This will be the 191th meeting between Minnesota and Wisconsin in history. The Golden Gophers hold a 100-90 lead in the all-time series, but they fell 68-61 to Wisconsin earlier this month at home in an overtime thriller. Wisconsin held a 13-point advantage in the second half of the initial matchup of this season, but the Golden Gophers rallied to tie it up. Wisconsin managed to win in overtime behind a strong performance from Jordan Taylor.
Tubby Smith's Golden Gophers have a very slim chance at making it to the Big Dance after their 69-50 loss to Indiana on Sunday. The defeat was the fifth in a row for Minnesota, which now is 17-12 overall and a disappointing 5-11 in Big Ten action. The Golden Gophers shot just 31 percent from the floor and made only 11 two-point field goals in their loss to the Hoosiers. Minnesota will also be looking to end another losing streak, as it has not been able to defeat a ranked opponent on the road since 1997.
Rodney Williams leads the balanced attack for Minnesota with team highs of 10.7 points and 5.3 boards per game. Julian Welch contributes a second-best 10.2 ppg. The Golden Gophers were out of sync on Sunday versus Indiana. Sophomore guard Austin Hollins had a decent outing, as he scored 14 points on 4-for-8 shooting, 3-for-5 from three, however the rest of the team shot 14- for-50 from the floor in the embarrassing loss.
Bo Ryan's Badgers are coming off of their biggest win of the season as they downed the Ohio State Buckeyes, 63-60, on Sunday to improve to 21-8 overall. Wisconsin is now just one win away from clinching at least fourth place and a bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament. Wisconsin's national-leading defense allowed 60 points in the win on Sunday, which was just the 10th time this season an opponent reached to 60-point plateau. The Badgers' success this year has been primarily due to its stifling defense, which leads the nation at a meager 52.0 ppg. Including tonight, Wisconsin's final two games are at the Kohl Center, where it is 12-4 so far.
Wisconsin will go as far as its star point guard Jordan Taylor can carry it this season. Taylor has averaged 16.0 points per game in Big Ten play, which ranks sixth in the league. The senior guard broke out of a slump his last time out as he netted a team-high 19 points in the win over the Buckeyes. Taylor's excellent performance on Sunday was accompanied by solid support from Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans. Berggren scored 19 points in the victory while Evans chipped in a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Bruesewitz also added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds to round out the team- effort. If Wisconsin continues to deliver a balanced attack offensively, it will be invincible as its defense is already the best in the nation.