Wisconsin came to Iowa with the intention of keeping their lead in the Big Ten. Iowa was trying to get back on track after dropping 2 straight games. A win against Wisconsin would put Iowa back in the Big Ten race.
Both offenses got off to fast starts. After a back and forth 1st half, Wisconsin emerged with a 42-36 lead. Iowa wouldn't go away easy. They kept it close for most of the 2nd half. But at the end of the day Wisconsin was too much for Iowa to handle, and won 74-63. The Badgers showed us again why they are the best team in the Big Ten.
What We Learned
Frank Kaminsky is too good
It didn't matter who was guarding him, he still was going to score. It was another impressive performance by a guy that makes games like this look commonplace. Kaminsky showed the Hawkeyes that he couldn't be guarded in the paint or from behind the arc. He finished with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Kaminsky made another compelling case on Saturday afternoon for why he should be Big Ten Player of the Year. The only person that is standing in his way is Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell. Kaminsky has the slight advantage in my opinion, but there is a lot of basketball left to be played.
Iowa's offense was good enough to beat most Big Ten teams
They shot 47% from the floor and were 4-7 from behind the arc. Iowa's offense was helped by good games from Aaron White andGabriel Olasseni. Iowa just made too many little mistakes to beat Wisconsin. They were outrebounded by 9, shot 65% from the line, and committed 8 turnovers. You can overcome things like that against many teams, but not Wisconsin. Iowa had to play a perfect game to win, but they didn't.
The Badgers do everything right on the floor
This isn't anything new for Wisconsin, but that doesn't mean it's not impressive. Wisconsin has made winning on the road in the Big Ten look like it's a walk in the park because they play the game the right way. That's why they won on Saturday. You can win many games if you make your free throws, win the rebounding battle, and don't commit turnover. It sounds simple, but not many teams win these battles on a daily basis like the Badgers do. They shot 81% from the free throw line, collected 14 offensive boards, and only committed 6 turnovers. Wisconsin isn't going to beat themselves, they force their opponents to beat them. Iowa didn't have enough to beat them on Saturday afternoon.
Iowa may not be as good as some thought
Iowa might not be ready to stay at the top tier of the Big Ten. I believe they have the skill to match up with teams like Wisconsin, but they just don't do all the little things in order to win consistently. For Iowa to beat teams like Wisconsin, they need to play a complete game. Iowa had a better shooting percentage than Wisconsin, but that doesn't mean anything when you get outrebounded on both sides of the floor and struggle from the foul line. Mistakes like this are holding Iowa back from making the next step as a team.
Iowa couldn't snap their losing streak on Saturday afternoon. Iowa has fallen to 4-4 in the Big Ten and are now a long shot to win the Big Ten. They showed us they have the talent to compete with teams like Wisconsin, they just can't make the mistakes they made on Saturday afternoon. The Hawkeyes road doesn't get any easier from here. They travel up to Ann Arbor on Thursday to face Michigan in a game that will feel like a must win.
Wisconsin was the better team on Saturday. They make winning on the road in the Big Ten look easy. Iowa is still arguably the best conference opponent they've faced this year. We'll get a better feel for just how good they are after they face Indiana on Tuesday. But as it stands right now, they look head and shoulders above the rest of the Big Ten.