The No. 7 Badgers (21-3, 10-1) are back at home on Sunday afternoon after a one-game road trip to Nebraska. Northwestern travels to Madison on a current two-game skid, losing to Purdue and Illinois. The Badgers, on the other hand, have won eight straight. The game will be televised on BTN at 5:30 p.m. CT.
G: Bronson Koenig (13.9 PPG, 2.2 APG)
G: Zak Showalter (8.0 PPG, 2.0 APG)
F: Nigel Hayes (13.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 3.0 APG)
F: Vitto Brown (7.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG)
C: Ethan Happ (14.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.7 APG)
G: Bryant McIntosh (13.5 PPG, 5.5 APG)
G: Scottie Lindsey (15.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG)
G: Sanjay Lumpkin (6.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG)
F: Vic Law (13.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG)
C: Dererk Pardon (7.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG)
Sunday afternoon’s matchup between Wisconsin and Northwestern features the two best scoring defenses in the Big Ten. Wisconsin holds their opponents to a Big Ten low 60.2 PPG, and Northwestern is next on the list at 64.6 PPG.
“Their strength really is their defense,” assistant coach Lamont Paris said. “They play really hard, believe in themselves, and play for one another.”
Northwestern started out conference play 7-2, but then leading scorer Scottie Lindsey missed the two most recent games because of mono, and the Wildcats were unable to win either of those matchups.
There is a chance Lindsey returns for Sunday afternoon and that wouldn’t be a moment too soon for Chris Collins’s squad. Before Lindsey’s injury, Northwestern was riding a six-game winning streak. In both games without Lindsey, the Wildcats put up fewer points than any of the six games during that winning streak.
Wisconsin is coming off of another defensive, grind-it-out effort that ended up going into overtime, their third overtime period in the last six games. Despite winning eight straight, the Badgers don’t feel that they are playing their best basketball. Lower tier Big Ten teams like Rutgers, Nebraska and Minnesota have nearly upset the Badgers during the streak.
Northwestern won the last matchup between the two teams, which was last year. Bryant McIntosh, then a freshman, scored 28 points and had five assists, as he was the key player for the Wildcats that night. McIntosh is having a solid sophomore year, averaging 13.5 PPG and 5.5 APG. He leads the Big Ten conference in assists per game.
“He does everything,” Paris said of McIntosh. “Scores, assists, the ball is in his hands at all time. Shoots from three, drives it, rim to rim in transition. He’s constantly putting pressure on the defense.”