Preview: Wisconsin at Iowa
No. 15 Iowa looks to keep its perfect record intact when it hosts 22nd-ranked Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Friday. The Hawkeyes, who were picked to finish ninth in the preseason Big Ten media poll, edged Pittsburgh 69-68 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 2013-14, and hope to continue their encouraging start by beating the Badgers for the third consecutive time.
“We’ve done some things we didn’t think we’d be able to do and that’s the kind of team we have,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery told reporters. “The only game that matters is the next one and that’s how we handle it.” Wisconsin is exceeding expectations after an impressive start to the new campaign. The Badgers, who saw their streak of NCAA Tournament appearances end at 19 in a row last season, have won six games, with their only blemish a 53-46 setback to fourth-ranked Virginia. They hope to build on their 79-75 victory against North Carolina State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday by knocking off the Hawkeyes for the first time since Feb. 24, 2016. “We’ve been able to find different ways to win and that’s usually the sign of a good team,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard told reporters. “They understand as they have grown through last year and what it took when you had to dig a little deeper.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
ABOUT WISCONSIN (6-1): Ethan Happ scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the win against North Carolina State to record his seventh double-double in as many games this season. Happ also blocked four shots against the Wolfpack to move into a third-place tie with Rashard Griffith (124) on the program’s all-time list. D’Mitrik Trice drilled four 3-pointers en route to 19 points as the Badgers went 11-of-21 from beyond the arc to finish over 50 percent for the third time this season, while Brad Davison was the third Badgers player to finish in double figures with 12 points.
ABOUT IOWA (6-0): Freshman Joe Wieskamp led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the win against Pittsburgh to register the first double-double of his career. Nicholas Baer provided a spark off the bench as he scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, including 11 straight Hawkeyes points during a three-minute stretch, as the Hawkeyes held off the Panthers despite shooting a season-low 36.5 percent from the floor. McCaffery confirmed that Cordell Pemsl, who has averaged 7.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 67 career games, will be sidelined for the remainder of the campaign as he gets set to undergo knee surgery in December.
1. Wieskamp is averaging 19 points and eight rebounds over his past two games.
2. Happ leads the nation in double-doubles.
3. Trice is 24-of-40 (60 percent) from 3-point range this season.