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Hawkeyes and Badgers meet in Big Ten battle

Thu 23rd, February 2012

Iowa City, IA (Sports Network) - The 16th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers will look to ground the Iowa Hawkeyes as they visit Carver-Hawkeye Arena for Big Ten Conference action.

This will be the second encounter of this season and 155th in history between Wisconsin and Iowa. The series is knotted up, 77-77, after Iowa upset the Badgers, 72-65, in the first bout of 2011-2012. Wisconsin is salivating at the second chance at the Hawkeyes, as it let the first one slip away by shooting an awful 3-of-28 from three-point range in the game.

Bo Ryan's Badgers come in with a 20-7 overall record after their 65-55 triumph over Penn State on Sunday. Wisconsin's three-point shooting seems to be on point, as it hit 11-of-22 from beyond the arc to power past the Nittany Lions. The victory made Wisconsin 9-5 in Big Ten play, which has it two games out of first place with four to play. The Badgers' success this season has been primarily due to its stifling defense, which leads the nation with an allowed average of only 51.1 ppg.

Wisconsin will go as far as its star point guard Jordan Taylor can carry it this season. Taylor leads the team with averages of 14.3 points and 4.2 assists per contest. The senior guard has been struggling lately, as he has gone 7-of-25 from the floor over the span of his last two games. While Taylor handles the ball, Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren do work in the trenches. Evans is averaging 10.6 points and 6.9 boards per game, while Berggren provides 10.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per outing. Ben Brust an additional scoring threat that Wisconsin has rode to victories this season.

The Hawkeyes will try to make it two straight after they upset Indiana on Sunday to improve to 14-13 overall this season. The 78-66 win was charged by Iowa's success from downtown, as it hit 9-of-18 from deep. Head coach Fran McCaffery will need to get his team to battle on the boards, as it owns a +4.5 rebounding advantage in its six Big Ten victories, and it has been outrebounded by 4.7 boards in its eight conference losses.

Iowa will look to Matt Gatens to lead the charge as it tries to defeat two ranked opponents in a row. Gatens has been sensational as of late, averaging 25.5 ppg while shooting 71 percent from three-point range in his last two games. Roy Devyn Marble has been helpful for Gatens, as he is averaging 11.1 points and 3.5 assists per game this season. Aaron White will battle the Badgers' bigs inside. White is providing 10.4 points and 5.6 boards per game in his rookie campaign.

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