Badgers Breakdown: No.12 Wisconsin vs. Rutgers

Badgers Breakdown: No.12 Wisconsin vs. Rutgers

Basketball

Badgers Breakdown: No.12 Wisconsin vs. Rutgers

PREDICTION

Knocking off a pair of unbeaten opponents last week, Wisconsin registered five wins over power conference opponents in the month of November. Last season, it took Wisconsin 20 games to finally hit that mark on Feb.15. Needless to say, UW is well ahead of last year’s pace.

One of the more disappointing Big Ten games a year ago for the Badgers was their 64-60 loss at Rutgers in early January. UW was just coming off a 10-point win over Indiana to push its winning streak to five, but the loss to the Scarlet Knights was marred by a 2-for-13 shooting night from 3-point range and 14 turnovers. Seven of those turnovers came from Ethan Happ, who was smothered by the same low-post players still who will be guarding him tonight. Happ had four turnovers against Iowa’s big frontcourt Friday, so this will be an area to watch.

What will also be important is UW’s defensive rebounding, as the Badgers have given up 11 offensive rebounds in each of the last two games. Rutgers is tied for second in the Big Ten in averaging 13.1 offensive rebounds per game and had 15 offensive rebounds against Michigan State.

The Scarlet Knights are taking steps forward under third-year head coach Steve Pikiell because of their defense, which ranks 18th in adjusted efficiency and helps gloss over the fact they rank 252nd in adjusted offensive efficiency. If UW doesn’t make shots, a grinder of a game could favor the visitors.

This game will be far from pretty, and Rutgers has added some good young guards to mix in with its post power, but the fact that the Badgers have found a rhythm from the perimeter is important. Wisconsin will tonight by 16.

Worgull’s Record: 6-2

Points off Prediction: 68 (8.5 per game)

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