Wisconsin Basketball: Five toughest conference games remaining
The Wisconsin Men’s Basketball team survived a trip to the state of Indiana, going 1-1 in perhaps their toughest conference stint of the season.
The Wisconsin Badgers will return home Thursday to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes after a brutal two-game road trip at Indiana and at Purdue.
Despite splitting the two games, Badgers fans should be pleased taking one win on the road trip as not a lot of Big Ten teams will have won at either team’s home court when it is all said and done.
Thankfully, the Badgers are done with Purdue and do not have to go to Bloomington later this season, but that does not mean the rest of the league will be a cakewalk for the Badgers.
We count down the five toughest remaining games for the Badgers this year.
Sunday, February 5: vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Playing a team at home is always more in your favor than traveling to their hometown and trying to win in front of ruckus fans. The Hoosiers have struggled in their first four games of conference playing, posting just one win and an 11-6 record overall after a stellar non conference performance that boasted wins over Kansas and North Carolina.
Indiana still has one of the most talented teams in the country, and it will not be long until they figure it out. Despite the struggles, Indiana will always be a tough win, no matter where it is played.
The Badgers defeated the Hoosiers in overtime last season at the Kohl Center.
Sunday, February 19: vs. Maryland Terrapins
The Terrapins have shown the ability to close out tight games and find themselves 15-2 and 3-1 in conference play after losing a plethora of talent to graduation and the NBA this offseason. Maryland is currently 7-1 in games decided by six points or less.
Meanwhile, Maryland is 7-1 in games decided by six points or fewer. I'm getting PTSD flashbacks to the 2014-15 season.
— Jeff (BPredict) (@BPredict) January 11, 2017
The Terps knocked off the Badgers as a top five team last year in Madison when Melo Trimble hit a game winning three with seconds remaining to escape with a victory. Wisconsin then returned the favor when they ended Maryland’s long conference home win streak later in the season.
Trimble is back this year, can the Badgers slow him down?
Thursday, February 9: at Nebraska Cornhuskers
The last time the Badgers visited Lincoln and took on the Cornhuskers, it was the last game of the season two years ago and Nebraska was on the verge of making the NCAA Tournament (which they did). In one of the most electric atmospheres of the college basketball season, Nebraska knocked off the Badgers by playing a near perfect game, helping them secure their tournament berth.
The last time the Badgers played the Huskers was last season in the Big Ten Tournament, when Nebraska handled Wisconsin fairly easily, shocking everyone and winning by double-digits- which ultimately hurt the Badgers’ seeding in the tournament tremendously.
Moral of the story? Wisconsin has had some trouble against Nebraska.
The Huskers have already taken the league by storm, winning their first two games at Indiana and at Maryland. Despite a rough non-conference slate that featured many high-level teams, Nebraska players and fans have to be thinking that a strong conference showing could land them back in the tournament, meaning the showdown in February at their place could have a lot riding on it.
Sunday February 26: at Michigan State Spartans
Wisconsin will look to secure its first victory over the Spartans in East Lansing for the first time since the 2001-02 season in late February, and will likely have their best opportunity to do so.
A young, but talented Michigan State team has endured struggles this year and has made them a vulnerable teams at times. With this game being so late in the schedule, it will be interesting to see where each team sits in the standings.
The Spartans at the moment are at 3-1 in league play, with a win over Minnesota on the road- something not a lot of teams will accomplish this year. If Michigan State can stay relevant in the standings throughout the year and remain healthy, this matchup on the 26th could be one for the ages.
Saturday, January 21: at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Perhaps the surprise of the Big Ten, if not the country, the Minnesota Golden Gophers have gone from the cellar of the conference a year ago to a prominent player to win the league. Mystery surrounded the Gophers after they entered conference play with just one-loss and questions lingered if it was just a product of their soft schedule or if they are actually for real.
After a one-point loss at home in overtime to start conference play to Michigan State, the Gophers have rattled off three straight impressive wins- which include road wins at Purdue and Northwestern.
Wisconsin will have Minnesota twice on their schedule with the other being a home game in the regular season finale. In order to keep pace with other teams in the conference, the Badgers are going to need to knock out upstart contenders. Buckle up folks.
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