Wisconsin defeated Iowa with remarkable ease last week, winning by a margin not seen in this series in recent years.
The fifth-ranked Badgers will try again Saturday to overwhelm a Hawkeyes team that’s hoping its top scorer can play through injury.
Wisconsin (18-2, 6-1 Big Ten) continues to be led by Frank Kaminsky, who had 22 points and nine rebounds in last Saturday’s 69-64 overtime win at Michigan, including eight points in the extra period.
It marked the third time in four games that he scored 21 or more after doing so once in his previous 11. A concussion sidelined Kaminsky for Wisconsin’s most recent loss, 67-62 at Rutgers on Jan. 11.
"He’s one of the best players in the country," coach Bo Ryan said. "I don’t say that very often because I let other people judge. Frank means a lot to this team."
Bronson Koenig had 13 points and four assists and is averaging 12.3 points on 56.7 percent shooting in four straight while assuming starting point guard duties in place of injured Traveon Jackson. Koening had been averaging 4.4 points and shooting 39.1 percent.
Kaminsky had 13 points and 11 rebounds in an 82-50 home win over Iowa on Jan. 20, helping Wisconsin tie a school record with one turnover and outrebound the Hawkeyes 37-23. The previous seven meetings had each been decided by seven points or fewer with the Badgers holding a 4-3 advantage on those contests.
"I don’t think I would use the term ‘easier,’ but they’re more familiar and they have to execute and that means our scout team is better at running what Iowa runs, because they only had one team in between there," Ryan said when asked if it would be easier preparing for Iowa given the short time between matchups.
"But you still have to worry about yourself more so than the opponent. Scouting is important, but what’s the most important is what your team is doing to get ready."
Iowa (13-7, 4-3) lost its No. 25 ranking after dropping its second straight, 67-63 at Purdue on Saturday. The Hawkeyes forced six turnovers and are generating 7.9 per game in league play after forcing an average of 15.7 in non-conference play.
They lost Aaron White in the first half due to a right shoulder injury. White, who leads the team with 15.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, said he plans on practicing Friday and playing, though coach Fran McCaffery considers him questionable.
"I think I’ll be all right," White said. "I don’t want to go out there and think about it … If I’m out there, I’m out there with a free mind and just trying to play my game and help us win."
Iowa could use more strong play from point guard Mike Gesell, who scored 16 of his 18 against Purdue in the second half, including 10 in a row at one point. Gesell, who had two points and three turnovers against Wisconsin, has shot 50.0 percent or better in four of his last five. He had been shooting 34.7 percent prior to that stretch.
Former Badger Jarrod Uthoff leads Iowa with a 36.8 3-point percentage but is 5 for 20 from long range over his last five.
The Hawkeyes have played more ranked opponents than any other Big Ten school and are 2-4 in those contests. They’ve dropped five of their last six home games against Top 25 teams with four of those losses coming by five points or fewer.