Wisconsin, Northwestern square off headed in opposite directions
No. 22 Wisconsin will look to secure a winning regular-season record in Big Ten play when it visits Northwestern on Saturday night in Evanston, Ill.
Wisconsin (18-8, 10-5) has dropped two of its past three contests but remains securely in the top half of the conference standings. The Badgers are coming off a six-point win at home against Illinois on Monday.
"I think we like where we are, but we're definitely not satisfied," Badgers guard Brad Davison said recently to the Wisconsin State Journal. "We know our record could be better. We've lost a couple games (that were close), against really good teams. But we know how good of a team we are, we're confident with that. ... The bulk of our schedule is coming up, and we'll have to be locked in and ready to go."
Davison is one of three players with a double-digit scoring average for Wisconsin. Ethan Happ leads the Badgers with 17.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. D'Mitrik Trice is averaging 12.5 points per contest while shooting 43.4 percent from beyond the arc, and Davison is next on the scoring list with 11.3 points per game.
Stopping the trio could be difficult, but defense has not been the issue as of late for Northwestern (12-14, 3-12). The Wildcats have allowed fewer than 65 points in four of their past five games but have struggled on offense.
Northwestern carries a seven-game losing streak into Saturday's game, including a 63-49 loss to Ohio State in its last outing Wednesday night. Vic Law, who had 10 points, was the only Wildcats player to score in double figures.
During the seven-game skid, the Wildcats have scored in the 40s or 50s all but once. The lone exception was an 80-79 loss to then-No. 20 Iowa on Feb. 10. A late 3-pointer by Iowa's Jordan Bohannon sealed the Hawkeyes' comeback and left the Wildcats once again wondering how this season has veered so far off track.
Northwestern coach Chris Collins is desperate to find a way to stop his team's skid.
"I love that our guys still have good attitudes," Collins said to The Daily Northwestern. "They're fighting and they're playing their tails off defensively. We've just got to hope that one of these games, we can break through a little bit offensively, see the ball go in and find a way to win."
Law leads Northwestern with 15.2 points per game to go along with averages of 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Dererk Pardon is averaging 13.4 points and a team-high 7.8 boards, while Ryan Taylor is averaging 10.8 points.
This is the second and final meeting of the regular season between Wisconsin and Northwestern. In the teams' first meeting Jan. 26, the Badgers cruised to a 62-46 win behind 18 points apiece from Davison and Trice.
Northwestern is 9-5 at home this season but has not celebrated on its home court since Jan. 22 against Indiana. Wisconsin is 6-4 on the road, including victories in three of its last four games in opponents' venues.
--Field Level Media
Copyright 2019 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.
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