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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Minnesota series

After splitting a series in November, Wisconsin looks to chase down Minnesota in the Big Ten standings.

Top five Badger games to watch this spring semester

Women’s Hockey vs. Minnesota, Feb. 14-15

Considering Wisconsin and Minnesota boast two of the nation’s best women’s hockey programs, it should come as no surprise that games between the two tend to be both intense and exciting.

The Gophers and Badgers are currently the top two teams in the national rankings.

Wisconsin already faced Minnesota twice on the road this year, getting swept by the Gophers in a tough series in early October.

At the time, Minnesota was in the midst of a historic winning streak which it extended to an NCAA-record 62 games before finally being taken down by North Dakota.

The Gophers have gone unbeaten in 10 games since that loss and remain atop the national rankings.

Since their losses to Minnesota, the Badgers have been nearly unbeatable, losing just once over their previous 20 contests.

They’ll look for a little payback when they welcome their WCHA rival into Madison Feb. 14 and 15.

Women’s Basketball at Penn State, Feb. 16

In 2013 the Badgers shocked then-No. 7 Penn State, marking the Nittany Lions’ first conference loss of the season while also ending their 11-game winning streak.

This season, the pressure is on once again for the Badgers as they attempt to tackle No. 13 Penn State on the road Feb. 16.

In last year’s game, senior guard Morgan Paige scored a personal-best 33 points to propel Wisconsin to victory.

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With a revamped offense, she has the potential to reproduce her success once again in this season’s matchup.

Paige is currently third in points scored this season for the Badgers with 222, an average of 13.1 points per game.

Though Wisconsin faces both Michigan (4-1 Big Ten, 13-5 overall) and Michigan State (4-1, 12-6) in the next two weeks, the faceoff against the Nittany Lions is a can’t-miss matchup that will have implications in this year’s Big Ten race.

Men’s Basketball vs. Michigan State, Feb. 9

This entire season, the top basketball teams in the Big Ten have been Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State in no discernible order.

Within the last week, however, the Badgers and Buckeyes have combined to lose six straight, leaving No. 3 Michigan State as the undisputed favorite in the Big Ten.

Senior forward Adreian Payne, sophomore guard Gary Harris and sophomore guard Keith Appling form a trio that no team in the Big Ten can match.

Payne is a monster inside, but also shoots .439 from 3-point range. Harris is considered a potential lottery pick and could be the toughest individual player to defend that the Badgers will see all season.

Appling is the undisputed leader of the team and third in the Big Ten in assists.

Come Feb. 9, the Spartans could be the top ranked squad in the country, and they’ll be coming into the Kohl Center for their only game against the Badgers. Given that Wisconsin has arguably the easiest in-conference schedule and the Spartans one of the toughest, this game could present a rare opportunity to simultaneously pull off a big upset and take over the driver’s seat for the Big Ten regular season title.

Softball at Michigan, May 2-4

With the best season in school history in the rearview mirror, head coach Yvette Healy and the Badgers have been working hard to ensure they replicate the success of last season.

The Michigan of recent years is a powerhouse. The Wolverines haven’t lost a regular season championship since 2007, and the smart money is on a similarly talented team taking the diamond against Wisconsin in May.

This series is the last of the regular Big Ten season, and with three games in three days, the outcome could very well carry championship implications.

With the bulk of its team returning, this years’ Badger squad is poised to improve and carry legitimate national championship aspirations.

Men’s Hockey vs. Minnesota, Feb. 6-7

It doesn’t matter where the contest takes place, the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry is ingrained in the history of American sports.

After being swept 4-1 and 4-3 in Minnesota back in November, the Badgers are looking to get even with their biggest conference rival when the Gophers come to Madison in February.

The Gophers have not yet lost a conference game in regulation, and boast a 17-2-3 record halfway through the season.

Playing up front for Minnesota is junior forward Sam Warning, who currently has 26 points and a plus/minus of plus 21 for his team when on the ice.

Warning also notched his first career hat trick Jan. 18 against Ohio State, effectively leading the team to a sweep over the Buckeyes.

The biggest storyline between these two teams, however, may come down to who is between the pipes come game time.

Minnesota has two strong netminders in senior Michael Shibrowski and sophomore Adam Wilcox, while Wisconsin junior goaltender Joel Rumpel leads the nation in winning percentage.

Like teammate Michael Mersch, Rumpel is also up for the Hobey Baker Memorial Trophy, the foremost award in college hockey.

Mark your calendars for Feb. 6, this is sure to be another heated border battle in the Kohl Center.

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