The No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers (8-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) welcome the No. 21 Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-1 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) to the Kohl Center on New Year’s Eve as UW tries to get back on track after falling to the Maryland Terrapins on Monday. The Gophers, on the other hand, are streaking and have beaten Saint Louis, Iowa and Michigan State since the lost to Illinois on Dec. 15.
The Gophers are led by standout guard Marcus Carr (24 ppg and 6.1 apg) who will certainly be first-team All-Big Ten and should be seriously considered for All-America status if he continues playing at his current, torrid pace.
A pair of transfers, big man Liam Robbins (Drake) and wing Both Gach (Utah), have buoyed Minnesota this year after losing Daniel Oturu to the NBA Draft. Robbins, who stands at an even seven feet, is No. 32 in the country with a 10.2 block percentage and has hit 36.8% of his three-point attempts. Gach is a nice secondary distributor, averaging 3.5 apg, while also being able to hit the glass (6.8 rpg).
This will be one of the rare games this season where the Badgers don’t have a size advantage in the paint and it will be paramount for Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter to try and get Robbins into foul trouble. Brad Davison, Trevor Anderson and D’Mitrik Trice will need to make it a focus to feed the post early and establish a presence down low, something they were unable to do against Maryland.
How to watch/listen
TV: BTN, 3:30 p.m., CT, Kevin Kugler, Robbie Hummel
Streaming: FOX Sports GO
Radio/Satellite: 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 84; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas
Live stats: Here!
Arena: Kohl Center
Line: Wisconsin -8.5
KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 74%
Fun facts (according to the media guides)
- UW has won 10 of the last 12 meetings with the Gophers. In football, Wisconsin has won 15 of the last 16 over Minnesota.
- Wisconsin is 17-2 all-time against Minnesota at the Kohl Center, with the Gophers lone wins coming in 2009 (overtime) and 2019.
- Minnesota leads the all-time series, 104-102, but the Badgers hold a 65-34 edge in Madison.
- At the Kohl Center, Wisconsin is 45-18 (.714) vs. teams ranked in the AP Top 25.
- UW’s loss to Maryland on Monday, Dec. 28 snapped a 15-game home win streak dating back to Jan. 14, 2020.
- The Badgers turned the ball over just seven times against the Terps, but shot just 38.1% from deep (8-21) and 8-for-15 at the free throw line. Maryland also boasted a 38-20 scoring edge in the paint
- Wisconsin ranks No. 13 in the NCAA shooting 41.5% 3FG and averaging 9.0 triples per game. Led by Micah Potter (46.2% 3FG), each of UW’s starters averages one plus made 3FG per game. All five have made at least nine triples this season.
- UW has stifled opponents defensively, leading the Big Ten allowing only 60.6 ppg this season and No. 2 in FG pct. defense (38.7%).
- Wisconsin ranks No. 2 in the nation averaging only 8.2 turnovers per game. Dating back to last season, UW has committed 11 or fewer turnovers in 28 consecutive games.
- A native of Osseo, Minn., Brad Davison (Maple Grove High School) is the UW leading scorer in three of last six games (avg. 13.5 ppg, 42% 3FG).
- Aleem Ford has scored nine plus points in eight straight games.
- UW is No. 5 in the Big Ten shooting 75.4% at the free throw line.
- Wisconsin’s roster features seven players from Minnesota: Brad Davison (Osseo), Walt McGrory (Minneapolis), Nate Reuvers (Lakeville), Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins), Tyler Wahl (Lakeville), Ben Carlson (Woodbury) and Steven Crowl (Eagan).
Wisconsin has fared slightly better with Reuvers on the floor than with Davison or Trice! And it’s not like Nate’s individual stats are poor. pic.twitter.com/nztda5Z9Dq— Evan Miyakawa (@evanmiya) December 31, 2020
- Minnesota is coming off an 81-56 win over Michigan State Monday night. Liam Robbins had 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Marcus Carr scored 19 points and dished out five assists for the Gophers, who never trailed.
- Carr averages 24.0 ppg, which is tied for fourth nationally and third in the Big Ten. His 6.1 assists per game ranks first in the league and No. 24 nationally. He also averages 35.8 minutes played, which also tops the Big Ten and No. 42 nationally. Carr also averages 2.5 three-pointers per game, good for third in the league. He’s the only Division I player averaging at least 21 points, six assists and shooting 48 percent.
- D’Mitrik Trice, 6-foot, redshirt senior, guard, No. 0
- Aleem Ford, 6-foot-8 redshirt senior, forward, No. 2
- Micah Potter, 6-foot-10, redshirt senior, center, No. 11
- Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 34
- Nate Reuvers, 6-foot-11, senior, forward, No. 35
- Liam Robbins, 7-foot, junior, center, No. 0
- Marcus Carr, 6-foot-2, redshirt junior, guard, No. 5
- Both Gach, 6-foot-6, junior, guard, No. 11
- Gabe Kalscheur, 6-foot-4, junior, guard, No. 22
- Brandon Johnson, 6-foot-8, redshirt senior, forward, No. 23