This season hasn’t gone as hoped for both Northwestern and Wisconsin with both teams on the outside looking in on the NCAA Tournament.
With only two games left in the Big Ten regular season, the Badgers and Wildcats are going in different directions.
Wisconsin finally has some momentum with a win over #6 Purdue last week and a comeback win over Minnesota on Monday night. Greg Gard’s squad is taking forward steps into next season, and has a chance to take another step by avenging their 60-52 loss to Northwestern on February 1st.
Meanwhile, Northwestern was sitting at 15-10 with a 6-6 record in the Big Ten, but then the Wildcats went on a four-game slide and sit at 15-14.
Northwestern surprisingly beat Wisconsin in the paint which was surprising because, on paper, Ethan Happ gives the Badgers a major advantage. However, Dererk Pardon had one of his best games of the season, scoring 17 points on 8/8 shooting from the field.
Offensively, the Badgers struggled shooting the ball going just 7/26 from beyond the arch. Brevin Pritzl went 0/11 on a frustrating night, but fortunately for Wisconsin, he’s figured out his shooting woes. Pritzl is coming off of a 20 point game with six three-pointers against Minnesota. Over his last four outings, Pritzl is 12/21 from deep. If Pritzl can be a consistent threat that defenses have to worry about, it will clear up some badly needed space for Happ in the paint.
Wisconsin went smaller against Northwestern the first time around. Nate Reuvers started but only played 13 minutes. Happ, Brad Davison, Khalil Iverson, Pritzl and Aleem Ford all played 30-plus minutes.
If the Badgers can pull out the win, it will be Wisconsin’s first three-game win streak since their five-game winning streak in late December. The Badgers are just 2-6 in Big Ten away games this season.