Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Men’s basketball: Outright title on the line for No. 6 Wisconsin against Minnesota

Cody Schwartz/Badger Herald

Despite clinching a share of the Big Ten regular season championship Sunday with a 68-61 win over Michigan State, the No. 6 Wisconsin men’s basketball team isn’t dwelling on it.

The message is clear: What happened Sunday is in the past.

The Badgers (26-3, 14-2 Big Ten) are now turning their attention to a larger prize, the outright Big Ten championship. They can clinch the championship with a win in either of their final two regular season games against Minnesota – which they face Thursday in Minneapolis – or Ohio State Sunday.


Wisconsin currently sits 1.5 games ahead of second-place Maryland, who owns the tiebreaker after its upset of UW on Feb. 24. The Terrapins have just one regular season game left, which is at Nebraska Sunday.

A Wisconsin win Thursday would not only give the title of best team in the conference to the Badgers, but would give it the number one seed in the Big Ten tournament that begins next Wednesday.

“Now, we obviously want to win [the Big Ten] outright,” senior guard Josh Gasser said. “These next two games are really important, and then we want to get that one seed for the Big Ten tourney, and we know it’s ahead. Right now we’ve done a pretty good job of achieving our goals, but we have a lot more ahead of us.”

Minnesota (17-12, 6-10 Big Ten) is coming off a 96-90 overtime victory over Michigan State last Thursday, but prior to that lost three straight games including a 63-53 loss to Wisconsin at the Kohl Center.

Andre Hollins leads the Gophers, averaging a team-high 14.7 points with 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Hollins has scored in double figures in 12 of Minnesota’s 16 Big Ten games this season. But one of those games in which Hollins failed to score 10 or more points came against Wisconsin. On Feb. 21 in Madison, Hollins scored just two points, going 1-for-8 from the floor and 0-for-3 from three.

In spite of Hollins’ performance against Wisconsin last time, the Badgers have a taller task Thursday. Wisconsin has not fared well in Minneapolis as of late, despite owning the overall series in recent seasons. The Badgers have won seven of the last nine meetings with the Gophers but have lost their last two contests at Minnesota.

In 2013, Wisconsin fell to Minnesota 58-53 in overtime, and last season the Gophers dropped the ninth-ranked Badgers in Williams Arena 81-68 . It’s a loss that Gasser remembers more than a year later.

“We played at Minnesota last year, and they kicked our butt so we have to go down there and get some revenge down there,” Gasser said. “They’re going to bring it; they’re going to be amped up and ready to go.”

While the Gophers sit at 6-10 in conference and in 10th place in the 14-team Big Ten, the Badgers won’t casually travel to Minnesota expecting their 15th conference victory and the outright Big Ten regular season championship. The Gophers were picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten this season and have four of their five starters back from last season, so the experience and talent is there.

Before going on a three-game losing streak, Minnesota rattled off three straight wins against Nebraska, Purdue and Iowa. Both Purdue (3) and Iowa (4) are currently in the top five of the Big Ten standings.

“They’re a good team,” senior forward Frank Kaminsky, who scored a season-high 31 points against Michigan State, said. “They came into the Kohl Center, and they played well. We played well too, but it’s not going to be as easy going to their place.”

Thursday’s game will tip-off at 6 p.m. from Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Wisconsin (26-3, 14-2 Big Ten)

Big Ten: 14-2, 1st place, 1.5 games ahead of Maryland

Last Game: Defeated Michigan State at home, 68-61

Probable Starters: G – Bronson Koenig (6-4, 7.6 ppg), G – Josh Gasser (6-4, 7.1 ppg), F – Sam Dekker (6-9, 12.9 ppg), F – Nigel Hayes (6-8, 12.1 ppg), F – Frank Kaminksy (7-0, 18.1 ppg)

Key Reserves: G – Zak Showalter, F – Duje Dukan, F – Vitto Brown

Minnesota (17-12, 6-10 Big Ten)

Big Ten: 6-10, 10th place

Last Game: Defeated Michigan State at home in overtime, 96-90

Probable Starters: G – Nate Mason (6-1, 9.6 ppg), G – Andre Hollins (6-2, 14.7 ppg), F – Joey King (6-9, 9.1 ppg), F – Charles Buggs (6-9, 3.8 ppg) F – Maurice Walker (6-10, 11.7 ppg)

Key Reserves: G – Carlos Morris, G – DeAndre Mathieu, C – Bakary Konate

Game Vitals

Who: No. 6 Wisconsin at Minnesota

When: Thursday, Mar. 5, 6 p.m.

Where: Williams Arena (14,625); Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: ESPN (Rece Davis and Fran Fraschilla)

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *