On Monday night, the Wisconsin Badgers (12-5 SU, 8-9 ATS, 4-3 B10) will take on the Northwestern Wildcats (12-5 SU, 9-8 ATS, 3-3 B10) in Evanston. The game, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Northwestern program.
Last season, these two teams faced off once, with the Badgers coming out on top 82-76 on the road as a 2-point favorite.
Recently, the Badgers were able to snap a three-game losing streak by defeating Penn State at home 63-60 on January 17th. They are currently ranked 64th in the NCAA Net Rankings and are looking to improve their NCAA Tournament resume. Leading the way for the Badgers in this game was Steven Crawl, who recorded 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Chucky Hepburn added 13 points and 3 assists. Additionally, the return of forward Tyler Wahl, who had been out with an ankle injury, was crucial for the Badgers. Wahl is averaging 12.9 points per game and 6.3 rebounds on 41.2% shooting.
When it comes to turnovers, both teams will be looking to methodically move the ball and protect it. The Badgers rank second in turnover margin at 3.65 and fifth in assist/turnover ratio in the Big 10. Defensively, they are solid, holding teams to just 32.7% from the three-point line (9th) but struggle on the boards, ranking 13th out of 14 teams in the Big 10 with a -3.6 rebounding margin.
On the other hand, the Wildcats, who are currently ranked 51st in the NCAA Net Rankings, are looking to get back on track after losing two straight games to Rutgers and Michigan. In their loss to Michigan, guard Boo Buie led the team with 22 points but also had six of the team’s eight turnovers. The team also struggled from the three-point line and defensively, allowing the Wolverines to shoot 52% from the field and 45% from long range.
When it comes to shooting, the Wildcats have struggled this season. They rank 14th in the Big 10 in field goal percentage at 38.9% but second in field goal defense (39.6%). Guard Chase Audige leads the team with 15.3 points per game on 38.1% shooting, adding 3.3 assists and 2.9 steals. Buie adds 15.1 points and 4.3 assists on 35.8% shooting.
Overall, this matchup between the Badgers and Wildcats promises to be a closely contested game with both teams looking to improve their NCAA Tournament resume. The Badgers will look to continue their defensive success and limit turnovers, while the Wildcats will look to improve their shooting and take care of the basketball. It will be important for the Badgers to continue to utilize the scoring and rebounding of Steven Crawl and Tyler Wahl, and for the Wildcats to lean on the scoring and leadership of Chase Audige and Boo Buie. With both teams sitting at 12-5 SU and looking to gain an edge in the conference standings, this game promises to be a thrilling one. Tune in to see which team comes out on top.