The Wisconsin Badgers and Iowa Hawkeyes meet up on Thursday night in a huge battle in the Big Ten Conference. Neither team has a realistic shot to win the regular-season conference title, but earning a double-bye in the conference tournament is up for grabs.
Iowa comes into this game with a 15-6 overall record, and they have gone 9-5 so far in Big Ten Conference action. The Hawkeyes have won two straight games and they appear like they could be ready to go on a big run.
Wisconsin has really struggled over the last few weeks, going just 3-4 in their last seven games. The Badgers have now slipped to just 9-6 in conference action, and they are looking for a big win to get them back on track.
The Wisconsin Badgers are slight one-point favorites over the Iowa Hawkeyes at home on Thursday night.
Will Iowa Play Some Defense?
If Iowa is going to win this game then they are going to have to play some defense, and that has been a struggle at times for this team. Iowa is giving up more than 73 points per game, and that just won’t get it done in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hawkeyes have been an elite offensive team this season, scoring more than 87 points per game. Iowa wants to play extremely fast and they aren’t afraid to take shots early in the shot clock.
Center Luka Garza leads the way with more than 24 points per game, and he is arguably the best player in the country. Garza is able to score in a variety of ways, and he should be able to put up a ton of points in this matchup with Wisconsin.
The Hawkeyes will need Joe Wieskamp and Jordan Bohannan to shoot the ball well to give Garza some room to operate. Iowa is extremely deep, and that depth could also play a role in this one.
Wisconsin Must Make Shots
The Wisconsin Badgers are not as lethal as the Iowa Hawkeyes, but they do have the potential to score points when shooting the ball well. Wisconsin tends to live and die by the three-point shot, and that has beenan issue of late.
D’Mitrik Trice and Micah Potter are the only two Badgers averaging at least 10 points per game this season, and they will need to lead the way. Wisconsin is not as deep as Iowa, but they do have plenty of veterans that have played in some big games.
Nate Reuvers and Brad Davison have combined for just 18 points per game this season, and these two players will play a key role in this game. If Reuvers and Davison are making shots, it could be a big day for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Iowa at Wisconsin Preview Pick: Garza Won’t Let Hawkeyes Lose
With two veteran teams on the floor on Thursday night, there likely won’t be a ton of separation between Iowa and Wisconsin. This game is going to come down to the last few minutes, and Wisconsin should have a slight edge by playing on their home floor.
The problem for Wisconsin is that they don’t have Luka Garza, and they don’t really have anyone that is good enough to stop the All-American. Garza is going to need some help throughout this game, but the center is simply not going to let his team lose on Thursday night.
Look for Wisconsin to frustrate Iowa and slow this game down, but it won’t matter in the result. Iowa picks up a huge win on the road, and Garza scores at least 30 points.
Bet the Iowa Hawkeyes over the Wisconsin Badgers in this huge Big Ten Conference showdown.