#16 Wisconsin (20-7, 9-5 Big Ten) looks to keep building momentum towards tournament time as they face a road test against the Iowa Hawkeyes (14-13, 6-8 Big Ten). The game has a late 8:00 PM CT tip and can be watched on ESPN 2.
Wisconsin comes into this game off a 65-55 win over Penn State on Sunday. Despite the Badgers having a great shooting night, going 11-22 (50%) from downtown, they failed to pull away from Penn State. Tim Frazier had another huge game against Wisconsin with 20 points and 4 rebounds. Josh Gasser led the Badgers with 15 points, going 3-5 on three pointers. "When shots are falling, everything seems to be going a little bit better" Gasser said.
Iowa enters this game off a huge home win, knocking off #20 Indiana 78-66. Iowa had a great shooting night, going 27-63 (42.3%) from the field and 9-18 (50%) from downtown. The Hawkeyes poured it on the Hoosiers, and at one point they even led by 19. Senior Guard Matt Gatens scored 30 points, leading the Hawkeyes to the double digit win. "It was a lot of fun, but way more fun winning" Gatens said.
All Badger fans know what happened the last time these two teams met, and they probably don't want to talk about it. The Hawkeyes marched into the Kohl Center and shocked the College Basketball world with a 72-65 win over Wisconsin. It was Iowa's first win in Madison since 2000. Wisconsin was clearly disappointed with the loss.
It was a great win for Iowa, and I don't want to take that away from them, but I'd like to go over why the Badgers lost that game. The number one reason was three point shooting. Wisconsin shot a respectable 34.8% from the field, and with other efforts, that should be good enough to beat a team like Iowa. But the Badgers shot 3-28 from downtown, an absurd 10.7%. I've talked about Wisconsin's horrid shooting all season, but this game was certainly the worst.
Second, a lack of energy from Wisconsin. I don't think it was a lack of effort, because Bo Ryan would never let his slack off. It was more of a lethargicness more than anything. The Badger players were slow to react on defense and just couldn't buy a bucket. It was a very frustrating thing to watch as a Badger fan.
Give me a guess on who scored the most points on Wisconsin this year. Was it North Carolina? No. Was it Ohio State? (At least not yet). Michigan State? Nope. Iowa's offense scored 72 points on the Badgers. The Hawkeye players were seemingly unstoppable that day, shooting 49.2%. Freshman Aaron White was clutch down the stretch, finishing with 18 points. Iowa received other big contributions from Bryce Cartwright with 17 and Melsahn Basabe who scored 14.
The Badgers have won two of their last three games at Hawkeye-Carver arena, including a 62-59 OT win for Wisconsin last year. The Badgers are 5-2 against Iowa the last four years.
Obviously, the key for the Badgers this time around will be to get high quality shots and to play good defense. If the Badgers can control the tempo of the game and keep it in the 50's, they'll win. Iowa is a offensive team, averaging 73.6 points a game. The Badgers should have no problem winning if they can slow them down.
I think the Badgers will come out strong and consistent in this one, it will be a close game though.
Prediction: Wisconsin 59, Iowa 55.