This is the battle I have been waiting for since oh, about when Jarrod Uthoff decided to transfer from the University of Wisconsin to the University of Iowa. Like these two teams needed anymore reason to dislike each other. If you didn’t already know, current Wisconsin guard, Ben Brust, decommitted from Iowa when Todd Lickliter was let go, he then later committed to Wisconsin. It’s safe to say he isn’t liked in Iowa City. Same is going to go for Jarrod Uthoff. He will be hearing the boo’s from start to finish.
Now that you know all the drama that will be going on on Sunday, lets take a look at the actual basketball game that will be played between the 4th ranked Badgers and the 22nd ranked Hawkeyes.
Last year these teams split the season series.
Brust and Dekker
When these guys go, Wisconsin goes. They are the leaders of this team and know what coach Bo Ryan wants from them on a nightly basis. Dekker is averaging 14.5 points per game to go along with 53% shooting from the field. Burst averages about 12 points a game. The Badgers are undefeated, but in the games that have been close both Dekker and Brust have had a tough time. The Hawkeyes will be one of their tougher opponents thus far so getting them going is key.
Win the rebounding battle
The Badgers rank 217th in the nation in rebounding while the Hawkeyes are third. Iowa will be the longest opponent they’ve faced so far this year and with their ability to rebound, especially on the offensive end, the Badgers need to keep them off the glass or it could be a long night.
Control the pace
As we all know, Wisconsin runs that swing offense that slows the pace of the game way down. This is not something the Hawkeyes would like to fall in to. Iowa needs to get out in transition and force the Badgers to play the up-tempo style of play that Iowa likes. Wisconsin’s scoring averages have been higher, which is promising for Iowa since they like a high scoring game.
Slow the bench
Wisconsin’s starting five is already so dangerous, you don’t need guys like Nigel Hayes or Bronson Koenig getting in on the action. Wisconsin isn’t like Iowa with their bench scoring, but they have players that come off the bench and make an impact for them. Iowa needs to put a stop to anything the bench guys try to do right away as their hands will already be full with guys like Dekker, Brust, and Traevon Jackson.
I expect this game to be a good one, but it’s going to be tough for the Hawkeyes as the Badgers are very good at home under Bo Ryan. However, Iowa did take Wisconsin into double overtime last year when they visited the Kohl Center. With this Hawkeye team being older and more mature now, hopefully they use that experience as a learning tool this time around.