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Wisconsin vs. Iowa: how to watch, game preview and open thread

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The Badgers have another chance to notch a marquee win. Come join us and see if they can get it versus the Hawkeyes.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Well folks, it’s here again. Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball gameday. Hopefully the roads aren’t too bad where you live and you’ll be able to grab a six-pack before tip-off, because I’d imagine you’ll need it (if drinking is your thing...if not, you should watch Ted Lasso instead of the Badgers because that show rules).

The No. 21 Badgers (15-7 overall, 9-6 Big Ten) welcome the No. 11 Iowa Hawkeyes (15-6 overall, 9-5 Big Ten) to Madison on Thursday night for the first of two matchups between the long-time rivals this season. The Hawks have lost four of their last seven games, but are on a modest two-game winning streak heading into tonight’s contest.

The Badgers, on the other hand, haven’t been able to put together two wins in a row since the middle of January and are 3-4 in their last seven games, alternating wins and losses. Going by that pattern however means that UW is due to win tonight’s contest and maybe that’s all the analysis we need?

If you’re looking for a little more analysis, well fine, here is some: Iowa’s defense stinks. They are rated No. 108 in AdjD by KenPom and as BHGP’s Harrison Starr put it in our Q&A exchange this week, “Broadly speaking, Iowa just...kinda lets teams get what they want.” Iowa doesn’t force a lot of turnovers, gives up too many offensive rebounds and allows teams to shoot a bunch of threes. One of the areas in which Iowa excels on defense is fouling. They do not do it often and teams do not score much from the free throw line against the Hawkeyes.

Iowa plays a lot of zone, especially against more talented teams and Starr notes that the high post will be open, then the Hawkeyes’ defense will collapse on the ball and leave shooters open. If ever UW were to bust out of their, what seems like, decades-long shooting slump this would be the game. Another thing worth noting is that while Garza is big, he isn’t a great rim protector and he’s kinda slow-footed. The player to be most worried about on defense, imo, is freshman Keegan Murray who is long and active and can create havoc in passing lanes.

There isn’t too much to say about the Iowa offense that you haven’t already heard. It is excellent. Garza is outstanding in the post, the team rarely turns it over, the have multiple shooters that can get blazing hot from three and they move the ball fluidly and get their teammates in good position to score. It is a well-oiled machine. There is a video linked below from Jordan Sperber’s awesome HoopVision newsletter that breaks down how good Garza and the offense is.

The only real way to slow the offense is to hopefully get Garza in early foul trouble. Hawkeyes head coach Fran McCaffrey has a pretty strict “two foul” rule in the first half that resulted in Garza missing a bunch of time in a loss to Indiana earlier this month. We’ll see if D’Mitrik Trice or Tyler Wahl can take it at Garza early and get some whistles.

How to watch/listen

TV: ESPN, 6:00 p.m., CT, Bob Wischusen, Dick Vitale

Streaming: Watch ESPN

Radio/Satellite: 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 195; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Kohl Center

Line: Wisconsin -2

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 45%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • Since 2000, the Badgers hold a 25-11 advantage against the Hawkeyes, including a mark of 13-2 in Madison. At the Kohl Center, Wisconsin is 13-4 all-time against Iowa.
  • The Badgers lead the all-time series, which started in 1909, 85-82.
  • Iowa has averaged 65.2 ppg in 15 games against Wisconsin during the Fran McCaffery era. The Hawkeyes are averaging 76.7 ppg in their other 343 games under McCaffery.
  • Iowa, who has led the Big Ten in scoring each of the last two seasons, ranks third in the country this year, averaging 87.4 points per game.
  • Wisconsin assistant Dean Oliver was a three-time, 3rd-team All-Big Ten performer at Iowa (1998- 01). Oliver scored 1,561 points in his career and his 561 assists rank third in Iowa history.
  • Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon is the younger brother of two former Badgers, Jason Bohannon (2007-10) and Zach Bohannon (2013-14). Notably, the Badgers did not even offer Jordan a scholarship.
  • Senior D’Mitrik Trice has a pair of double-digit scoring outings against Iowa, pouring in 20 points and seven rebounds on 4-for-8 3-point shooting in UW’s 2018 win in Iowa City. He also led the Badgers with 16 points and nine rebounds in last season’s only meeting.
  • Freshman Jonathan Davis has led the team in scoring in two of the last four games, averaging 11.3 ppg, 64.3% FG (18-28), 75% 3FG (6-8) during that stretch.
  • The Badgers are 8-1 this season when they make nine or more 3-pointers in a game. UW has made nine or more threes in every other game over their past 10 and last time out they only made six soooooooo
  • Committing only 9.2 turnovers per game, Wisconsin ranks second in the NCAA. Their turnover percentage of 13.8 is fourth in the country. Iowa’s turnover percentage is 13.0 and first in the nation (they commit 9.4 turnovers per game). Shouldn’t be too many chances out in transition for these two teams tonight.
  • Iowa has won an NCAA-best five games against AP Top 25 opponents this season.
  • Joe Wieskamp is this week’s Big Ten Player of the Week after averaging 23.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, two assists, and one steal in a pair of double-digit wins last week. He shot a combined 59 percent from the field (16-of-27), including a blistering 71 percent from 3-point range (10-of-14) in the two wins.
  • Luka Garza ranks first in the country in points per game (24.5 ppg) and 14th in double-doubles (nine).
  • Garza is the first and only student-athlete in Big Ten history to accumulate 2,000 points, 800 rebounds, 125 blocked shots, and 100 3-pointers in his career.
  • Jordan Bohannon (599) is 14 assists from becoming Iowa’s all-time assists leader (Jeff Horner, 612). Bohannon is five assists from becoming just the third player in program history with four 100-assist seasons (current Wisconsin assistant coach Dean Oliver, Jeff Horner).

Potential Starters

Updated at 5:53 p.m. CST

Wisconsin

  • D’Mitrik Trice, 6-foot, redshirt senior, guard, No. 0
  • Aleem Ford, 6-foot-8, redshirt senior, forward, No. 2
  • Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, sophomore, forward, No. 5
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 34
  • Nate Reuvers, 6-foot-11, senior, forward, No. 35

Iowa

  • Jordan Bohannon, 6-foot-1, redshirt senior, guard, No. 3
  • Joe Wieskamp, 6-foot-6, junior, forward, No. 10
  • Keegan Murray, 6-foot-8, freshman, forward, No. 15; CJ Fredrick, 6-foot-3, sophomore, guard No. 5
  • Connor McCaffrey, 6-foot-5, redshirt junior, guard, No. 30
  • Luka Garza, 6-foot-11, senior, center, No. 55