The Badgers hope to gain some form of consistency when they travel to Lincoln Saturday. They are coming off of a sweep of the Buckeyes and will look to do the same with the Cornhuskers. The challenge will be to come away with a win away from the Kohl Center. Wisconsin is just 3-9 away from home and just 2-5 on the road in the Big Ten.
UW welcomed Nebraska to the Kohl Center a little over three weeks ago when they hit a school record 18 threes on the way to a 82-68 win. The Badgers used a big second half to open up a lead as big as 18. Nebraska kept fighting and brought it down to as little as five, but UW held on for the win. Can Wisconsin sweep Nebraska and notch a rare conference win on the road ?
1. Limit Cam Mack And Dachon Burke
The depth of the Big Ten is at all-time high this season. The depth is a result of just how talented the conference is. Even Nebraska, a team who lost their last nine games, has a ton of talent. Look no further than their guards, Cam Mack and Dachon Burke.
Assistant coach Dean Oliver had high praise for the two guards calling them “nightmares for us coaches.” Oliver noted their stellar abilities to get by their defender but also find the open man once a defender rotates over. He talked about the importance of “keeping them in front, but also to get some deflections and make them think twice about some of their passes they are going to make. We’ve got our hands full.”
Guard D’Mitrik Trice, who was the primary defender on Cam Mack last time around, also held high regard for the two guards. “They have some really, really good guards,” Trice said. “Guys that can get to the rim at will.”
With Cam Mack as his primary assignment, Trice had success limiting his success. Mack scored just 14 points on 15 shots and turned it over three times. His teammate Dachon Burke had far more success with 21 points while shooting 71% from the field.
2. Hit Open Looks
Following the win over Ohio State, Greg Gard said it made sense why a team would play better at home as opposed to on the road. Gard was referring to being able to shoot on a home court, shower at home, sleep on your own bed etc..
Of course, it’s natural for a team to play better at home but the Badgers seem to be a completely different team on the road. Last week, they followed up an emotional win over then #14 Michigan State, with a disappointing loss on the road against rival Minnesota.
“Pray,” assistant coach Dean Oliver jokingly responded when asked how to get the team to play the same on the road as they do at home.
“It’s being physical, defense and rebounding,” Oliver. “That’s the key on the road, it is at home too, but you tend to make more shots at home.”
Last time out, the Badgers could not match the Gophers physicality. Now with Nebraska looking for a win they will need to match their energy and make their shots.
The shocking fall off for Wisconsin hitting shots is a sight to see. The team’s field goal percentage drops off from 46% at home to 38% on the road. Their success from beyond the arc drops from a great 40% at home to an awful 27% on the road. To make matters worse, their free throw percentage falls from a fantastic 83% at home to 68% on the road.
The rims are different, the ball may be different, and the atmosphere is different but the Badgers will need to hit their shots if they hope to improve to 15-10 and sweep yet another conference opponent.
3. Do Not Overlook The Cornhuskers
Wisconsin easily handled the Cornhuskers last time around by a 14 point margin. Nebraska has last their last nine games and is just 2-11 in the Big Ten but Wisconsin should not take them lightly, and it doesn’t seem like they are.
“They’re really, really looking for that win,” Trice said. “They just played Maryland tough, at Maryland. I think that they’re going to come in hungry, especially playing at home.” Nebraska kept up with the ninth ranked Terrapins, losing by just two points on the road.
Struggles on the road across the Big ten make this game against a struggling Nebraska team that much more difficult. Wisconsin has the chance to win consecutive games and gain a tough road win. If this was a home game, one can count this as a win, but just last week, the Badgers laid an egg at Minnesota.