After a heartbreaking 78-74 overtime loss to Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team has yet another difficult task ahead when it travels to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes.
Although the Badgers blew a 12-point second-half lead to their rival Golden Gophers, they must quickly turn around to get ready to face Iowa, which has won only one game in the young Big Ten season. Nevertheless, UW won’t take the Hawkeyes lightly.
“It’s really tough, but it’s the Big Ten Conference, and we have to come ready to play every night,” junior guard Jason Bohannon said. “That was a tough loss, but we have to move on to the next one. We have a tough game coming up at Iowa, so we have to come ready to play, regardless of what happens in the past.”
Once again the Badgers will be challenged by strong guard play. The Hawkeyes feature three guards averaging over 10 points per game in Anthony Tucker, Matt Gatens and Jeff Peterson.
Despite the imminent challenge, getting past a loss like the one to Minnesota will be difficult to do, according to UW forward Marcus Landry. The Badgers’ loss to Minnesota was the first home loss against their border rival since 1994, making it a game particularly hard to swallow.
“You have to be able to not focus too much on this game, because otherwise you can lose focus in the future,” Landry said. “You need to learn from it and put it behind you.”
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes are coming off consecutive losses to Minnesota and Michigan. Although Iowa was blown out by the Wolverines, they put up a fight against the Golden Gophers, losing by only three points at Carver Hawkeye Arena Jan. 8.
The Hawkeyes rely heavily on their three point shooting. As a team, Iowa shoots 39.9 percent from beyond the arc and counts on its guards to do the majority of the scoring. Furthermore, Iowa only allows 56.1 points per game, which is tops in the Big Ten and is 9-1 at Carver Hawkeye Arena this season, with the only loss coming to the Golden Gophers. The Hawkeyes held Minnesota to only 52 points in their loss, while the Badgers let up 78 points from the Gophers.
Wisconsin will be looking to break its two-game losing streak, the first such streak since the 2006-07 season when the Badgers were ranked No. 1 in the country before losing to Michigan State and Ohio State in consecutive games.