Wisconsin Basketball is looking to pick up its fourth straight win on Tuesday against Nebraska. What are the keys to the game, and who wins?
Wisconsin and Nebraska are both streaking leading up to Tuesday’s showdown in Lincoln.
In the case of the Badgers, they have pulled themselves out of a midseason slump by winning three straight contests and climbing back into the Top 25 rankings. They once again look like a squad capable of making some noise in March.
Meanwhile, the Huskers have dropped three straight, and five of their last seven. While they still remain in the NCAA Tournament picture at the moment, they are inching increasingly closer to the bubble and could really use a resume-boosting win over the No. 24 Badgers.
Will they get it?
No. 24 WISCONSIN (14-6)
G – D’Mitrik Trice – SO (14.2 ppg)
G – Brad Davison- SO (10.7 ppg)
F – Khalil Iverson – SR (4.6 ppg)
F – Nathan Reuvers – SO (8.7 ppg)
C – Ethan Happ – SR (18.9 ppg)
G – Glynn Watson Jr. – SR (13.5 ppg)
G – James Palmer Jr. – SR (19.4 ppg)
G – Thomas Allen – SO (8.5 ppg)
F – Tanner Borchardt – SR (2.2 ppg)
F – Isaiah Roby – JR (10.5 ppg)
Keys to the game and prediction
I’m very concerned about how Wisconsin is going to score against this tough Nebraska defense.
The Huskers are one the nation’s top squads on that end of the court, ranking No. 14 in opponent field goal percentage. More specifically, they currently sit at No. 12 and No. 11 in two and three-point percentage, respectively. Nebraska’s opponents are only scoring 62.5 points per game, less than those of all but 13 other teams in the country.
Head coach Tim Miles deploys a starting lineup in which all five players average at least one steal per game, including 6’8 forward Isaiah Roby, who will likely be tasked with shutting down Ethan Happ. Roby is a high-level athlete in the post and is very active defensively, averaging 1.6 blocks to go along with his 1.4 steals per game. His play this season has created some buzz within NBA circles, with Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman listing him as a Top 40 draft prospect in his most recent Big Board.
Happ has struggled in the past against future pros, and his duel with Roby down low will be crucial in deciding the outcome of this game. In the event that he struggles to find good looks near the rim and is forced to focus more on facilitating opportunities for the likes of D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison, I’m not confident in their ability to convert against Nebraska’s lockdown defense. To make matters worse, you can bet there will be a rowdy Pinnacle Bank Arena crowd working to make every possession a living nightmare for Wisconsin.
The Badgers may be the only ranked team in this matchup, but I think they will be the underdog Tuesday evening as they face a talented Nebraska squad that is desperate for a win in one of the Big Ten’s most difficult environments for opponents. Indeed, ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives Wisconsin just a 41.7% chance to get the victory.
It’ll be yet another back and forth affair, but the Huskers are due for a win. Badgers fall, 72-64.
All stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com