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Wisconsin Splits Against Iowa and Indiana

The Wisconsin Badgers have now seen themselves drop out of the AP Poll Top 25 after being number six in the nation just two weeks ago. They could not have been on a much colder streak than they were coming into last week. Heading into a week in which they finally got a win at home against Ohio State to snap a losing streak, the Badgers had to hit the road to play Iowa first, then travel back to home court to take on Maryland in the Kohl Center.


@Iowa

The Badgers finally had a new win under their belt to break the losing streak that dropped them out of the AP Poll after beating Ohio State in the Kohl Center. Any game in the Big Ten on the road is a challenging game, especially when you play against a team in Iowa, who is always well coached under Head Coach, Fran McCaffery. The Badgers were led once again by Steven Crowl and AJ Storr, who had 22 points and 21 points each, respectively. The Badgers and Hawkeyes would have a very uncharacteristic high-scoring first half compared to prior matchups, in which the Badgers would lead 47-43 at the half. Something the Badgers have had happen a lot recently is a downfall in the second half. That scenario would occur again this week in which the Hawkeyes would shoot 50% in the second half and overtime to take down the Badgers 88-86 on a layup with 1.3 seconds on the clock in overtime by the Hawkeyes. Owen Freeman would lead the Iowa charge with 20 points in the win.



Maryland

As I stated earlier, the Badgers have figured out once again just how hard it is to win on the road in the Big Ten Conference. That said, the opportunities at home are ones you can't let go of. They would finally capitalize on that opportunity to get back on track this week in the Kohl Center when Maryland came to town. This veteran-led team would show their experience in this one, doing just enough to get over the hump and get a win. Tyler Wahl would lead the scoring with 18 points, while Max Klesmit, Chucky Hepburn, and AJ Storr would all go into double figures. The three-point struggles would continue in this one for Wisconsin, as they shot 4/17, or 23.5% from beyond the arc, but they did enough in the paint to get it done. John Blackwell did his usual work off the bench, providing a spark plug again with nine points, but the Badgers will need to shoot better from the field.


This week

@Indiana

With a 1-1 record last week, the Badgers will look to pick up two big wins this week, including one at home against the number thirteen team in the nation. The week starts with a road test Tuesday Night against the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana will carry a slightly above .500 record into the week at 14-13, hoping to bounce back from a road loss at Penn State last time out. They are led by Forward Malik Reneau, who averages 16.1 points per game, and Center Kel'el Ware, who averages 15.1 points per game. What that shows without saying it directly is that Indiana looks to get after it in the post-game quite often, so Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl will need to step up, especially on the defensive end, to get this one done.



Illinois

The Badgers will have quite the test coming off of a road game at Indiana as they will enter the month of March against an AP Poll Top 25 team in Illinois coming to town. Not only is this a rivalry game, but the Badgers picking up a win in this one could boost them back into the rankings. Terrance Shannon Jr. will look to continue his team-high 21.6 points per game as he will be matched up against one of the best guards in the Big Ten on defense, in Chucky Hepburn. Both teams shoot about 46%, give or take one way from the field, and both are riding one-game win streaks, trying to improve to two and get on the right side of momentum entering March.


The Badgers winning this game would be huge for them as the sixth-most votes for teams that didn't make the AP Top 25 this week would technically sit them at 31st in the nation. Two wins this week would likely put them back into the Top 25 with only two games left after this week before the Conference Tournament and Selection Sunday for March Madness.



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