On the road for the final time this season, the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (22-5 overall, 13-4 Big Ten) are in New Jersey for a Saturday evening tilt at the RAC (I’ll NEVER call it Jersey Mike’s Arena!) with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-11 overall, 11-7 Big Ten). Rutgers are basically the 1996 Chicago Bulls at home and a 6 p.m. (local time) start for the game means that the fans are going to be loud and lubricated.
The Scarlet Knights are on a two-game losing streak, both games on the road natch, but have won three of their last five, including a win at the Kohl Center. Since losing to Rutgers, the Badgers have rattled off three straight wins (two on the road) and are currently tied for first place in the Big Ten with Purdue, with Illinois one game behind.
Back on the road looking for more pic.twitter.com/MSopGEO7Pw— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 26, 2022
In the first game between these two teams, Wisconsin was put in a position they have rarely found themselves in this year. Rutgers, and not the Badgers, was the team who turned on the jets late and secured a close victory by closing strongly. Over the final quarter of the game, RU outscored UW 18-9 to seal the big road win.
Wisconsin shot unbelievably poorly from both the free throw line (9-of-17, 52.9%) and the three point arc (4-of-19, 21.1%) in that game while Rutgers only missed two of their 18 free throw attempts and drained seven threes on only 12 attempts. Brad Davison, 1-of-9 from deep, in particular had a rough outing and, while he hasn’t quite kicked the three point shooting slump, he is shooting better than 1-of-9 in the past three games.
Johnny Davis also never really got going versus Rutgers, only scoring 11 points and committing four turnovers, so he’ll be looking for revenge against potential Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Caleb McConnell. The Badgers will also need answers on defense for Ron Harper, Jr. and Paul Mulcahy, who scored 21 and 18 points respectively, while combing to shoot 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.
The Badgers are slight underdogs here, as they should be, but this is a team that appears to take revenge seriously. They’ve already beaten the two teams with which they’ve had a rematch and Davis, Davison and crew seem to thrive on hostile environments. It should be another close, tense game for the Badgers but, well, that’s nothing new this season.
How to watch/listen
TV: BTN, 5:00 p.m. CT, Kevin Kugler, Stephen Bardo
Streaming: FOX Sports App; FOX streaming
Radio/Satellite: WIBA 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 195; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas
Live stats: Here!
Arena: Jersey Mike’s Arena, Piscataway, N.J.
DraftKings Line: Wisconsin +2.5
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 51%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 54%
Fun facts (according to the media guides)
- Saturday’s game marks the 14th-ever meeting between Wisconsin and Rutgers in a series that began in 1949.
- The Badgers are 9-4 all-time against the Scarlet Knights.
- The Badgers are 6-4 against Rutgers since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten in 2014-15. Greg Gard has gone 6-3 against RU.
- Wisconsin is 2-3 all-time in Piscataway, going just 1-3 since Rutgers joined the Big Ten.
Rutgers has been booked as a home underdog at the RAC six times in Big Ten play.— Ben Stevens (@BenScottStevens) February 25, 2022
The Scarlet Knights have won outright in all 6 games.
Rutgers is also covering ATS by an avg. margin of 12.7 PPG.
If I’m Wisconsin, Piscataway is the last place I would want to be tomorrow.
- Rutgers beat Wisconsin at the Kohl Center earlier this season, 73-65, for their first ever win in Madison.
- All-time, Rutgers has topped 70 points just three times against Wisconsin, but all have come in the last four games, which the two teams have split.
- Wisconsin is 2-0 in rematches with teams after an earlier loss, knocking off Ohio State and Michigan State earlier this year.
- At home, Rutgers is 13-2 this season, 41-7 over the past three seasons, and 31-3 in the last two seasons of games with fans allowed in the building.
- Wisconsin is 11-2 away from home this year, including a mark of 8-2 in true road games, leading the Big Ten in wins in both categories.
- The matchup represents sixth ranked opponent in a span of seven games for the Scarlet Knights. That marks the first time that the program has played six of seven games against ranked teams since the 2008-09 season.
- The Scarlet Knights had a historic start to that stretch, as Rutgers became the first unranked team in NCAA history to play four straight regular season games against ranked teams and win all four.
- Rutgers has now defeated all six currently ranked Big Ten teams this season and have five Quad 1 wins.
- Caleb McConnell leads the Big Ten Conference in steals and leads in steals per-game (2.33). He had six steals in his last game against Wisconsin.
- Paul Mulcahy leads the Big Ten in conference play in assists (102 and 6.38 per game).
- Tyler Wahl scored a career-high 23 points vs. Rutgers earlier in the season.
- Wisconsin leads the NCAA averaging just 8.7 turnovers per game.
- Over the last five games, freshman point guard Chucky Hepburn has just three total turnovers in 170 minutes.
- Since 2010, Hepburn (1.8) trails only Josh Gasser (2.5) for the best assist-to-turnover ratio by a Badger in his freshman season.
- Over the last four games, BIG STEVE Crowl is UW’s second leading scorer averaging 13 ppg shooting 69% from the floor, including 57.1% 3FG.
- The Badgers are averaging 71.1 ppg, which would be the team’s second-highest mark under Gard and the most since averaging 72.4 ppg during the 2016-17 season.
- 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
- 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
Status Update at Rutgers:— brandon harrison (@brandonharrison) February 26, 2022
Lorne Bowman II is not available tonight for Wisconsin — illness (non-COVID)