As the Badgers hit mid-season conference play, they find themselves fifth in the Big Ten standings and searching for a spot in the AP rankings.
Coming off a road win against Illinois, the Badgers hope to avenge an earlier season loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes when the two teams meet again Wednesday. Despite sitting lower in the Big Ten standings, head coach Bo Ryan knows the Hawkeyes still pack a punch similar to many ranked teams.
“They have the guys with experience. They have depth. So that’s what you need in this league, and then you can compete with anybody if you have that,” Ryan said. “Iowa is as good as any team as I’ve seen.”
As a result, the Badgers are looking to grab some payback on a game that went awry in mid-January as they trailed by 20 at one point in the first half. They were able to pull it back within three but were ultimately ousted 70-66.
Despite going 3-4 on the road thus far, Ryan noted he sees no difference in how the team plays between home and away games.
“I never tried to analyze winning on the road, winning at home, any of that, because there’s so many different things that you can say about why, why, why, because it would fit,” Ryan said. “As soon as you think you have an answer, then next game, it’s like, well, wait a minute.”
Nonetheless, as is customary of a Ryan-led team, the Badgers will look to get back to their fundamentals, something they struggled with in their loss to Iowa earlier this year.
Perhaps more important is the return of sophomore forward Frank Kaminsky to the lineup this time around. With Kaminsky back in the lineup, the Badgers can claim to have depth back on their side this time around.
Kaminsky and junior guard Ben Brust helped most in the scoring department Sunday, totaling 39 points for the Badgers against Illinois.
“To be able to get Frank back, obviously, after missing some games and the fact that he hadn’t practiced much, it was a big difference between the Ohio State game and what he gave us against Illinois,” Ryan said.
Ryan even proceeded to note Kaminsky’s performance against the Illini was similar to that of finding Waldo.
“You put that hat and sweater on him, and I tell you what, it might happen,” Ryan said. “We’ve been looking for him. I think we found him yesterday.”
“Mike is a leader. He sets the tone defensively,” Ryan said. “Mike is right in there on every possession.”
With Kaminsky finally returning, capping off a difficult season in which they’ve had to make more adjustments to their rotation than they ever have or ever would have liked to, things are finally looking up.
“To be sitting where we are, you take it and get ready for the next,” Ryan said.