February 18, 2010

BREAKDOWN: UW at Minnesota

Wisconsin bounced back in a big way against Indiana following a surprising loss to Illinois earlier last week. In addition to UW's recent win, the Badgers also received a boost when forward Jon Leuer returned to practice. Tonight, inside the Barn, Wisconsin will look to keep in the Big Ten conference title race with a win over the Gophers.

Before today's tip-off, BadgerBlitz.com analyzes the potential matchups between the Badgers and Gophers to provide a closer look at an important Big Ten tilt.

Quick Notes:

-Tonight's contest will be the 188th meeting between Wisconsin and Minnesota, making the Gophers UW's most-played rival.

-Minnesota leads the all time series 99-88, including a 66-30 edge in Minneapolis. More recently, UW has won 13 of the past 16 tilts with the Gophers. Minnesota did sweep last season's series, though.

-Four players on UW's current roster hail from Minnesota. Junior Jon Leuer (Orono), sophomore Jordan Taylor (Bloomington) and freshmen Jared Berggren (Princeton) and Mike Bruesewitz (St. Paul) will be playing in their home state tonight.

Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
Minnesota Wisconsin Players The Word Advantage
Devoe Joseph vs. Trevon Hughes, PG For the past couple of weeks Hughes has been fairly quiet for the Badgers. Then again when Bohannon starts scoring 30 points, it will be hard for Hughes' 16-point effort against Indiana to get noticed. In this matchup, Hughes holds a bit of an advantage. He is more potent offensively and can really get the team functioning at a high level. With Leuer back in the lineup, Hughes will need to be back on his game to avoid any sort of adjustment period with Leuer. Advantage: Wisconsin
Blake Hoffarber vs. Jason Bohannon, SG There aren't too many players hotter than Bohannon entering this game. Over UW's past four games, Bohannon is shooting over 60 percent from the field while averaging a team best 20.5 points per game. Tonight, against Hoffarber, he will need to be just as fluid defensively because Hoffarber can get hot at any moment. Advantage: Wisconsin
Damian Johnson vs. Jordan Taylor G Johnson has more size than Taylor, but that hasn't slowed Taylor down in the past. Still, with Johnson hitting 53 percent of his shots and his ability to get after the boards, Taylor will have his hands full. Advantage: Push
Colton Iverson vs. Tim Jarmusz G/F Tubby Smith has come out and said he is going to start both Iverson and Sampson. If that stays true, UW may be in some trouble on the low block. Look for Jarmusz to start the game, but I get the feeling Leuer will be in there rather quick if the Gophers go with such a big lineup. Advantage: Minnesota
Ralph Sampson vs. Keaton Nankivil, C Sampson and Nankivil are similar players in the sense that they love the jumpshot. Neither are the prototypical center that loves playing with his back to the basket. At this point, I would say Sampson is a bit further along in that development than Nankivil is, but as we've all seen, Nankivil can be deadly from the perimeter. Something has got to give. Advantage: Push
Lawrence Westbrook (pictured), Paul Carter, Rodney Williams and Devron Bostick vs. Jon Leuer (pictured), Ryan Evans, Rob Wilson, Jared Berggren and Mike Bruesewitz, Bench Because Smith is going with a huge lineup to start the game, the Gophers will have its most clutch player coming off the bench. At the same time, because he's returned to practice after suffering a broken wrist, the Badgers will get Leuer coming in off the bench. It's been a while since UW's been in a game with so much firepower coming off the bench on both sides of the ball. Advantage: Push
Tubby Smith vs. Bo Ryan, Head coach Smith is currently riding a two-game winning streak over Ryan. That is anything but a common occurrence. However, so far this season Smith's Gophers have been very inconsistent and some of that blame has to be thrown towards the head coach. Ryan, on the other hand, gets one of his key cogs back for the stretch run and has his team playing solid basketball. Advantage: Wisconsin


Thursday, Feb. 18 at 8:00 p.m. CT


Minneapolis, Minn.


Williams Arena (14,625)


ESPN (Dave O'Brien and Steve Lavin)


Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)


Minnesota leads 99-88

Last Meeting

Minnesota won, 51-46, in Minneapolis on March 4, 2009.


Wisconsin: USA Today: 16, Assoc. Press: 14

Ohio State: USA Today: N/A, Assoc. Press: N/A

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