While the Wisconsin Badgers (3-4 Big Ten, 10-10 overall) have struggled to play consistent basketball throughout the first twenty games of their season, UW’s struggles pale in comparison to its next opponent’s.
The Badgers visit the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-7, 10-11) Tuesday night looking to win their second consecutive conference game. Iowa, on the other hand, is looking to dig itself out of a more than month-long rut. The Hawkeyes have trailed by at least 17 points in each of their last seven games, and while they were able to defeat Illinois in the midst of that streak, on-court successes have been few and far between.
Iowa, like Wisconsin, is learning to play without its leading scorer from last season. While the Badgers are still transitioning to life without Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes, Zak Showalter and Vitto Brown, the Hawkeyes are learning what life without the Big Ten’s leading scorer in 2016-’17 Peter Jok is like.
In Jok’s absence, UI has relied on Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon to carry its offensive load. Bohannon, the younger brother of former Badgers Zach and Jason Bohannon, hit a game-winning 3-pointer in Madison last season to silence a frenetic Wisconsin crowd and has only grown on his successes last season.
Iowa’s defense will need to stiffen as it has struggled in conference play, as it allows opposing teams to shoot 45 percent from three and 50 percent from the field. Wisconsin is coming off of one of its best offensive performances of the season, as it trounced Illinois 75-50 thanks to stellar shooting from the field and from behind the arc.
Against the Fighting Illini, freshman guard Brad Davison led UW with 18 points on only three made field goals. Redshirt junior forward Ethan Happ added 16 points, as did redshirt sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl.
The result of such a balanced scoring attack provided UW with a blowout victory. The Badgers are hoping to continue such successes Tuesday night in Iowa City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.