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Wisconsin Badgers vs. Northwestern Wildcats 2019 basketball preview

Coming off their home win against Illinois on Monday, the No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers will travel to Evanston to take on the struggling Northwestern Wildcats for a Saturday night clash at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Northwestern (12-14, 3-12 Big Ten) has lost nine of its last 11 dating back to a Jan. 9 loss to Iowa. The Wildcats’ last win came exactly a month ago on Jan. 22 in a home win against Indiana, and Chris Collins’ squad now is tied for last in the conference standings with Penn State.

Wisconsin leads the all-time series 117-65, including holding a 41-39 record at Northwestern. Greg Gard’s team looks to sweep the regular season series from the Wildcats and build a two-game winning streak heading into a road contest at Indiana next Tuesday.

Last time out

Redshirt senior forward Ethan Happ recorded his second triple-double of the season (and career), while Wisconsin as a team held Northwestern to a season-low in points in a 62-46 win at the Kohl Center on Jan. 26.

Happ tallied 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the win, and guards D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison scored 18 points each.

The Wildcats shot just 29.6 percent from the field—including just 23.3 percent in the second half—and no player scored in double figures.

Since their first meeting this season…

…Northwestern has lost seven straight games, including on the road against UW. To say the least, it has not been pretty for the ‘Cats as they have fallen to Maryland, Penn State, Iowa, Rutgers, Nebraska and most recently Ohio State on Feb. 20.

Offense appears to be a major culprit in those woes for the Big Ten program. In those seven straight losses, Northwestern has not scored more than 56 points six times.

Inside NU broke down what they call “the worst stretch of offense in the Chris Collins era,” including publishing a film study that looked at Vic Law’s struggles.

Northwestern team stats

  • Points per game: 66.3
  • Opponents’ points per game: 64.5
  • Field goal percentage: 40.6
  • Opponent field goal percentage: 42.4
  • Three-point percentage: 31.9
  • Opponent three-point percentage: 29.1
  • Free throw percentage: 72.7
  • Turnovers per game: 11.4
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 12.5
  • NCAA NET ranking: 85

Key KenPom.com stats

  • Team rank: 69
  • Adjusted offensive efficiency: 103.3 (188th in nation)
  • Adjusted defensive efficiency: 93.5 (25th in nation)
  • Effective field goal percentage (offense): 47.0 (316th in nation)
  • Effective field goal percentage (defense): 47.0 (34th in nation)
  • Turnover percentage (offense): 17.0 (63rd in nation)
  • Offensive rebound percentage (offense): 25.6 (264th in nation)

Potential Northwestern playmakers

  • Redshirt senior forward Vic Law: 15.2 points per game; 6.6 rebounds per game; 2.8 assists per game; 79.0 percent free throw shooter
  • Senior forward Dererk Pardon: 13.4 points per game; 7.8 rebounds per game; shooting 57.4 percent from the field (just three of 21 from three-point range)
  • Graduate guard Ryan Taylor: 10.8 points per game; 1.8 rebounds per game; shooting 33.5 percent from three-point range
  • Redshirt junior forward A.J. Turner: 8.3 points per game; 2.5 rebounds per game; 2.9 assists per game

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