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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 6, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kohl Center (17,230) -- Madison, Wisconsin. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Iowa 11-2, Wisconsin 11-2. Away Record: Iowa 1-5, Wisconsin 3-4. Neutral Record: Iowa 2-1, Wisconsin 1-1. Conference Record: Iowa 3-6, Wisconsin 6-3. Series Record: Iowa leads, 79-77.
GAME NOTES: The Wisconsin Badgers open up a two-game homestand on Wednesday night, as they entertain the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Big Ten Conference matchup at the Kohl Center.
Despite Iowa's impressive 14-8 overall record, it has not had much luck since the beginning of Big Ten play (3-6). The Hawkeyes fought hard on the road against nationally-ranked Minnesota last Sunday, but they came out on the short end of a heart-breaking 62-59 decision.
Wisconsin has one of the upsets of the season under its belt, having defeated No. 1 Indiana on the road on Jan. 15 (64-59), but following that win it lost three of its next four. The Badgers got back on the winning track this past Sunday with a 74-68 victory at Illinois to improve to 15-7 overall and 6-3 in league play. They are an impressive 11-2 at home this season.
Wisconsin had won 13 of 15 in the series prior to Iowa's current three-game win streak, which includes a 70-66 win in Iowa City on Jan. 19. The Hawkeyes hold a slim 79-77 lead all-time.
Iowa was in control of its contest with Minnesota over the weekend and held a 59-57 lead with 1:45 to play, but it wouldn't score another point down the stretch, and the Golden Gophers drained the game-winning 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to hand to Hawkeyes the hard-luck loss. The Hawkeyes were plagued by a poor shooting night from both the field (.362) and the foul line (.588). Mike Gesell led the way in the setback with 11 points and six rebounds, while Aaron White and Zach McCabe tallied 10 points apiece. Iowa is typically one of the stronger scoring squads in the Big Ten, pouring in 72 ppg. White leads the way with 13.9 ppg, doing so on nearly 52 percent accuracy from the floor, and he also grabs a team-best 6.0 rpg. Roy Devyn Marble is hot on White's heels with 13.4 ppg, but he does so on a less-efficient 39.6 percent shooting. Gesell runs the points and brings 8.9 ppg, 2.9 apg and 1.2 spg to the table.
Although Wisconsin pieced together a rather modest day from the field against Illinois on Sunday (21-of-49), the difference was made at the foul line where the team connected on 28-of-42 attempts while the Illini was just 10-of-15 from the stripe. Ben Brust shot 7-of-11 from the floor on his way to a game- high 20 points, while Frank Kaminsky took advantage of a busy day at the charity stripe (12-of-14) to net 19 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Ryan Evans chipped in 15 points while grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. The Badgers can hold their own on the scoreboard (67.2 ppg), but the biggest reason for their solid season has been due to the Big Ten's top-ranked scoring defense (55.6 ppg). The physical squad is paced by the efforts of Jared Berggren, who tallies 11.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 1.7 bpg. Brust adds 10.7 ppg and boasts a strong assist-to-turnover ratio (61-to-26), while Evans makes up for a dreadful free throw percentage (.404) by recording 10.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg and nearly a block and a steal per contest.
Wisconsin has defended its home court very well this season, and while Iowa typically puts forth a solid offensive attack, it will likely struggle to get much going against the stout Badgers defense in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 67, Iowa 59
02/06 10:37:00 ET
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