Like Wisconsin, Nebraska is currently on an impressive winning streak, winning seven of its last eight games, and with the Cornhuskers currently sitting on the bubble, a win over Wisconsin will dramatically help their NCAA Tournament chances.
In this Badger Nation feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin to have success against Nebraska.
Lay up: Can Wisconsin disrupt Terran Petteway?
As good of season as Petteway is having, averaging 17.8 points per game and shooting an efficient 43 percent from the field, the sophomore has been struggling with turnovers this season. Petteway has shown this season that he struggles to take care of the basketball when he goes up against tough defenders, averaging 2.8 turnovers a game.
Although Gasser doesn't matchup well height or length wise with the 6-6 Petteway, he is still Wisconsin's best defender, but Dekker's length and athleticism could be utilized to try and slow Petteway down. Earlier on in the year if it was suggested Dekker possibly guarding Petteway, it wouldn't have benefited the Badgers. As of late, however, Dekker has been making a much more concentrated effort on defense and is avoiding mental lapses. Against Purdue he was able to record two steals and one block.
When Nebraska tries to use screens to get Petteway an open look, Wisconsin will have to be able to hedge through screens, limit open look and communicate about different switches so Nebraska doesn't get any easy points.
Mid-range jumper: Can Wisconsin avoid scoring slumps?
Over the last two games against Penn State and Purdue, the Badgers were unable to build double-digit leads and put games out of reach. Wisconsin was able to build an 18-point lead in the second half with about 10 minutes to go Wednesday, but Purdue went on a 15-4 run to cut Wisconsin's lead to single digits.
Although Wisconsin was able to build its lead back to double digits, it is uncharacteristic of Bo Ryan's teams to squander big leads late in games. Letting double-digit leads slip has been a reoccurring theme this season, something that eventually could come back to bite them.
With this being a big game for Nebraska and needing a win to help bolster its NCAA Tournament resume, the Cornhuskers will try and feed off of a possible raucous crowd. If Wisconsin can come out strong like they did against Purdue and hit a couple of big shots they have the chance to take the crowd out of the game early.
3-pointer: What kind of bounce-back game can Sam Dekker have?
After reaching double figures in six straight games, Dekker is averaging six points and shooting 3-for-13 in his last two games. With Dekker being one of Wisconsin's more consistent scorers, it is surprising to see him struggle against Purdue.
Dekker has failed to score in double figures six times this season. In the first four games Dekker failed to reach double figures, he followed up all of those performances by scoring at least 16 points, including two 20+ games. None of Dekker's shots were poorly taken, but the problem was shots he normally makes weren't dropping for him, including missing easy lay ups.
Even though Wisconsin hasn't needed Dekker's scoring in the last two wins, Dekker has found success against Nebraska. Dekker averaged 13 points a game against Nebraska last year while shooting better then 50 percent from the field.
Dekker and the rest of his teammates could find themselves at the free throw line often with Nebraska is averaging 16 fouls a game. Petteway may draw the assignment of defending Dekker and if he does, Dekker will need to try and attack the rim to see if he can get Petteway into foul trouble. Petteway is averaging three fouls a game. If Wisconsin can get him into foul trouble early it will affect the Cornhuskers' offense. As long as Dekker continues to be aggressive, his shot will eventually start to fall.