Preview: Wisconsin at Iowa-A Battle to Stay in the Title Race

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Badgers and Hawkeyes look to keep pace in a game that has all the makings of a classic.

By the Numbers:

Wisconsin

Team

Iowa

21-5 (8-5)

Record

19-6 (8-4)

16

Ranking

15

30

RPI

5
8

BPI

15
6

KenPom

13
6

Sagarin

7

Feb. 22, 2014 – Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa

12:00 PM EST - ESPN2/WatchESPN

Skinny:

The Iowa Hawkeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers meet for the second time this season in a game both teams need to win to stay in the hunt for the regular season title. Wisconsin comes in riding a four game winning streak, including victories over Michigan and Michigan State, that has put them back into the B1G discussion. For Iowa a win at home will keep them within one game of the conference lead with a game at the Breslin Center still to come. Expect a full effort and focus as both teams come in well-rested, with the Badgers having had 6 days off by design, and the Hawkeyes having 7 off by act of beam. The game will feature a clash of styles as Iowa comes in with the quickest tempo in the conference. Quick tempo, being the thing Bo Ryan has made it his mission to rid the basketball world of. The Hawkeyes have a deep bench with 11 guys averaging over 10 minutes per game, while Wisconsin uses only 8 guys most nights with most of the minutes going to the starters. If Iowa can push the pace it may force Wisconsin to change up their rotation just to give guys a rest. These games are always tight and this rivalry might not get the talk of Michigan-Michigan State or Indiana-Purdue, but make no mistake these teams and fan bases don't like each other.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Wisconsin

Pos.

Iowa

Traevon Jackson

G

Mike Gesell

Ben Brust

G

Roy Devyn Marble

Josh Gasser

G-F

Aaron White

Sam Dekker

F

Melshan Basabe

Frank Kaminsky

C

Adam Woodbury

Players to Watch:

Frank Kaminsky: Kaminsky scored 43 earlier this year and dropped 25 last week against Michigan. The 7-foot forward has the ability to score both inside and out, and has been a difficult match-up for opposing big men. Against Iowa he will need to stretch the floor and make the Hawkeye forwards honor him on the perimeter by making his outside shots.

Ben Brust: Brust scored 19 and carried the offensive load in the first meeting, but went 3-11 against the Wolverines. His match-up with Marble will be key for Wisconsin. The Badgers will need a good game from their senior guard, especially on defense, if they want to win this one.

Roy Devyn Marble: Marble is a likely First Team All-B1G selection.  He averages 16.4 points and leads his team in steals with almost 2 per game. The senior scored 27 at Madison in the first meeting, going 10-24 from the field. He will need to lead his team on offense, but also be smart enough to defer to others if his shots aren't falling.

Aaron White: The Hawkeyes’ second leading scorer, he and Marble are the only players to average more than 25 minutes a game for Iowa. The Badgers are going to try to shut Roy Devyn Marble down, and the best way to stop them from doing that is for White to be effective on offense and make the defense take their focus off of Marble.

Wisconsin Perspective by @ChrisNovakSBN

For the Badgers, this represents an opportunity to finish the regular season in impressive fashion. With victories against Michigan St. and Michigan in their current four-game win streak, a win over the Hawkeyes would represent an emphatic message to the rest of the conference that the Badgers are still a team to fear come March. With Ken Pomeroy projecting Wisconsin to win their final four games of the regular season, a win over Iowa could give the Badgers a nine-game winning streak to finish the season if those projections stay true to form. That would be as impressive a finish to the back half of the Big Ten schedule as you could hope for. I would expect Wisconsin to center their defensive pressure on Roy Devyn Marble, who had a hand in the Hawkeyes' dismissal of the Michigan Wolverines not too long ago.  Frank Kaminsky has been superb as of late, and is coming off of a 25-point performance against those same Michigan Wolverines last Sunday. His matchup with Adam Woodbury down low could be the most important of the afternoon in Iowa City.

Iowa Perspective by @ARHolmesBTP

The Hawkeyes need to win this game if they want to win the Big Ten, it is as simple as that. They are going to want to push the ball and try to get Wisconsin to play Iowa basketball instead of the typical slow motion version of the game that Bo Ryan prefers. This contest means a lot to the guys in black and gold, just look at how nuts Fran McCaffery got in the first meeting. If you think this rivalry doesn't mean anything just take a look at this article from Black Heart Gold Pants written earlier this year. Carver-Hawkeye will be rockin' and home team won't want to send their fans home disappointed.

Prediction:

The first game was decided by 4 points and saw Fran McCaffery submit his entry for coaching tirade of the year. It will be shocking if this game isn't a back and forth battle that comes down to the wire. Iowa has the home-court advantage, but the Badgers are on a roll and take this one in OT.  Wisconsin 83 Iowa 78 OT

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