The Wisconsin Badgers (14-5, 3-3 Big Ten) will look to continue their new home winning streak at the Kohl Center Wednesday night against The Northwestern Wildcats (12-5, 2-3 Big Ten). The game will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network with tip off at 8:00 CT.
Wisconsin enters this game taking down Nebraska 50-45 in a defensive battle Sunday night at the Kohl Center. Jordan Taylor led Wisconsin with 19 points while Jared Berggren grabbed 13 boards. The Badgers were in control the whole game, while the Huskers made a late run at the end to make it close. Wisconsin is now on a 2 game win streak.
Northwestern will be looking for momentum coming off their huge 81-74 victory at home against #7 Michigan State. The Spartans were the Big Ten’s hottest team, riding a 15 game win streak. Northwestern had a great night shooting going 50% from the field and 47% from behind the arc. Star power forward John Shurna lead the Wildcats with 22 points, while Drew Crawford added 20 more. Northwestern’s starters outscored their bench 75-6 in the game. The Wildcats are not very deep which could be key for Wednesday night’s game at the Kohl Center.
Northwestern will be missing Guards Alex Marcotullio and JerShon Cobb for the game. In 14 games played this season Marcotullio has averaged 16.4 minutes a game and 4 points. Cobb has played in 11 games averaging 18.2 minutes and 6 points. Without these guys on the floor other Northwestern’s starting guards Reggie Hearn and Dave Sobolewski will have to pick up the slack.
The only common opponents these two teams have so far is Michigan and Mississippi Valley State. Wisconsin destroyed MSVS 79-45, while Northwestern did the same winning 92-67. Both teams played Michigan in Ann Arbor. Northwestern faired much better, losing a close one in overtime 66-64. On the other hand, Wisconsin got walloped by the Wolverines losing 59-41.
The key matchup in this game will be the Badgers big men Jarred Berggren and Ryan Evans against John Shurna. Like Robbie Hummel, Shurna is a versatile forward. He has the ability to shoot outside and execute post moves. Shurna averages 19.1 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. Berggren and Evans did a great job slowing down Hummel, who had a quiet 13 points in Wisconsin’s victory over Purdue. Look for Bo Ryan to use a similar game plan against Shurna and the Wildcats.
Overall, Wisconsin is a better team then Northwestern. The Wildcat’s injuries will be a huge factor in this game because they don’t have much depth. They only played 8 guys the whole game against Michigan State. Cobb and Macotullio are out, so that leaves Northwestern to about 7 guys Coach Bill Carmody trusts. I think Wisconsin will come out and play a great defensive game. If they can shoot higher then their average, they should win this game by double digits.
For a look at this game from both a Wisconsin and Northwestern perspective, check out our Badgers Power Hour from earlier tonight.
Prediction: Wisconsin 58, Northwestern 51.