5th Quarter Consensus: Kitty Cats get their revenge

Can't wait to get to the banner-less gym known as Welsh-Ryan Arena later today for Wisconsin's tilt at Northwestern (there are actually 11 banners in the gym, one for each Big Ten school).

Actually, I can wait, as I'm convinced Wisconsin is going to lose its sixth straight basketball game tonight. Please forget about UW's 74-45 win over the Wildcats in Madison Jan. 7. That happens to be the last time Wisconsin won a game. Northwestern is 3-2 since that debacle and is a different team at home.

Now, I am being a little hypocritical with this pick because Tuesday I went with Purdue simply because Wisconsin has a matchup problem with the Boilermakers. Northwestern has a similar problem when it comes to beating the Badgers, and it starts with rebounding.

Before Wisconsin trounced NU in Madison, Bill Carmody tried everything possible in practice to get his team to rebound, including putting lids on the basket and running 6-on-5 drills. It didn't work. UW out-rebounded the Cats 42-28.

But guess what? Northwestern also beat Michigan State (one of the top rebounding teams in the country) in East Lansing, Mich. On their home court tonight, I think NU plays well enough to overcome their matchup issues with Wisconsin: Northwestern 61, Wisconsin 58

Here's Ryan Reszel's take:

Wisconsin 60 Northwestern 51
What a difference a year makes. Last season the Badgers clinched the Big Ten title outright with a victory at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Now they just want to win a game. People can say all they want about Wisconsin's inability to finish games or the offensive droughts they seem to encounter at least once a half--today's game is all about defense. In particular, it's about stopping Kevin Coble. If the Badgers limit his scoring, they win. End of discussion.

Some links for you as you prepare:
  • Check out Patrick Herb's blog from UWBadgers.com. He's got the inside info on the team's pre-game activities.
  • It's simple, but true as Tom Ziemer points out that actually making some shots tonight will help end the losing skid.
  • Tom Oates has a story on Devin Harris.
Recruiting Notes

UW assistant coach Howard Moore was once again at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago last night, scouting sophomore Nnanna Egwu, who has a scholarship offer from Wisconsin. I've also been told that Wisconsin is interested in St. Ignatius senior guard Dan Fahey for a walk-on role with the team next season.

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