says these two teams are going to play a close game, so does the makeup of these two teams. Both have star players up front and have had some struggles from the perimeter throughout the season. However, this Badgers team just seems different and even more dangerous with Koenig out there on a full-time basis.
It seems as if he adds some spark from the outside, as the Badgers hit at over a 50 percent clip (52.2 percent to be exact) in his first game at the helm of the offense. Wisconsin has an advantage in shooting from three-point range (.354 to .329) and it could be exaggerated tonight if Koenig or Gasser get going from deep.
That’s why I’m picking the Badgers to win a hard fought rivalry game with the Hawkeyes. Well, that and this one is played at the Kohl Center.