All seemed well again in the world of Wisconsin basketball. A D’Mitrik Trice three put the Badgers up 57-45 with 7:13 to go and they seemed on their way to their fourth win over a ranked Big Ten team. A 23-5 run over the last 6:59 made the difference for the No.18 Hawkeyes to pull away in Iowa City and open up the floodgates once more of chants of “fire Gard.”
Wisconsin (12-9 Overall, 5-5 Big Ten) traveled to Iowa City for a matchup with the No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes (15-5 Overall, 6-3 Big Ten) coming off a shellacking in West Lafayette at the hands of the Boilermakers. The mini road trip would not get any easier with the date in Iowa.
Wisconsin made the trip short handed with Kobe King not making the trip. The team called it a personal matter for Kobe King as head coach Greg Gard has no timetable for his return saying that nothing has been decided, according to Evan Flood. The situation with Kobe King will be one to monitor with uncertainty over whether or not he will even return to the team yet.
Now the Badgers, who already have a limited rotation, would have to make up for the loss of a starter on such short notice. Both D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison noted that they were surprised when they heard that King would not be traveling with the team.
The last time King had missed a game, due to injury, senior Brevin Pritzl replaced him in the starting lineup but this time around true freshman Tyler Wahl would be promoted to the starting lineup.
UW opened the night cold but their stout defense traveled with them to Iowa. They held the Hawkeyes to just 33% from the field and just 3-20 from beyond the arc. Wisconsin did not shoot much better going a measly 37% from the field while making just eight threes at a 29% clip but the difference came at the line.
Iowa ended the game 25-32 from the free throw line while UW finished 6-11 from the line. Iowa nearly tripled Wisconsin’s attempts from the line on an incredible 28 Wisconsin fouls while the Hawkeyes had only committed 15.
Iowa’s best player is 6’11” Luka Garza and when you combine that with questionable officiating, it made for a tough night for the Badgers. All three bigs for Wisconsin got into foul trouble with Aleem Ford finishing with three fouls while Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter each finished with four. Iowa began to expose the Badgers and their lack of depth in the frontcourt. Keep an eye out for how coach Gard manipulates his lineups when either of the three get into foul trouble.
A night that saw UW in control for most of the second half ended with heartbreak once again with a meltdown that saw just two meaningful points in the last 7:12 for UW. The last three points came on the final two seconds during a scramble for a loose ball and ensuing technical foul free throw while down seven.
The final 7:12 was a brutal stretch that saw the Badgers go just 2-9 from the field, commit five turnovers and 11 fouls. Wisconsin had a chance to rebound from a end to end loss at Purdue with a ranked road win but could not finish and now head back home but with a date against the Michigan State Spartans. A team they lost to just eleven days ago in a game where they were down by as much as 25 in the second half.