The Wisconsin Badgers look to bounce back tonight in New Jersey as they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Badgers are coming off their worst loss in quite some time after losing to Michigan 77-54. Rutgers looks to end a three game losing streak; most recently 79-68 to Ohio State January 9. Below are the keys to tonight’s win on the road!
Looking To Bounce Back
As mentioned, Wisconsin was beat and beat badly against Michigan Tuesday night. Everything that could have went wrong did for the Badgers. After trailing by 17 at the half, Wisconsin was down by as much as 40 in the second half. This is very rare for Wisconsin to be defeated by this much.
Tough one tonight on the road
Chance to bounce back Friday
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) January 13, 2021
The tweet says it all. I expect a senior-led Wisconsin team to play with a chip on their shoulder and play with it all night. The Badgers have never won at Rutgers. I know they want that streak to end tonight
The Badgers are not the only team tonight looking to get back on track. Rutgers enters tonight’s contest losers of three straight and four of their last five. Rutgers came into this season as a favorite to be in the top half of the Big Ten this season. Coach Steve Pikiell’s crew will be looking to bounce back at home tonight.
Keys For Wisconsin
Wisconsin will need to put the ball in the basket tonight. While it seems easier said than done, cold shooting streaks have been an Achilles heel for the Badgers this season. When this team is shooting well, they are one of the best teams in the Big Ten and the country. When they are not shooting well, it can be frustrating for all Badger fans. How do the Badgers do that? They need to get touches in the paint to Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter. The best Badger offense this year has been when Reuvers and Potter have the basketball in the paint. Both are very good one on one in the paint, or they kick the ball out for uncontested threes and jump shots.
Wisconsin also need to play their style of ball. Their style of ball is dictating the pace of play and playing solid defense. While the defense has had some lapses this year, they have been able to rely on their defense throughout the season. After giving up 77 points Tuesday, the Badgers still allow only 62.7 points a game, one of the best in the Big Ten and in the country. The Badgers will need to turn their defense into offense on the other side of court and make Rutgers uncomfortable from the tip. This includes playing great defense and getting easy shots at the end of the shot clock.
Keys For Rutgers
Rutgers will want to rely on their “Big Three”. Junior Ron Harper Jr. leads the Scarlet Knights with 20.1 points per game and shoots 45.5% from three. at 6’6 and 245 pounds, Harper is a difficult match-up for most guards and can make any shot from the court. Senior Jacob Young averages 15.5 points a game and shoots 40.7% from three as well. Young is a transfer player who came off the bench last season. However, he has turned into a spark and a player to rely on so far this season. Junior Montez Mathis averages 13.5 points a game and shoots 42.5% from three. Rutgers will want these players to shoot the three and play their game tonight.
As rare as this sounds, Rutgers does not want to get to the free throw line. The Scarlet Knights shoot 58% from the free throw line as a team. That is last in the Big Ten. Rutgers does not want to turn this into a free battle. Wisconsin will have the clear advantage in that. Look for Rutgers to want this game to be high-scoring and clean on the foul statistics.
Wisconsin needs to get back to Wisconsin ball. Wisconsin had a similar game last year in Minnesota. They were blown out by the Golden Gophers that night. What happened next? They began their run that resulted in eight straight win and a share of the Big Ten Championship. I’m not saying this will happen again, but this team went through adversity last season and battled their way out of it. This team should never be counted out and losing streaks are rare for this team.
Rutgers needs a win and they need a win bad. Expect the Scarlet Knights to come out with energy and passion. Wisconsin will need to match the energy and intensity while playing their brand of ball. Wisconsin has not won at the RAC, but I can’t see a situation where Wisconsin loses two straight road games, especially after a beat down from Michigan. I expect Wisconsin to get win on the road tonight. -Dylan Buboltz
Wisconsin 68 Rutgers 63
When the Badgers first came into this week, I wasn’t very optimistic of them winning one of these two road games. Wisconsin didn’t match up well against Michigan and they haven’t beaten Rutgers in New Jersey since they’ve joined the Big Ten in the 2014-15 season . But after their blowout lose to Michigan, I think that changes.
A program loss like what happened on Tuesday is something Wisconsin never suffers. To me, this will light a fire under them. Now this Rutgers team won’t make it easy. The Scarlet Knights have dropped three straight games and two at home. If anyone was more hungry for a win, it’d be Rutgers. But I think Wisconsin finds a way to get back on track and beat the Scarlet Knights in New Jersey. – Ben Spiering
Wisconsin 74 Rutgers 67
Follow me on Twitter @DylanBuboltz and follow us @WiscoHeroics1 for more great content! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!