GAME INFO: Sat., Jan 5, 2007 - 11:05 AM CST - Kohl Center; Madison, WI
IOWA (7-7); RPI: 217 / #24 WISCONSIN (11-2); RPI: 17
To my knowledge, Wisconsin (under Bo Ryan) has only lost 6 times in the Kohl Center. They have somewhere in the neighborhood of a 94% winning percentage since they've started playing in the arena. That's good. Real good. (Thanks Capt. Obvious).
Although Iowa still has the upper hand in the overall record vs. Bucky, Iowa has only won 1 game vs. UW in the last 9 tries. In fact, Iowa is 2-8 in the last 10 and 3-12 in the 15 vs. Wisconsin. It's safe to say that the Hawks have just tipped their hats and called the Badgers their daddy. Iowa basketball is to Wisconsin basketball head to head as Wisconsin football is to Iowa football head to head. Bo has had Iowa's number just as Ferentz has had Wisconsin's number.
In addition to the head to head on-the-court matchups, Bo Ryan, as of late, has pretty much outbattled Iowa for every recruiting battle, as well. Steve Alford was taken to the shed by Ryan on several occasions.
Take at the recruiting battles:
Jon Leuer - Wisconsin and Iowa were 1 and 2 with him. Jon just scored 23 pts on the road in his first Big Ten game ever. Bo Ryan calls him the most fundamentally sound frosh he has ever coached. If I was a betting man, back in Sept of last year I would have put a chunk of change down that Jon was going to be a Hawkeye. I had good info from the Twin Cities that Jon was a heavy lean to Iowa... then he committed to UW.
Jason Bohannon - Like Leuer, it was down to Iowa and Wisconsin. Playing for Marion HS in the state of Iowa, a lot of Hawk fans saw this almost as a slam dunk for Alford. It wasn't so frustrating to see Jason leave because he was the best in the state, it was more because his dad played QB on one of the more popular Iowa football teams history. Turns out JaBo didn't want to be known on campus as Gordy's kid. The #6 SG in the nation in the class wanted to be a Badger. A lot of Iowa fans then turned to the old - "we didn't want him anyway" - card, which, in my opinion is ludacris. Most thought as long as we could land Trevon Hughes, we'd be fine.
Trevon Hughes - Well, I just mentioned Trevon, and I think we are seeing a trend here. Wisconsin and Iowa were the final two for Hughes. Obviously, Iowa lost that battle, as well. Although he played sparingly last year, Trevon is doing a terrific job for the Badgers this year.
Wisconsin players also recruited by Iowa include Brian Butch, Marcus Landry and Keaton Nankivil.
So that brings us to the matchup on the court tomorrow. Both teams played a controlled style of basketball. They try to limit mistakes and limit possessions. Wisconsin has a good balance of upperclassmen and underclassmen, while Iowa's team doesn't have much consistency in that regard. Looks like Jake Kelly is going to be able to go full speed on that ankle he messed up during the first half of the Indiana game, so that is encouraging. SIDENOTE: Unfortunately, no one has found that magical elixir to heal a torn ACL, so Cole won't be in uniform either. Hopefully Jarryd will be ready to go by the start of next year. Hawk fans across the board wish him a speedy recovery.
Wisconsin is nearly unbeatable at home. The #3 seeded NCAA Tournament team from Iowa City lead by Horner and Brunner couldn't even win there. It took a #1 ranked Illinois team to come to the Kohl Center in order to break the Badgers 38 game home win streak. Bucky has a good thing going on up there. I see UW getting out to a 7-10 point lead for most of the game and then closing it out in the end.
Iowa - 58
Wisconsin - 73