No. 13 Wisconsin (8-4 Big Ten, 16-6 overall) will be looking to extend its four-game Big Ten win streak when it hosts No. 25 Michigan (6-6, 16-7) and Michigan State (6-6, 14-9) this weekend.
“Michigan is a really good team that we were in a couple of battles with,” head coach Kelly Sheffield said in a Monday press conference. “I think we were two points away from losing at their place in five last year.”
“Michigan State, there are probably not too many teams that are more physical than what they are, so we're excited about getting back on the train and preparing for this week,” Sheffield said.
The Badgers have had an up-and-down Big Ten season so far. They started out by losing to No. 1 Penn State and No. 12 Ohio State before rattling off victories against No. 18 Illinois, Northwestern, Rutgers and Maryland.
Before starting their current win streak, the Badgers were swept in the border battle with No. 5 Minnesota, losing the home and away series to the Gophers in the same weekend.
UW’s win streak began at Iowa but is highlighted by its road victory at No. 8 Nebraska. The Badgers had never defeated the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Neb. before that match.
Wisconsin then defeated No. 16 Purdue at home followed by an easy sweep of Indiana.
"I think defensively we're starting to become the type of team that we want to be,” Sheffield said. “[Early on] we were learning the effort that you had to put into defense to be the type of team we want to be.”
The Badgers’ first opponent, the Wolverines, have had a similar roller-coaster Big Ten performance as the Badgers. They’ve lost to every ranked Big Ten team they have played including Purdue, Nebraska, Penn State, Ohio State and Illinois. Their most impressive Big Ten wins came against the Badgers’ second opponent, Michigan State.
The Spartans have had equal success as Michigan, but were able to defeat a ranked Big Ten foe in Ohio State.
Wisconsin takes on Michigan Friday at 6 p.m. and Michigan State Sunday at 12 p.m. Both contests are at the UW Field House.