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1/20 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Wisconsin Set to Host Northwestern

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There is only one game tonight after Minnesota and Nebraska’s game was postponed.

Game of the Night

Northwestern Wildcats at #10 Wisconsin Badgers

  • Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET (BTN)

Remember when Northwestern was ranked?

The Wildcats landed upsets over Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State on their way to a 6-1 record and top 20 ranking. They followed that with five losses, all by double digits. And now they have to travel to face the tenth ranked Badgers in Madison. Ouch.

Wisconsin had a rough loss at Michigan last week but cleaned things up with a road win against a ranked Rutgers program. At 11-3 and 5-2 in the conference the Badgers are once again contending at the top of the Big Ten. With a five game slate including Northwestern, Maryland and two games against Penn State, the Badgers should be primed to stay in contention over the next several weeks.

In troubling news for Northwestern they’ll face a Wisconsin offense that is ranked in the top 20 in KenPom’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency rankings. That’s problematic because the Wildcats defense has fell off during their five game losing streak, giving up at least 81 points in all games. Wisconsin is led by guard D’Mitrik Trice, who is averaging 15 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 43.5% from three. Also key to the Badgers success is forward Micah Potter, who is averaging 12.3 points and 7 blocks per game while also hitting 38.5% of his threes.

Northwestern has looked better than expected at times this year, with some solid production from Miller Kopp and Pete Nance, as well as Boo Buie’s (almost) five assists per game. Their defensive struggles, with an offense that hasn’t been able to keep pace with the more efficient offenses in the conference, doesn’t fare well. Even more so when you realize the Wildcats don’t have the bench the Badgers do.

With tonight’s game taking place in Madison it’s hard to see Northwestern landing another massive upset. The struggling Wildcats will add another L to their losing streak.

Pick: Wisconsin