Iowa City, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - Continuing their quest for the Big Ten Conference crown, the fifth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers hit the road for Saturday's showdown with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The teams are meeting for the second time in 11 days, as Wisconsin routed Iowa in Madison on Jan. 20, 82-50. As a result, the Badgers extended their lead in the all-time series to 81-79, and it was the first time in the last six meetings where the outcome wasn't even close. The previous five had all been decided by five points or less.
Wisconsin owns an impressive 18-2 record on the season, and the team is 6-1 in Big Ten play. The Badgers are 5-1 in true road tests, and they are coming off a 69-64 overtime triumph at Michigan last Saturday. Overall, UW has won three straight and 11 of its last 12 overall.
Iowa enters this contest sporting a 13-7 overall record, which includes a 4-3 league ledger. The Hawkeyes have dropped their last two decisions, falling on the road to both the Badgers and most recently, the Purdue Boilermakers last Saturday, 67-63. Iowa is 10-2 at home this season, winning three of its last four at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Frank Kaminsky scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help lead Wisconsin to its recent overtime win at Michigan. Support came from Sam Dekker with 15 points, Bronson Koenig with 13 and Nigel Hayes with 10, as the Badgers made good on 47.1 percent of their field goal attempts and finished with a slight 14-11 edge in points from the foul line. Both teams took good care of the basketball, combining for 17 turnovers. All of UW's scoring came from its starters, as only eight players saw action for coach Bo Ryan's club.
Kaminsky continues to make his case for Big Ten Player of the Year honors as he averages 17.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, while also logging 33 blocked shots and 19 steals. Dekker (12.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Hayes (12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg) round out the double-digit scorers for a Wisconsin squad that puts up 73.6 ppg in hitting 48.8 percent of its field goal attempts, and 74.2 percent of its free throws. Defensively, the Badgers yield a mere 55.1 ppg, with opponents converting only 41 percent of their total shots. Additionally, Wisconsin is +6.3 in rebounding margin, and +3.4 in the turnover department.
Mike Gesell hit for 18 points and Gabriel Olaseni pulled down 16 points, 11 on the offensive glass, but those efforts went to waste as Iowa lost at Purdue last weekend. The Hawkeyes made good on only 32.8 percent of their field goal attempts, missing the mark on 13 of their 17 3-point tries in the process, while the Boilermakers hit 47.2 percent of their total shots and committed only six turnovers. Iowa claimed a massive 46-31 rebounding advantage, but Purdue outscored the visitors in the paint, 38-24.
The Hawkeyes have just two double-digit scorers in Aaron White (15.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Jarrod Uthoff (11.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg), as they generate 69.3 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .416 overall and .313 beyond the arc. Fortunately, they are among the best free-throw shooting teams in the conference at 74.5 percent. At the defensive end, Iowa permits just 62.8 ppg, as foes are shooting a mere 39.8 percent from the floor overall, which includes a 31.9 percent performance out on the perimeter.