Pre-Game Primer: Hawkeyes at Wisconsin

No. 25 Iowa travels to Madison on Tuesday to take on No. 6 Wisconsin, the overwhelming favorite to win the Big Ten. Hawkeye Insider gets you ready for the key conference tilt with our Pre-game Primer.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Fran McCaffery's last trip to Wisconsin is one he'd like to forget. His team lost a second-half lead and the Iowa Coach was ejected from the game.

The Hawkeyes return to Madison Tuesday night (8 p.m. CT, ESPN). The teams are tied for second in the the Big Ten, a half game behind Maryland.

McCaffery's much publicized tirade against the officials last year at the Kohl Center also earned him a one-game suspension. He's reeled in his fury towards the referees since that incident.

Adding to Tuesday's intrigue will be the return of Jarrod Uthoff to Wisconsin. The former Cedar Rapids Jefferson High star met resistance from Badger Coach Bo Ryan when he asked for a transfer and eventually ended up at Iowa.

When asked on Monday morning's Big Ten teleconference about preparing for Uthoff, one of the Hawkeyes top performers this season, Ryan said: "We have guys like that. Other teams have guys like that.”

OK, then.

It should be an electric environment at the Kohl Center with two schools that have a sincere dislike for each other facing off. To prepare you for this Big Ten tilt of teams with four wins apiece in the league, we bring you our Pre-game Primer:

Records, Rankings, RPI: The Hawkeyes are 13-5 overall, 4-1 in the Big Ten, No. 25 in the AP and started Monday at 43 in the RPI. Wisconsin is at 14-2, 4-1, No. 6 in the AP poll and at 9 in the RPI.

Previous Meeting: The Badgers swept last year's two meetings. In addition to the 75-71 win in Madison on Jan. 5, they slipped past Iowa, 79-74, Feb. 22 in Iowa City. Both match-ups a year ago were decided late.

In Iowa City, Josh Oglesby scored 15 of his 17 points after the intermission to help the Hawkeyes overcome a 40-31 halftime hole and take a 72-71with 1:01 left in the contest. Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky put his team back in front, 73-72, with :36 remaining. He then extended the lead to three by making two free throws following an Iowa turnover.

The Hawkeyes drew up a three-point attempt for Zach McCabe out of the timeout. The senior misfired and Iowa lost another close contest to its rival.

Following the game, some people attacked McCabe on Twitter. He responded angrily and McCaffery then banned that form of social media for the rest of the season.

Statistical Leaders: Scoring - Aaron White, Iowa, 16.1 PPG; Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, 17.2. Rebounds - White, Iowa, 7.1 RPG; Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, 8.0. Assists - Mike Gesell, Iowa, 3.7 APG; Traevon Jackson (injured), Wisconsin, 2.9.

Common Opponents: Both teams have played host to Nebraska. Iowa knocked off the Huskers, 70-59, on Jan. 5. Wisconsin handled them, 70-55, Thursday.

Skinny: The Badgers reached the Final Four last season, one during which Iowa tested them twice. Their average margin of victory in those meetings was 4.5 points.

The Hawkeyes seem to match up well with their rival once again. Their strengths lies in the front court.

Iowa's White, Uthoff and Adam Woodbury/Gabe Olaseni against Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes features maybe the best match-up of big men in the Big Ten this year. Each of them is capable of dominating a game.

You have to figure that these schools will get production from the front court Tuesday night. It might come down which team receives key contributions from its guards.

The Badgers will be without the services of starting point guard Traevon Jackson for the second game in a row. The senior is sidelined after breaking his foot at Rutgers a week ago.

Ryan turned to sophomore Bronson Koenig to run the show. The 6-4, 190-pounder, who has served more as a combo guard in his first season and a half, scored 11 points to go with an assist and a turnover in 37 minutes during his first start since taking over the lead guard role.

Wisconsin's swing offense (four out) requires skilled players at each position and their ability to pass often takes pressure off Koenig. Hayes led the team with four assists against Nebraska.

Iowa's biggest advantage against the Badgers might be its depth. Ten different Hawkeyes average at least 10 minutes a game, although No. 10, Trey Dickerson, is no longer in the rotation. The Badgers boast seven players averaging at least 18 minutes, but that list includes Jackson.

If Iowa can wear down the home team and/or get it in foul trouble, it could pull off the upset. On the road, that's a big if.

Prediction: Wisconsin 72, IOWA 67


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