Wisconsin (18-5) @ Northwestern (7-12) – February 21
One of the Wisconsin basketball team’s final unranked opponents is Northwestern. The Wildcats started Big Ten play on fire with wins over #4 Michigan St., Indiana, and #23 Ohio St. Since then, they have lost seven straight games, including a 16-point loss to Wisconsin in Madison on January 20.
Northwestern finished near the bottom of the Big Ten last season and it looks like they could be headed that way again. Currently, the Wildcats have a 6-8 record and it’s hard to see them getting more than one win before they play the Badgers again. They will face Purdue, Indiana, Rutgers, and Illinois in their next four games. Indiana is their only home game in that stretch.
I gave them the benefit of the doubt and gave them a win somewhere in there, bringing their record to 7-12 before the Badger game.
I think by the end of the season when a team knows their season is pretty much over, their effort in games will drop. This late in the season, the Badgers have something to play for while the Wildcats won’t.
Northwestern 58 – Wisconsin 72
Wisconsin (19-5) vs. Illinois (16-6) – February 27
I think it is always tough to beat an opponent twice in a season, especially when you are facing a talented team. Illinois took the first game in my predictions, but I think Wisconsin evens the season series at a game apiece when they host the Illini at the Kohl Center and earn their 20th win of the season.
It won’t be an easy game for the Badgers, but after wins over Michigan, Iowa, and Northwestern, they will be on a hot streak and I think that momentum will help them with this game as well.
This could be a huge game for both teams going down the stretch towards the Big Ten Tournament. Luckily for the Wisconsin basketball team, they are at home. Illinois thrives when the pace of play is high. Wisconsin can slow them down and get them out of their rhythm.
This is a huge game for the Badgers heading into their final games of the regular season.
Wisconsin 75 – Illinois 71