MBB: Iowa at Wisconsin Preview/Prediction

December 31, 2011

Written by

Hawkeye Nation

By Justin VanLaere

The Iowa Men’s Basketball team travels to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers inside the Kohl Center.  Iowa will bring their uptempo game, while Wisconsin plays the slowest basketball in the nation.  Usually teams that play such a deliberate style of basketball such as the Badgers, even a higher possession team cannot increase the tempo.  Wisconsin will undoubtedly be able to dictate the flow of the game.  Can Iowa adjust?

Game Info

Iowa Hawkeyes (8-6; 0-1) vs. #11 Wisconsin Badgers (11-2; 1-0)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 130, Wisconsin – 1
REALTIMERPI: Iowa – 130, Wisconsin – 11
CBS RPI: Iowa – 201, Wisconsin – 24
MASSEY RANKING: Iowa – 136, Wisconsin – 10
Tip Off: Saturday, December 31st, 2011; 12:01 PM CST
Madison, WI; Kohl Center, 17,230
Radio: AM 600, 1040, and 800. SiriusXM 193.
Wisconsin leads the series 77-76.

LINE: Iowa is a 17 point underdog on the road. Pomeroy predicts an 24 point Iowa loss.

Live Chat for the Game – RIGHT HERE

Projected Starters


G – Devyn Marble, 6’6”, 194 lb, SO

G – Matt Gatens, 6’5”, 212 lb, SR

G – Eric May, 6’5”, 217 lb, JR

F – Melsahn Basabe, 6’7”, 225 lb, SO

F – Zach McCabe, 6’7”, 232 lb, SO



G – Jordan Taylor, 6’1″, 195 lb, SR

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G  – Josh Gasser, 6’3″, 190 lb, SO

F – Ryan Evans, 6’6″, 210 lb, JR

F – Mike Bruesewitz, 6’6″, 222 lb, JR

F – Jared Berggren, 6’10”, 235 lb, JR



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  • Points Per Game – Iowa 77.9, Wisc 67.9
  • FG % – Iowa 45.6, Wisc 46.0
  • eFG% – Iowa 49.9, Wisc 53.9
  • Opp eFG% – Iowa 51.4, Wisc 36.1 (#1 in nation)
  • 3 pt% – Iowa 34.4, Wisc 41.1 (#12 in nation)
  • Opp 2 pt %: Iowa 49.2, Wisc 36.1 (#1 in nation)
  • Opp 3 pt% – Iowa 37.1, Wisc 24.1 (#3 in the nation)
  • FT% – Iowa 74.8, Wisc 69.5
  • Offensive Turnover% – Iowa 16.5 (#15 in nation), Wisc 14.3 (#1 in the nation)
  • Defensive Turnover% – Iowa 22.4, Wisc 21.6
  • Offensive Reb% – Iowa 32.9, Wisc 31.6
  • Offensive Steal% – Iowa 5.9 (#3 in nation), Wisc 7.1 (#13 in nation)
  • Offensive Block% – Iowa 5.7 (#9 in nation), Wisc 8.3

Take a look at the radar, for teams that play such different styles of play, they are crazy similar.

From statsheet.com:


Wisconsin’s defense is averaging a nation’s best 44.4 points per game.  Keep in mind, though, that their offensive style helps enable their D to give up fewer points.  Opponents have far fewer possessions, resulting in far fewer scoring opportunities.  On average, teams get 8-10 fewer possession versus Wisconsin that the national average.  By comparison, this year’s Wisconsin team averages almost 4 full possessions less than Iowa under Todd Lickliter.  I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s absolutely true.  And, yes, it’s absolutely just as brutal to watch at time.  But, hey, they are winning, right?



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Get to 60. That’s the magic number, folks.  Only two teams have gotten to that 60 point threshold this season against the Badgers, and both won.  Granted those two teams were UNC and Marquette, so that shows you what type of team you have to be in order to put up those numbers.

Possessions are a Premium.  I’m not worried about Iowa turning the ball over.  I don’t expect Iowa to get a lot of takeaways either.  However, Iowa must find ways to get extra possessions and limit the Badgers from getting second chance points.  Rebounding will be at a premium, especially defensive boards.  If you give Wisconsin free possessions, they will make them count.  I don’t think either team gets over 60 possessions in this game – that heavily favors Wisconsin.  Guys like McCabe will have to show up on the OREB stat line and get easy buckets.  Wisconsin does not get a lot of offensive rebounds, however they rarely give up offensive rebounds on the D end (they are one of the best in the nation at this).

The Ball Has to Find the Bottom of the Net.  There’s no other way to say it.  Iowa needs to shoot lights out in this game to stay with Bucky.  The three ball needs to go in and the mid-range jumpers need to be going in and bunnies need to go in.  There aren’t going to be enough extra possessions for Iowa to shoot poorly, and to top it off, opponents are only making 1/3 of their shots vs. the Badgers (that’s the best D FG% allowed in the nation).  Teams shoot really, really bad against Wisconsin.  REALLY. BAD.

Melsahn Needs to Be Big.   Maybe Iowa will feed him the ball, maybe not.  Regardless, Iowa isn’t a good enough 3 point shooting team to win the game by dropping bombs from the outside (although doing so would be huge).  The Hawks will need to get high percentage shots, Basabe has been hitting some buckets down low as of late.  Tough to do, though, as Wisconsin’s D is holding opponents to 36.1% from inside the arc (tops in the nation). This is the prototypical scenario for a big game from Melsahn.  On the road, low expectations for Iowa.  He relishes these types of games.  Expect him to have a chip on his shoulder coming in and it will get him flowing early.  Sustaining it is another thing completely.


PREDICTION:  Last time these two teams played, Iowa took the Badgers into overtime and had several chances to win the game (granted that game was inside Carver).   Guys like Ben Brust and Josh Gasser are probably going to knock down some threes.  Jordan Taylor is going to hit some ridiculous shots and get into the lane at will.  If Iowa can stay composed up in Madison, and if they play their best game of the year they might be able to keep it close.  That just doesn’t look a possibility.  Fran might get tossed in this one, as the environment will be hostile, and not to mention there is absolutely no love lost between these staff – there will be fire today.   FINAL SCORE: Iowa 54, Wisconsin 69



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