Wisconsin Badgers vs. Northwestern Wildcats
NCAAB: Thursday February 22nd 2018 7:00 PM EST TIME
Wisconsin and Northwestern, the two teams tied for a disappointing ninth place in the Big Ten, meet Thursday night when the Wildcats close out their home schedule against the Badgers. They’re also a pair of teams trending in opposite directions as Wisconsin has won three of its last four while Northwestern has dropped a season-worst four straight.
Badgers Ready To Make It Three
The Badgers head to Evanston, Ill., off back-to-back wins, starting with last Thursday’s 57-53 upset of No. 9 Purdue. Wisconsin followed that up with a 73-63 overtime victory over Minnesota on Monday night, giving the Badgers their first Big Ten win streak of the season.
In outlasting Minnesota, the Badgers got a huge boost off the bench from sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl, who scored a career-high 20 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in overtime. Pritzl’s big night helped offset a slow one by leading scorer Ethan Happ (18.0 points per game), who overcame a scoreless opening half to finish with 10 points after averaging 25.7 over the previous three contests. Happ also averages a team-best 8.3 rebounds per game while guard Brad Davison (11.7 points) is the only other player averaging double figures for Wisconsin, which scores 67.4 points per game – the second-lowest average in the conference.
Wildcats Looking To Rebound
Meanwhile Monday, Northwestern fell to visiting Maryland 71-64, squandering a double-digit lead for the third straight game in the process and prompting coach Chris Collins to talk about his squad’s “mental fatigue” afterward. “Tonight, with an 11-point lead early in the second half, you’ve got to dig down and close it out,” Collins said in his post-game news conference. “That’s been the story with our season. We haven’t been able to win these kinds of games, and it’s been frustrating.”
In their current four-game skid, the Wildcats have lost to Maryland twice, last-place Rutgers and top-ranked Michigan State (65-60) at home when they somehow couldn’t hold on to an early 27-point lead that was still 22 points (49-27) at the half. Adding injury to insult, Northwestern has played its last two games without second-leading scorer (12.1) and assists leader (5.2) Bryant McIntosh due to a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, third-leading scorer (12.0) and second-leading rebounder (5.8) Vic Law exited in the closing minutes against Maryland with what appeared to be an ankle injury, and his status this week is uncertain.
- Badgers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Badgers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big Ten.
- Badgers are 6-13-2 ATS in their last 21 road games.
- Badgers are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Northwestern.
- Road team is 7-2 ATS in the last 9 meetings.
Wisconsin won 14 of 16 meetings between 2007 and 2015 with the Wildcats, but Northwestern has won three of the last four, including a 60-52 win in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 1.