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College Basketball Rivalries: Iowa vs. Wisconsin - Status Check

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This is one of the most even rivalries in the country, let alone the Big Ten. Let's see where we stand heading into next season.

These two will be key players in the rivalry this season.
These two will be key players in the rivalry this season.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota have a border triangle of hate thing that they've been working on for over a century and the most even side of the triangle (math!) is easily Iowa versus Wisconsin. As amazing as it is that Minnesota lost again at something, that's not why we're here. The football rivalry sits at 43-42-2 in favor of the Badgers, while the basketball matchup is at 80-79 for UW (as always, suck it forever Iowa). The games recently have been fraught with drama and fantastic finishes with both teams trading heartbreaking endings. Let's dive into some good old-fashioned corn fueled hate.

Iowa - Wisconsin Historically

As mentioned above these two teams are separated by the razor thinnest of margins. The Hawkeyes have dominated in Iowa City, owning a 50-27 advantage, while the Badgers are 51-28 in the comfy confines of the isthmus of Madison. Wisconsin is also 17-7 against Iowa with Bo Ryan at the helm.

Throughout history, Iowa has won their conference eight times, won the B1G Tournament twice, and been to the Big Dance 23 times, while the Badgers boast 17 regular season conference titles, two B1G Tourney championships, and 20 NCAA Tournament appearances. Wisconsin has the only national championship in the rivalry, although that came in 1941 and if you remember that...congrats on being able to use the Internet, old-timer!

The final tiebreaker to decide who wins historically between these two fabled programs is "who had Ricky Davis attend school there," and unfortunately, Iowa blows Wisconsin out of the water in this one.

Iowa - Wisconsin Recent History

The recent battles between the Badgers and Hawkeyes have been appointment television for college basketball fans. Since 2010, Wisconsin has won five games and Iowa has notched three victories.

Year Result Location Head Coaches High Scorer
2010 67-40 Wisconsin Madison, WI Bo Ryan/Todd Lickliter Jon Leuer 18
2011 62-59 (OT) Wisconsin Iowa City, IA Bo Ryan/Fran McCaffery Jon Leuer 19
2011 72-65 Iowa Madison, WI Bo Ryan/Fran McCaffery Aaron White 18
2012 67-66 Iowa Iowa City, IA Bo Ryan/Fran McCaffery Matt Gatens 33 (holy crap)
2013 70-66 Iowa Iowa City, IA Bo Ryan/Fran McCaffery George Marshall (really?) 20
2013 74-70 (double OT) Wisconsin Madison, WI Bo Ryan/Fran McCaffery Ben Brust 18
2014 75-71 Wisconsin Madison, WI Bo Ryan/Fran McCaffery Roy Devyn Marble 27
2014 79-74 Wisconsin Iowa City, IA Bo Ryan/Fran McCaffery Roy Devyn Marble 21/Frank Kaminsky 21

Multiple overtime games, one point victories, crazy coaches getting ejected and single-handedly losing their team the game, and buzzer beating shots litter the recent history of these two teams. As you can see in the handy chart, this rivalry is one of streaks. UW is currently riding a three game winning streak, and the sweep of the Hawkeyes (as well as taking two of three from the Gophers in the Corn Fueled Hate Triangle) last year helped propel the Badgers to one of the best seasons in school history.

This past year in their first matchup, the Hawkeyes were up nine at halftime but fell to the Badgers due to a double technical issued to Coach McCaffery with 12 minutes left. Ben Brust hit all four free throws and Wisconsin went on to take the physical, tension-filled contest. In the second game, Wisconsin capped off their toughest four game stretch of the season with another heart-stopping win over Iowa. Roy Devyn Marble was a monster in both games and Wisconsin fans are excited to see him take his talents to the NBA.

With Bo Ryan and Fran McCaffery at the respective helms, this rivalry has only grown more heated due to the, uh, "histrionics" both coaches can be drived to during games. This coming season has the potential to be historic for Wisconsin, and while they should be favored to beat Iowa, I bet nothing would satisfy Hawkeye fans/players more than sticking it to the Badgers one (or two) times next year.

