A big night in the Big Ten concludes with the no. 23 Wisconsin Badgers hosting the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Badgers are a slight 2.5-point favorite at home over their rivals. The game also has an over/under of 147 points.
The Badgers are fresh off an upset of no. 3 Purdue on Monday night, which should boost their spot in the polls if they can keep winning.
Wisconsin has now won nine of its last ten games, losing only to Ohio State during that stretch. During that stretch, the Badgers also have wins over Houston, Georgia Tech, Marquette, and Indiana, so they are a proven commodity.
As for the Hawkeyes, they are just 1-2 in conference play thus far, so there is some pressure on them to get a statement win. The good news is that Iowa has won four in a row to follow up a three-game losing streak.
The Hawkeyes are also coming off a win over Maryland earlier this week in their best game of the season.
The players are different, but Iowa still has one of the most potent offenses in the country, ranking third nationally in points per game.
Sophomore Keegan Murray has made a big leap and then some, going from 7.2 points per game last year to 24.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this season.
Patrick McCaffery has also grown into a more significant role averaging 11.3 points per game, while Jordan Bohannon remains steady, averaging 10.7 points per game, respectively.
However, while those three lead the way, the Hawkeyes can go as many as ten deep, with seven of those players averaging at least six points per game. Joe Toussaint remains a crucial figure, scoring just 5.2 points per game but giving Iowa steady point guard play.
The Hawkeyes also have a wealth of capable three-point shooters outside of Murray and Bohannon, shooting 35.5% from the perimeter as a team.
Slow and Steady
Like Iowa, the Badgers have a player who has far surpassed expectations. Johnny Davis averaged seven points per game off the bench last season but averages 22.3 points and 7.3 rebounds this season, including 37 points in the win over Purdue.
Meanwhile, Brad Davison, the team’s only returning starter, continues to be a dangerous outside threat, averaging 14.5 points per game.
The Badgers also feature plenty of size in the frontcourt from Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl, and Chris Vogt, as that trio provides plenty of rebounding on defense.
However, Wisconsin’s backcourt scoring is limited outside of Davis and Davison. The Badgers also rank near the bottom nationally in assists, averaging just 10.3 per game.
The Badgers might be coming off a big win over Purdue, but they need a monster game from Davis to get by the Hawkeyes. Iowa offers a deeper and more balanced set of scorers than Wisconsin, including more capable outside shooters.
It might take another huge game from Davis, even if the Badgers can slow down Iowa and force a lower-scoring game, making the Hawkeyes a good bet as road underdogs in this game.
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