Wisconsin’s 19-year NCAA Tournament appearance streak is in dire straits.
Following a season-long five-game winning streak, the Badgers (2-2 Big Ten, 9-8 overall) fell last Friday to once-lowly Rutgers. UW committed 14 turnovers and while it found itself tied with the Scarlet Knights with 2:03 to play in regulation, it again failed to close out a game.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Wisconsin as it meets Nebraska Tuesday night in its second consecutive conference road game. The Badgers escaped Lincoln last season with a 70-69 overtime victory, but last year’s matchup is by no means indicative of what will ensue tonight.
After losing Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, Vitto Brown and Zak Showlater, redshirt junior forward Ethan Happ has been the focal point of UW’s offense as he recorded his sixth double-double of the season against Rutgers. But Happ’s seven turnovers were a crucial reason for UW’s shortcomings as well. Freshman guard Brad Davison might also lead all Big Ten freshman in scoring, but Wisconsin’s backcourt has been decimated by injuries which have forced Davison to, at times, handle too much of UW’s offensive load.
Nebraska (2-2, 11-6) is coming off a 74-62 road loss to Purdue, but the Cornhuskers have been a very different team at home this season. Nebraska is 8-1 at home with its lone loss coming by only one point to Kansas.
Junior guard James Palmer Jr. is averaging 15.6 points and 4.4 rebounds for the Cornhuskers while junior forward Isaac Copeland and junior guard Glynn Watson Jr. are averaging just over 12 points each. Nebraska is also one of just four power conference teams that have improved their 3-point shooting by at least five percent over last season and additionally, Anton Gill leads all Big Ten players who have not started a game in scoring.
Tipoff for Tuesday night’s game is at 7:30 p.m. CT and the game can be seen on BTN.