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Men’s basketball looks for same result against Northwestern riding five-game winning streak

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s basketball will go up against the Northwestern Wildcats Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center as they look to extend their current five-game winning streak.Wisconsin (20-2, 8-1 Big Ten) destroyed Northwestern (10-12, 1-8 Big Ten) by a margin of 23 points when the two teams met in Evanston, Illinois, on Jan. 4.This time around, the two teams couldn’t be going in more opposite directions. While the Badgers are streaking and atop the Big Ten, the Wildcats are continuing to fall. They have lost eight consecutive games and have not won a game since December.Since their loss to Rutgers, Wisconsin has been able to rattle off five straight wins thanks to their efficient play on both sides of the ball.According to Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings, Wisconsin currently leads the nation in offensive efficiency, averaging 125.2 points per 100 possessions. On top of scoring at an efficient rate, the Badgers are also taking care of the ball, as their average of 7.6 turnovers per game is the fewest in the country.In their first outing against Northwestern, the Badgers dropped 81 points on the Wildcats and were led by senior forward Frank Kaminsky, who put together a line of 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in just 24 minutes.Northwestern will look to put forth a better defensive effort this time around, bringing in a scoring defense that ranks in the middle of the Big Ten, as they have given up 63.5 points per game thus far.Defensively, Wisconsin is first in the Big Ten and ninth in the country in scoring defense, giving up just 56.5 points per game thus far.That defense will be going up against a Northwestern team who has struggled to score this season, averaging just 64.4 points per game, which is good for 12th in the Big Ten. Through their first nine Big Ten games, the Wildcats have only scored more than 70 points once in a losing effort to Michigan State.Despite the clear advantage Wisconsin has on both sides of the ball and Northwestern’s recent struggles, NU has showed it is still capable of putting up a decent fight. In a recent road test against Maryland, the Wildcats took then-No. 13 Terrapins to the wire in College Park, but ultimately lost 68-67.Northwestern has shown in flashes that they can compete with better teams, but Wisconsin is not just a better team — they are a much better team, and with proper execution, the Badgers should have no problem taking care of the Wildcats at home.Wisconsin (20-2 overall, 8-1 Big Ten)Big Ten: 8-1, 1st place by two games over Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan State and PurdueLast game: Defeated Indiana in Madison, 92-78Probable Starters: G – Bronson Koenig (6-4, 6.5 ppg), G – Josh Gasser (6-4, 7.6 ppg), F – Sam Dekker (6-9, 12.7 ppg), F – Nigel Hayes (6-8, 12.6 ppg), F – Frank Kaminsky (7-0, 17.8 ppg)Key Reserves: F – Duje Dukan, G – Zak Showalter, F – Vitto BrownNorthwestern (10-12, 1-8 Big Ten)Big Ten: 1-8, last place (14th)Last game: Lost to Nebraska, 76-60Probable Starters: G – Bryant McIntosh (6-5, 4.3 ppg), G – Tre Demps (6-3, 11.9 ppg), G – JerShon Cobb (6-5, 6.2 ppg), G – Scottie Lindsey (6-5, 4.3 ppg), C – Alex Olah (7-0, 11.0 ppg)Key Reserves: F – Vic Law, G – Dave Sobolewski, G – Sanjay LumpkinWho – Northwestern at No. 5 WisconsinWhen – Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015Where – Madison, Wisconsin; Kohl Center (17,230)TV Broadcast – Big Ten Networklast_img read more