Riding a five-game winning streak into snowy Piscataway, N.J., the Wisconsin Badgers (2-1 Big Ten, 9-7 overall) are looking to continue their winning ways and overcome their recent string of injuries against Rutgers (0-3, 10-6).
After already missing guards D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King, the Badgers had to make another adjustment to their starting lineup in their most recent victory against Indiana when redshirt sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl was ruled out with a concussion that he suffered pregame.
The loss of Pritzl moved freshman forward Nate Reuvers into the starting lineup and forced sporadically used senior forward Aaron Moesch into a much larger role. According to UW Athletes, Pritzl did return to practice later this week, but his status for Friday night is still unknown.
Throughout Wisconsin’s winning streak, its offense has found more of a rhythm. The Badgers are averaging 79.4 points per game and shooting more than 53 percent from the field. By comparison, throughout its first 11 games, UW scored only 66.6 points per game and shot 44 percent overall from the field.
The Scarlet Knights will likely match up with Wisconsin’s guard-heavy lineup by playing Corey Sanders, Geo Baker and Mike Williams together. Sanders has given UW problems in the past previously, and the trio of Rutgers guards has played extremely well together, most notably in RU’s big win over Seton Hall.
Deshawn Freeman is averaging almost 12 points and just over eight rebounds on the inside for the Scarlet Knights and will likely spend the majority of Friday night’s contest matched up with Wisconsin star Ethan Happ.
Rutgers is coming off of a 31-point loss to Purdue this past Wednesday and looks to quickly rebound to avoid dropping its first four conference games.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN2.