(9) Wisconsin (16-2) at Minnesota (14-5)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 22, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Williams Arena (14,625) -- Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Television: BTN. Home Record: UW 10-1, UM 11-1. Away Record: UW 3-1, UM 2-2.
Neutral Record: UW 3-0, UM 1-2. Conference Record: UW 3-2, UM 3-3. Series
Record: Minnesota leads, 95-88.
GAME NOTES: The suddenly mortal Wisconsin Badgers are hoping for a reversal of
fortune as they hit the road to tangle with the Minnesota Golden Gophers in
Big Ten Conference action on Wednesday night.
Wisconsin had enjoyed the best start in program history (16-0), and was ranked
as high as No. 3 in the nation as recently as last week, but losses to
unranked squads in Indiana (75-72) and Michigan (77-70) dropped the team six
spots to No. 9 this week. The Badgers are 3-2 in conference, tying them with
Purdue for fourth place heading into the week.
Minnesota is just behind UW in the conference standings, as it has split its
first six Big Ten bouts, and currently sits at 14-5 overall. The Golden
Gophers are coming off a 94-73 loss at Iowa, and they have dropped two of
their last three. UM is a stellar 11-1 at home this season, with its only
setback at Williams Arena coming in a 63-60 decision versus Michigan in the
conference opener on Jan. 2.
Minnesota is clinging to a 95-88 lead in the long-standing relationship with
Wisconsin, and a 58-53 home win in overtime last February for the Gophers
stopped what had been a four-game losing streak in the series.
Despite defeats in each of its last two games, Wisconsin has been rock solid
this season in logging favorable margins in scoring (+13.0), rebounding (+2.7)
and turnovers (+2.1). Sam Dekker paces the unit with 13.8 ppg, and he also
leads the way on the glass with 6.3 rpg. Frank Kaminsky is hot on Dekker's
heels in both categories, as he averages 13.5 points and 5.9 caroms per
contest. In the UW backcourt, Ben Brust (13.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and Traevon
Jackson (11.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.2 apg) have been productive members of a squad
that leads the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (.392), while ranking
second in scoring defense (62.8 ppg).
The Badgers were rather lax in their recent loss to Michigan, allowing the
Wolverines to shoot 54.7 percent from the field, which included a 7-of-13
showing from 3-point range. At the same time, coach Bo Ryan's club made good
on only 43.3 percent of its total shots, although it too drained seven treys.
Josh Gasser was high man for the Badgers with 16 points, while Brust and
Kaminsky tacked on 14 apiece, and Dekker completed a double-double by scoring
10 points and grabbing as many rebounds. It was the second straight game in
which UW allowed an opponent to connect on more than half of its total shots,
as Indiana turned the trick just four days prior (.516).
Minnesota has been a solid offensive team this season, putting up 75.1 ppg in
hitting 43.7 percent of its field goal attempts, which includes a 34.4 percent
effort from beyond the arc. The Gophers lead the league in free-throw
percentage (.750), while also doing a nice job at the defensive end in coming
up with a Big Ten-best 8.3 steals per outing. The team boasts a trio of
double-digit scorers, led by Andre Hollins and his 16.2 ppg. Austin Hollins is
next with 11.8 ppg, and he ranks second on the team in rebounding with 6.6
rpg. As for DeAndre Mathieu, he nets 11.2 ppg while serving as the team's
primary playmaker with 4.4 apg.
Andre Hollins scored 20 points, and Austin Hollins tallied 13 more, but those
efforts went for naught as Minnesota gave up its most points of the season in
what turned out to be a 21-point loss at Iowa last Sunday. The Gophers
suffered deficits in both rebounding (40-33) and points from the foul line
(27-16), while committing 13 turnovers and missing 11 of their 16 3-point
tries. They were also outscored in bench points by a whopping 43-18 margin.
Expect the Badgers to come out with a vengeance, as they try to make the
Golden Gophers pay for their past indiscretions. The home team is certainly
going to put up a fight, but Wisconsin is too good to continue on this
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 69, Minnesota 64
01/22 10:38:43 ET