The Matchup: Minnesota (16-11, 5-9 B1G) at No. 4 Wisconsin (24-2, 12-1 B1G)
When: Sat. Feb. 21; 11am CT
Where: Madison, WI; Kohl Center (17,279)
Radio: Badgers Sports Network
Last Meeting: UW won, 83-57, at BTT (3/14/14)
All-Time Series: Minnesota leads, 102-94
Projected Starting Lineups:
G Andre Hollins - Sr. 6-2, 195 (15.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
G DeAndre Mathieu - Sr. 5-9, 170 (8.3 ppg, 4.7 apg)
F Charles Buggs - So. 6-9, 220 (3.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
F Joey King - Jr. 6-9, 235 (9.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
C Maurice Walker - Sr. 6-10, 255 (11.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg)
G Bronson Koenig - So. 6-4, 190 (7.4 ppg, 2.2 apg)
G Josh Gasser - Sr. 6-4, 192 (7.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
F Sam Dekker - Jr. 6-9, 230 (13.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg)
F Nigel Hayes - So. 6-8, 235 (12.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
C Frank Kaminsky - Sr. 7-0, 242 (17.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg)
Key Matchup: Frank Kaminsky vs. Maurice Walker
Big Ten basketball has a very physical reputation, and rightfully so given the league’s history. However, there may not be a more physical matchup in the conference than when these two Border Battle rivals get together. It also just so happens that both Maurice Walker and Frank Kaminsky aren’t afraid to get after it in the post.
This one-on-one matchup may be the most physical that Kaminsky has seen all season long. Kaminsky isn’t going to have the major advantage that he’s had nearly all season long. However, he’ll have to figure a way to not let Walker get to him on defense and not let Walker get him out of his game when Kaminsky has the ball.
If (more like when, amiright?) the Badgers win it will be because Kaminsky stayed out of foul trouble, killed off Walker’s rebounding ability and got to the line a ton on the other end of the court. It sounds like a simple recipe, but Walker has proven up to the task against the Badgers before and you can bet he’d love to stick it to UW one time on the road before graduating.
3 Important Numbers:
- 2: Wisconsin’s magic number to clinch the Big Ten regular season title sits at two wins. A win on Saturday in the Kohl Center would set up the Badgers with an ability to clinch by taking down Maryland on the road next week. Can you imagine the party in the Kohl Center the next home game if that were to go down?
- 124.2: That’s the Badgers offensive efficiency ranking via Ken Pomeroy, and it would not only be the best offensive efficiency number in UW history. It would also just so happen to be the highest since Pomeroy began tracking the stat — so much for Bo’s teams being all boring and defensive minded only, huh?
- 1: Frank Kaminsky is special, we all know it. However, just how special may surprise even the most diehard Badger faithful. He is the only player in NCAA Div. 1 averaging at least 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game.
Prediction: Wisconsin 84, Goofers 62
These two teams are very different playing fields right now, and it may scare some people given this is a major rivalry game, but do I have to remind you of what happened the last time these two teams (virtually the same this season as last) got together?
Wisconsin also doesn’t lose to the Goofers at the Kohl Center, with the Badgers owning a 13-1 record since opening the facility. There’s also far less chance of the full-court press hurting Wisconsin this time around, with sure-handed Bronson Koenig leading the way. He happens to have a 3.90 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is second in the country (min. 40 assists).
Add in the fact that UW doesn’t want to see a repeat of the horrid shooting night from Wednesday, and that means Badgers basketball will coast to another double-digit win in conference play.