Wisconsin vs Northwestern
TV: Big Ten Network
Time: 7:30 PM CT
Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, IL
First Easy Trey:
1. The Badgers are 13-3 and ranked 16th in the nation, Northwestern is 12-3 but has won only once out of their Big Ten games with the win against Michigan and the losses to Illinois and Michigan State.
2. Northwestern starts John Shurna and Luka Mirkovic as the forwards, and Michael Thompson,Jeromy Nash and Drew Crawford at the guard spots. Alex Marcotullio a freshman guard is their top contributer off of the bench but in the last game against Michigan the bench had 0 points. John Shurna leads the team in points with 17.5 and Michael Thompson contributes 14.7 points and 4.5 assists per game.
3. While the Badgers are 10 and 4 against Northwestern under Bo Ryan they are only 3-4 while playing them on the road with a loss last year 63 to 66 as NW shot a lights out 57.1%.
Badgers Fast Break Keys to the Game:
1. The Badgers need to find a way to compensate for Jon Leuer who is out indefinitely with a broken wrist. Clearly the Badgers will miss his offense and the trick will be not letting it effect what they do running the swing. On the other hand the Badgers defense might actually improve as that is not one of Leuer's strengths but if Evans takes his minutes defense will improve.
2. The Badger guard play in the Purdue game was lights out with career games from JBo and Taylor in addition to Hughes not hitting a shot. The hoop always feels smaller on the road so don't expect the same shooting percentage, however the Badgers will be in good shape if all three drive to the hoop the way they are capable off. The most important factor in this game for the guards is playing defense and closing out on the three point shooters. Against Michigan the Wildcats shot 45.8% from beyond the arc making 11 treys, the Badgers can't win if they let NW do this.
3. Someone on the Badgers bench just got promoted with the loss of Leuer but the players still comprising the bench need to continue their strong play and really dominate a NW bench that doesn't contribute.
Final Thought / Prediction:
Look for the Badgers to win this game 62-57 as the Badgers bench will destroy Northwestern's in addition to letting the Badger starters rest when the Northwestern starters can't.