The regular season finale is tomorrow night for the Wisconsin Badgers. They will head to Minneapolis to take on their rival the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Wisconsin is coming off a second heart-breaking loss in a row as they fell to Purdue at home just a few days ago. Minnesota, who is last in the Big Ten at 2-16, got their second conference win off a buzzer beater against Rutgers from Jamison Battle Thursday night. Tip time is 6:30 PM on FS1. Here is a preview of tomorrow’s game.
How Much Does Wisconsin Have Left Mentally In The Tank?
I am interested to see how Wisconsin comes out tomorrow night. As mentioned earlier, they are coming off two heart-breaking losses in a span of four days. After an overtime loss last Sunday to Michigan, the Badgers gave #5 Purdue all they could handle, but fell short in a 63-61 loss.
This is a young team and it was mentioned in the post-game Thursday night players such as Max Klesmit looked drained. It’s been a long week and having to get on a plane to take on your arch rival with nothing to lose is a tall task. The first five minutes of this game from Wisconsin could dictate how the rest of the game is played out.
The Postseason Begins Now
Wisconsin is now in tournament mode. They have no more room for error. They have let a lot of opportunities to solidify their NCAA Tournament spot get away. Next is an 8-20 Minnesota team that does nothing for them with a win and ruins everything with a loss.
Minnesota also knows that. They won’t have a postseason to look forward to. This is their national championship. Tomorrow is about building for the off-season and next season. Minnesota won’t go down easily and it won’t be an easy game. Wisconsin needs to be really careful tomorrow night and can’t mess around.
This is not an easy game for the Badgers. In fact, it is a game they could lose. It’s never easy to play a team who’s playing with house money. The Golden Gophers know this is a must win for the Badgers. They will do everything they can to ruin Wisconsin’s season.
The Badgers took the first meeting 63-60 in Madison January 3. Wisconsin was in cruise control early until Tyler Wahl suffered his ankle injury that has impacted his performance since. After the Wahl injury, Minnesota made Wisconsin speed up the pace of play and it resulted in a lot of turnovers. However, the Badgers did force 20 Minnesota turnovers including a Chucky Hepburn steal to end the game. The uglier this game gets, it favors Minnesota.
It all starts with Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia. They make the Golden Gophers go and will be asked to shoot early and often. It’s the only chance they have. I also like Minnesota’s youth and athleticism. That could give Wisconsin fits.
If Wisconsin plays their game and their style, they should get out with a road win. I think Tyler Wahl is the difference in this game. I don;t think Minnesota has a player that can take him under the basket. It’s going to be a close game, but I like Wisconsin to close this out in the last five minutes.
Wisconsin 68 Minnesota 64
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