On Thursday, the Big Ten had two games with NCAA tournament teams looking to improve their March resume. Wisconsin and Minnesota both needed wins, but for completely different reasons.
Wisconsin was hoping to stop their four game losing streak against unranked opponents against the Iowa Hawkeyes in Madison. In the other game, Minnesota was looking for their eighth straight conference win to bolster their March resume as they hosted Nebraska on Senior Night.
Let’s take a look at the action.
Game of the Night:
-Iowa Hawkeyes 59, No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers 57
The Wisconsin Badgers need to stop the bleeding.
The Badgers lost for the fifth time in their last six games, this time to Iowa, 59-57. Wisconsin uncharacteristically blew a nine point lead, 54-45, with under five minutes left to play. The Badgers failed to score a single point over the final three minutes, and lost for the second time in their last three home games.
The Hawkeyes outrebounded the Badgers 37-27, to go along with a scaling hot nine of 19 (47 percent) from three point range. Sophomore reserve forward Nick Baer led Iowa with four pointers and a team high 14 points. Freshman Jordan Bohannon scored 11 points including the game-winning 3-pointer with just nine seconds remaining.
Scoring was not an issue for the Badgers, with Senior Bronson Koenig leading four players in double figures with 19 points. Koenig made four of eight from three point range, but the rest of the Badgers team was only two of 15 from beyond the arc. Senior Nigel Hayes chipped in 10 points, and Sophomore forward Ethan Happ added 11 points.
The Badgers (11-6) fell into a three way tie with Maryland and Minnesota for second place in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin will have one last chance to get the win column at Senior Day on Sunday against Minnesota. Iowa (17-13, 9-8) will host their own Senior Day game against Penn State.
When Jordan Murphy started the game with a jumper from a Nate Mason assist, the Golden Gophers had grabbed a lead they would never relinquish. Minnesota continued their torrid winning streak on Senior Night with a domination of Nebraska, 88-73.
The Golden Gophers held Nebraska to 37 percent from the field and only 28 percent from three point range. Junior Nate Mason continued his late season push for first team all Big Ten with 25 points, and the sophomore Murphy had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
After back to back wins over Penn State and Ohio State, the Cornhuskers lost their third game in a row to fall to 6-11 in the Big Ten, tied for 11th place.
Minnesota (11-6) is now in a tied for second place in conference, and has an overall record of 23-7. Head Coach Richard Pitino has the Golden Gophers peaking at just the right time, and they are more than ready for the challenge of traveling to Wisconsin on Sunday to finish up their regular season.