The injury-ridden Badgers could not compete against a surging Hawkeye offense Tuesday night in Iowa City.
Wisconsin (10-11, 3-5 Big Ten) fell to below .500 on the year after a blowout 85-67 loss to Iowa (11-11, 2-7 Big Ten).
Five Iowa players scored more than 10 points in the double-digit rout. Luka Garza had the most impressive night out of the bunch, dominating the paint and the glass with a team-high 17 points and 16 rebounds.
Despite trailing early, the Badgers showed signs of a comeback with help from forward Khalil Iverson’s gritty play. Iverson looked determined in the first half, leading the team with 13 points and five hard-earned rebounds to bring Wisconsin within four points just a few minutes before the half. Unfortunately, this early production was simply not enough to overcome the team’s inexperience and mistakes.
Brad Davison had one of his weakest showings of the season last night going just 2-10 from the field with a mediocre 2-3 assist-to-turnover ratio. While many other first-year players had underwhelming nights as well, Davison’s inability to perform as the primary ball handler put the Badgers at a significant disadvantage.
The wounds of the D’mitrik-Trice injury are as apparent as ever. Davison is one of the more promising young players on the Badgers, but he does not seem ready to take over the reins of point guard quite yet.
The Big Ten has not been kind to the ailing Badgers this season. The latest loss is the team’s fourth defeat in their previous five conference games. Despite a strong outing last week against Illinois, the Badgers have fallen short against teams like Rutgers, Nebraska and now Iowa, who are typically at the bottom of the Big Ten standings.
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Perhaps the only chance Wisconsin could have at salvaging their Big Ten season could come in the next month as they play their ten remaining conference games. One of their most significant challenges will come Friday, as they take on the No.-6 ranked Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing.
The Badgers will return home Monday to face Nebraska as they try to avenge their previous defeat. Until then, Wisconsin fans can only hope for a miracle upset against Michigan State to turn around a season that appears in free fall.