Iowa - Wisconsin Recruiting

Wisconsin '13 Wisconsin '14 Wisconsin '15 Iowa '13 Iowa '14 Iowa '15
247 Class Rating 45 109 36 113 73 33
Total Commits 6 1 1 1 3 3
5* Commits 0 0 0 0 0 0
4* Commits 1 0 1 0 0 0
3* Commits 3 1 0 1 3 2
2* or Lower Commits 2 0 0 0 0 1

Neither of these teams has done particularly well in recruiting according to 247 Sports, but the numbers don't always tell the whole story. Wisconsin and Iowa are both extremely smart about the players they recruit. They might not have the highest rankings on recruiting websites, but the players will fit in well with the particular offense that they are joining. The 2013 class stands out for the Badgers due to the signings of Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes, the reigning B1G Freshman of the Year. Even though Hayes was rated a three star, he was still considered a top-150 player nationally and fit Bo Ryan's mold of a big guy that can make a jump shot (he's still working on extending that range to beyond the arc, but we'll get there. We'll get there.). In 2014, the Badgers only took one player (Ethan Happ, SF, Taylor Ridge, IL), but also only had room for one player. Happ is another guy that the Badgers were high on. He's tall and can shoot, catching a theme here? With the Badgers loaded up for a conference, and possibly national, title run, Happ probably won't even have to suit up for the team this year. Giving him a year to gain some weight and practice with one of the best teams in the nation. The most important recruiting class, and I don't think I'm exaggerating here, in Wisconsin's basketball history is the 2015 class. Right now the Badgers have one member of the class, four star shooting guard Brevin Pritzl out of De Pere, Wisconsin, but the best high school class of players that the state of Wisconsin has ever seen is the main focus now. There are two top-10 big men in the country right in the Badgers' back yard. Diamond Stone from Milwaukee and Henry Ellenson from Rice Lake are two guys that the Wisconsin coaching staff have been after for years. Just about every major team in the country has offered these two potential program changers, and Wisconsin is hoping that since they were among the first to offer that they have an advantage. At one time there was hope that both would sign with the Badgers, I'm currently of the school of thought that neither will stay home, but I was raised a Philadelphia sports fan so I don't think good things can happen to my favorite teams.

The Hawkeyes ended their 2013 class with only one commit (but like UW's 2014 class, that was all they could take), Peter Jok of West Des Moines (born in Sudan). The 6-6 shooting guard played a minor role as a freshman last year, but his performance against Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament (10 points on 4-of-5 shooting) has lead many to tab him as the main replacement for Roy Devyn Marble this year. That is certainly possible, but Jok will have to be off suspension for that to happen. He's been in trouble twice this summer due to moped related incidents. Peter, just start walking places, man. All three members of the 2014 class for Iowa come in as three star prospects. Trey Dickerson is a JUCO point guard that could receive backup minutes at the one spot. In a Prime Time League (summer league consisting of Iowa and Northern Iowa players) game last month, Dickerson notched 15 points and eight assists while playing with Aaron White and a few other Hawkeyes. Iowa has started out strong on the 2015 recruiting path, perhaps parlaying their NCAA Tourney bid into recruiting successes, nabbing three commits already. Brandon Hutton, a small forward out of Chicago, appears to be the most polished of the three. The Hawkeyes still have two more scholarships to play with heading into 2015, so look for them to continue to be active on the recruiting trail.

Iowa - Wisconsin in 2014-15

The Badgers are coming off a trip to the Final Four and Iowa returned to the Tourney last year for the first time since 2006. Both teams are trending upwards, but one team lost a lot more than the other. The Badgers lost one player, Ben Brust, from last year's team and have their sights set on a return to the Final Four. Iowa lost it's leading scorer and best player, Roy Devyn Marble, not to mention also losing their fifth leading scorer, Melsahn Basabe, and a forward off the bench, Zach McCabe (who some Hawkeye fans might be happy to see go).

With Sam Dekker, Frank Kaminsky, and Nigel Hayes all playing together in the Badgers front court and Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson patrolling the perimeter, I really see Iowa having a difficult time beating the Badgers this year. However, Aaron White and Mike Gessell have given the Badgers fits and in a rivalry game like this the records, as they say, are thrown out the window.

Final Thoughts

In football these two teams play for the Heartland Trophy and the game is always a knockdown, drag-out, slugfest. While there is no trophy for the basketball rivalry, it can be described similarly both on and off the court. Recent Badger grad Ben Brust was originally an Iowa commit before switching to Wisconsin due to the Hawkeyes coaching change and current Iowa sixth man Jarrod Uthoff transferred to Iowa from Wisconsin in a contentious manner after Bo Ryan put severe restricitions on where Uthoff could go. Put all that together with even amounts of wins by both teams, large and vocal fanbases, and proximity to each other, and you have quite the recipe for a hostile rivalry.

And if hating Iowa, or Wisconsin, more than other schools in the B1G is wrong...I don't want to be right.