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

The Badgers are back at home for an important showdown with the Wolverines.

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

The No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (20-5 overall, 11-4 Big Ten) welcome the Michigan Wolverines (14-10 overall, 8-6 Big Ten) to the Kohl Center for a Sunday matinee. UW has had four days to prepare after a hard-fought road win against the Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday night while UM continues their two-game road trip after a big win over Iowa on Thursday night.

The Wolverines have had a rough season so far. They have not come anywhere close to living up to their preseason expectations which had most people penciling them into the Final Four and contending for a Big Ten title and they also had to deal with a COVID-19 pause earlier in the year which has messed with their schedule.

Michigan is in desperate need of NCAA Tournament resume-boosting wins as they are currently 3-6 in Quad 1 games and 7-9 in Quad 1/2 games. A road win against a top-15 Wisconsin team is just the kind of data point that the committee will love in March.

The Badgers have shown an inability to defend big guys so far during conference play. Luckily Michigan doesn’t have any ::holds finger to ear:: Ah, I see. Turns out the Wolverines DO have a big guy that needs to be accounted for.

7-foot-1 sophomore Hunter Dickinson is having another great season and has expanded his shooting range to beyond the three point arc. Another area that Dickinson has improved upon is his passing. In their last game, a win over Iowa, the big man dished out seven assists while only scoring 14 points due to the Hawkeyes focusing a lot of their defensive attention on him.

The Wolverines also have a pair of freshmen who haven’t quite lived up to their own lofty recruiting rankings, but power forward Moussa Diabate just exploded for 28 points, on 12-of-15 shooting, against Iowa on Thursday and will be trying to keep his hot streak going against the Badgers.

Michigan is a much better shooting team than Wisconsin is, but the Badgers are a better defensive team than the Wolverines. This has all of the makings of yet another close game, an area that UW has thrived in all season. I don’t really see who is going to check Johnny Davis all game and I expect him to score a bunch. Hopefully the Badgers honor Michael Finely, whose jersey is being retired at halftime, and beat the Wolverines in front of a national TV audience.

How to watch/listen

TV: CBS, 12:00 p.m. CT, Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas

Streaming: CBSSports App; CBS streaming site

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 for details.)

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 61%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 63%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • Sunday will mark the 171st meeting between Wisconsin and Michigan in a series that dates back to 1920.
  • The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 94-76, but the Badgers own a 49-35 advantage for games played in Madison.
  • Michigan has won the last two meetings, sweeping the season series a year ago, their first series sweep against UW since the 1998-99 season. The Wolverines have won six of the last 10 matchups in the series as well.
  • On the other hand, UW recorded five regular-season sweeps of Michigan during that span (2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011).
  • The Badgers are 4-6 against the Wolverines under Greg Gard, including 3-2 at home.
  • UW is 14-3 at home vs. Michigan since 2000.
  • After an 11-game losing streak at the Kohl Center at the start of 2000, U-M has won three of its last six meetings in Madison,
  • With Tuesday’s win at Indiana, Wisconsin reached the 20-win milestone for the 17th time in the last 20 years (since 2002-03 season).
  • Entering this season, Wisconsin, MSU and OSU have all had 16 20-win seasons since 2003 to lead the Big Ten.
  • UW owns the nation’s No. 6 strength of record and has played the 6th-toughest schedule in the NCAA according to ESPN.
  • Wisconsin’s eight Quad 1 wins are 2nd most in the country, trailing only Baylor (nine). The Badgers are 12-4 in the first two quadrants.
  • The Badgers are 12-1 in games decided by six or fewer points - most “close” wins in Div. 1.
  • Wisconsin leads the NCAA averaging just 8.6 turnovers per game.
  • UW is shooting 74.2% at the FT line and has made 94 more FTs (331) than its foes (245).
  • 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.
  • Freshman Chucky Hepburn has proven mature beyond his years, turning the ball over just 31 times in 769 minutes played.
  • Sophomore “Big” Steven Crowl is shooting 34.3% from deep during conference play.
  • Johnny Davis is the only player in the Big Ten and one of four major conference players to lead his team in points (20.7 ppg), rebounds (8.3 rpg) and assists (2.4 apg).
  • Brad Davison is third in the Big Ten shooting 36.5% (38-104) from 3-point range during conference play this season, averaging 2.5 mades triples per game.
  • Davison needs seven points to pass Rick Olson and move into seventh place on the UW career scoring list. He needs 16 to pass Claude Gregory and take over sixth place. He would need 418 points to pass Michael Finley, who is having his number retired at halftime of the Michigan game, to move into second place.
  • Twice in his last three games, DeVante’ Jones has a double-double. First, he had 11 points, 10 assists in the upset of No. 3 Purdue. He followed with a near triple-double against No. 16 Ohio State (eight PT, 10 REB, eight AST). He added a second with 11 points, 10 rebounds at Iowa. During the three games, he has averaged 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.7 assists.
  • With a career-best 28 at Iowa, Moussa Diabate recorded his first career 20+ point game and tied Dickinson for best single game output this season. Over his last three games, Diabate has averaged 17.3 points shooting 71.9% from the field (23-for-32).
  • Eli Brooks has three plus three-pointers in his last three games, going 10-for-17 from deep (58.8%). He leads U-M with 42 total.
  • When Michigan heads to Wisconsin, it will feature two of the longest tenured Big Ten players — U-M’s Eli Brooks (149 career games, U-M record) and Wisconsin’s Brad Davison (152 career games, Wisconsin record).
  • Michigan is facing their second set of twins for a second straight road game after playing the Murray twins at Iowa.

Potential Starters


  • 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


  • Hunter Dickinson, 7-foot-1, sophomore, center, No. 1
  • DeVante’ Jones, 6-foot-1, super senior, guard, No. 12
  • Moussa Diabate, 6-foot-11, freshman, forward, No. 14
  • Caleb Houstan, 6-foot-8, freshman, forward, No. 22
  • Eli Brooks, 6-foot-1, super senior, guard, No. 55