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

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The Badgers and Scarlet Knights do battle in a Saturday matinee at the Kohl Center.

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

On Saturday afternoon, the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers (19-4 overall, 10-3 Big Ten) welcome the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (14-9 overall, 8-5 Big Ten) to the Kohl Center for a conference tilt. The Badgers have won 11 out of their last 13 games and are coming off of a huge road win against Michigan State. Rutgers has won three of their last four including back-to-back wins over Michigan State and Ohio State.

Official B5Q New Jersey corespondent J.J. brought the difference between Home Rutgers and Road Rutgers to the forefront of Twitter earlier this week. Steve Pikiell’s squad plays WAY different at the RAC so thankfully Saturday’s game is in Madison. Although, the Badgers do travel to Piscataway at the end of the month...but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

The Scarlet Knights have a number of familiar faces, including Geo Baker and Ron Harper, Jr., but I’d like to focus on Paul Mulcahy. The 6-foot-6 guard has a 33% assist rate, which is good for No. 32 in the whole country, and leads the Big Ten both in total assists (125) and assists per game (5.4). He’s also active on defense, but he isn’t RU’s top defender.

Caleb McConnell can guard multiple positions and has a 4.7 steal percentage, which is No. 18 in the country. The 6-foot-7 wing can also block shots, but that isn’t his forte. Presumably McConnell will be tasked with marking Johnny Davis and it’ll be quite the chess match between the two of them.

Rutgers is riding high after winning two straight games against ranked opponents, but both of those games were at the RAC and their last road game was an overtime loss to Northwestern so, yeah...two different teams.

How to watch/listen

TV: FS1, 1:00 p.m. CT, Lisa Byington, Brian Butch

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 -8.5
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 77%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 84%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • Saturday’s game marks the 13th-ever meeting between Wisconsin and Rutgers in a series that began in 1949.
  • The Badgers are 9-3 all-time against the Scarlet Knights.
  • The Badgers are 6-3 against Rutgers since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten in 2014-15. Greg Gard has gone 6-2 against RU.
  • Wisconsin is 5-0 all-time at home against Rutgers, including a mark of 4-0 since Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014-15.
  • All-time, Rutgers has topped 70 points just twice against Wisconsin, winning 72-65 in 2019 in Piscataway and losing 79-71 in 2020 in Madison.
  • UW owns the nation’s No. 3 strength of record and has played the sixth-toughest schedule in the NCAA according to ESPN.
  • Wisconsin is one win away from the 20-win mark for the 17th time in the last 20 seasons. Greg Gard has led UW to four 20-win seasons.
  • UW has 10+ Big Ten wins for the 19th time in the last 21 years. The only team to do so.
  • UW is shooting 74.9% at the FT line and has made 93 more FTs (322) than its foes (229).
  • Wisconsin leads the NCAA averaging just 8.3 turnovers per game.
  • Freshman Chucky Hepburn has proven mature beyond his years, turning the ball over just 29 times in 698 minutes played.
  • Junior Tyler Wahl is averaging 14.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg over UW’s last nine games. He is shooting 58.6% (51-87) from the field over that stretch.
  • Senior Brad Davison is one of just four players in Wisconsin history to accumulate 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists, joining Michael Finley, Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ.
  • According to KenPom, the Badgers have an adjusted offensive tempo of 67.1 possessions per game, which would be the team’s fastest mark since he began tracking the stat in the 2001-02 season.
  • Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell had now defeated 11 ranked foes as the head coach of the Scarlet Knights.
  • Rutgers is 6-0 this season when forward Ron Harper Jr. scores 20 or more points in a game. Harper Jr. scored a career-high 31 points at Maryland with a career best of six three-pointers.
  • In his last four games, Paul Mulcahy has averaged 17 points and 6.8 assists. He has scored in double-figures for four straight games for the first time in his career.

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

Rutgers

  • Geo Baker, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 0
  • Paul Mulcahy, 6-foot-6, junior, guard, No. 4
  • Cliff Omoruyi, 6-foot-11, sophomore, center, No. 11
  • Caleb McConnell, 6-foot-7, senior, guard, No. 22
  • Ron Harper, Jr., 6-foot-6, senior, forward, No. 24