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

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The Badgers are still riding high after upsetting Purdue in their last game but welcome a tough Iowa squad to the Kohl Center on Thursday night.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers (11-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) are back at home on Thursday night for a big-time Big Ten showdown with the Iowa Hawkeyes (11-3 overall, 1-2 Big Ten). The Badgers are riding high after upsetting No. 3 Purdue on the road earlier in the week, while the Hawkeyes have a nice little four-game winning streak of their own going, featuring a win over Maryland.

This game features two of the best players in America with Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis and Iowa’s Keegan Murray facing off for the first, and potentially only, time this year. Murray is the leading scorer in the nation and Davis is third, only 0.1 ppg behind second, and both have been named to the Midseason Wooden Award Top-25 list. They are also both tied for the national lead in “number of twin brothers had” at one.

While you can never predict for sure how a game will go, for instance I thought Wisconsin was going to lose to Purdue, saying that an Iowa/Wisconsin men’s basketball game is going to be close isn’t going too far out on a limb. The Badgers are slight favorites, seeing as the game is at the Kohl Center, and are the far superior defensive team which should help them when they inevitably go on a five minute scoring drought in the first half.

The Hawks have a number of familiar characters still, despite losing Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp to the NBA, CJ Fredrick to Kentucky and Jack Nunge to Xavier since the last time these teams met. Jordan Bohannon is still there talking shit and hucking threes, there are still multiple McCafferys on the roster and speedy Joe Toussaint is running the point.

A big key to this game will be whoever is playing defense on Murray (most likely some combination of Davis and Tyler Wahl) making him work for his offense and not allowing him to get easy buckets early. Both Davis and Wahl will be exerting a ton of energy on the defensive end so hopefully Brad Davison and Steven Crowl can pick up some of the slack on the offensive side of the ball.

How to watch/listen

TV: FS1, 8:00 p.m. CT, Kevin Kugler, Stephen Bardo

Streaming: FOX SPORTS App; Fox Sports

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

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Kohl Center, Madison, Wis.

DraftKings Line: Wisconsin -3
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 56%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 58%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • Thursday’s game between Wisconsin and Iowa will mark the 171st all-time meeting between the two programs, in a rivalry that began in 1909.
  • The all-time series is deadlocked at, 85-85. The football rivalry is also very close with Wisconsin owning a 49-44-2 lead.
  • The Badgers hold a 53-30 all-time edge in games played in Madison, including a mark of 13-5 against Iowa at the Kohl Center.
  • Wisconsin and Iowa have split the last 12 meetings, but the Hawkeyes are currently on a four-game win streak in the series. Iowa swept all three games last season, including the most recent matchup in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Big Ten Tournament.
  • Thirteen of the last 20 meetings between Iowa and Wisconsin, dating back to 2011, have been decided by seven points or less, including two of three games last season.
  • 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 fourth in Iowa history.
  • Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon is the younger brother of two former Badgers, Jason Bohannon (2007-10) and Zach Bohannon (2013-14). A 2010 third-team All-Big Ten selection, Jason appeared in 135 games (68 starts) and finished with 1,170 career points. Zach served as a captain of the Badgers 2014 Final Four team.
  • Wisconsin has six wins over KenPom top-100 teams. Only No. 16 Providence and No. 15 Alabama have more.
  • Wisconsin has five wins away from the Kohl Center. Only No. 7 USC (six) and No. 10 Michigan State (six) have more road/neutral wins among major conference teams.
  • With a 74-69 win at No. 3 Purdue on Monday, the Badgers claimed their ninth top-10 win under Greg Gard. Of those nine wins, six have come away from home (four true road games).
  • The Badgers rank No. 4 in the Big Ten allowing 63.6 ppg. Only five opponents have averaged more than 1.0 PPP in a game against UW this season.
  • UW ranks second in the Big Ten shooting 76.6% at the FT line and has made almost as many FTs (196) as its foes have attempted (197).
  • The Hawkeyes are shooting 78.2 percent from the foul line. Iowa is tops in the Big Ten and No. 12 nationally in free throw accuracy. The Hawkeyes have made (230) more free throws than their opponents have attempted (224). The 230 free throw makes are eighth most in the country.
  • Wisconsin ranks second in the NCAA averaging just 8.2 turnovers per game this season.
  • The Hawkeyes are second in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0); third in fewest turnovers per game (8.7); and ninth in turnover margin (6.1).
  • Thursday will feature two of the Big Ten’s most improved players in Keegan Murray (Iowa) and Johnny Davis (Wisconsin). Murray totaled 35 points and eight rebounds, while Davis posted 37 points and 14 rebounds in wins Monday for their respective teams. Murray (24.5) and Davis (22.3) rank first and second (Davis is currently third by 0.1 points) in the NCAA, respectively, in scoring.
  • Davis leads the Badgers in points (22.3 ppg), rebounds (7.2 rpg), assists (2.6 apg) and steals (1.5 spg). He also ranks second with nine blocks.
  • Davis has scored at least 20 points in five straight games, the first Badger to do so since Alando Tucker had seven consecutive 20-point games in 2007.
  • Wisconsin has not had a player average 20 points per game since Michael Finley averaged 20.5 ppg in the 1994-95 season. Finley averaged 20-plus points in three consecutive seasons for the Badgers (1993, 1994, 1995).
  • Davis draws a team-high 5.6 fouls per game.
  • Murray is tops in the country in points per game (24.5); No. 27 in field goal percentage (.592); No. 42 in blocks per contest (2.0); and No. 48 in free throws made (54).
  • Jordan Bohannon is Iowa’s career leader in assists (659), free throw percentage (.891), games played (157), and 3-pointers (396). Bohannon will become the NCAA all-time leader in games played on Thursday, surpassing Ohio State’s David Lighty (2007-11).

Potential Starters

Wisconsin

  • Johnny Davis, 6-foot-5, sophomore, guard, No. 1
  • Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 5
  • Steven Crowl, 7-foot, sophomore, forward, No. 22
  • Chucky Hepburn, 6-foot-2, freshman, guard, No. 23
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, super senior, guard, No. 34

Iowa

  • Filip Rebraca, 6-foot-9, senior, forward, No. 0
  • Joe Toussaint, 6-foot-0, junior, guard, No. 2
  • Jordan Bohannon, 6-foot-1, redshirt senior, guard, No. 3
  • Keegan Murray, 6-foot-8, sophomore, forward, No. 15
  • Patrick McCaffery, 6-foot-9, redshirt sophomore, forward, No. 22