Preview: Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

Winners of six of its last seven, Wisconsin heads north for its final road trip of the season, looking to extract some revenge from Minnesota, a team that has lost five of its last seven.

Wisconsin (18-10, 9-7 Big Ten) vs. Minnesota (20-8, 8-8 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Wednesday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m. Central

Arena – Williams Arena (14,625)

Television - Big Ten Network (Wayne Larivee, Greg Kelser and Tim Doyle)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas)

Series – Minnesota Leads 98-88 (includes vacated games)

Last Meeting – Minnesota won, 78-74 in overtime, on January 15, 2009 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Marcus Landry (Senior Forward, 12.7 ppg)

3 Trevon Hughes (Junior Guard, 12.1 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Junior Guard, 10.4 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Sophomore Forward, 9.2 ppg)

45 Joe Krabbenhoft (Senior Forward, 8.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

11 Jordan Taylor (Freshman Guard, 1.5 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Sophomore Forward, 2.3 ppg)

33 Robert Wilson (Freshman Forward, 1.7)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Sophomore Forward, 4.4 ppg)

Minnesota Probable Starters

0 Al Nolen (Sophomore Guard, 7.2 ppg)

20 Lawrence Westbrook (Junior Guard, 12.2 ppg)

34 Damian Johnson (Junior Forward, 9.2 ppg)

45 Colton Iverson (Freshman Center, 5.6 ppg)

50 Ralph Sampson III (Freshman Forward, 6.2 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Paul Carter (Sophomore Forward, 5.5 ppg)

4 Travis Busch (Junior Guard, 4.2 ppg)

5 Devoe Joseph (Freshman Guard, 5.4 ppg)

22 Devron Bostick (Junior Guard, 3.6 ppg)

24 Blake Hoffarber (Sophomore Guard, 7.0 ppg)

33 Jamal Abu-Shamala (Senior Forward, 3.9 ppg)

Last Time Out:

Despite sloppy play, missed free throws and prolonged scoring droughts, Wisconsin survived its must-win game by out lasting a feisty Michigan squad, 60-55, on Sunday.

"These are the games that in the past, we lost," said senior Marcus Landry, who chipped in with 13 points. "These are the games that got down to the wire and we didn't finish them out. It's important for us to finish out these close games down the stretch."

Junior guard Trevon Hughes paced Wisconsin (18-10, 9-7 Big Ten) with a game-high 19 points, as Hughes scored 10 of his points in the second half, finishing 7-for-11 from the field and 3-for-4 from three-point range.

Although the Badgers never trailed in the final minutes, Wisconsin was far from regaining its killer instinct. The Badgers didn't make a single field goal in the game's final 4:57 and committed two of their 11 turnovers down the stretch while holding a four-point lead or less.

"We got away from what we were doing in the first few minutes of the game," Landry said. "They were aggressive and they executed off of our bad decisions."

The Wolverines (18-12, 8-9 Big Ten), on the hand, were just as poor. After Manny Harris (15 points) made a driving layup to cut the score to 54-52 with 2:51 left, Michigan didn't make another bucket until C.J. Lee's uncontested layup with seven seconds remaining to cut the UW lead to three.

In the final 30 seconds and Michigan down three, junior DeShawn Sims, a 29 percent three-point shooter, barely drew iron on two three-point attempts. Even with the door open, Wisconsin couldn't fully close the door, going 6-for-10 on free throws in the final 1:33, but was able to hold of Michigan.

First Meeting:

Scoring nine of his game-high 29 points in the extra session, Lawrence Westbrook made sure Minnesota ended a decades worth of futility in Madison, helping the Gophers take control and leave Madison with a 78-74 overtime victory.

The loss sends the Badgers (12-5, 3-2 Big Ten) to their second consecutive for the first time since February 2007 and its record to 1-5 against ranked teams and 56-4 against conference teams under Bo Ryan.

"These are the games that might keep you up at night thinking about," said senior Marcus Landry, who led UW with 18 points. "We did it to ourselves. These are games that you don't ever want to happen again in the future."

Wisconsin (12-5, 3-2 Big Ten) was in control from the early goings of the second half, holding an 11-point lead at halftime thanks to the trio of Jason Bohannon, Landry and Jon Leuer scoring all 33 of UW's first half points and Badgers maintaining that lead throughout the majority of the second half, leading 52-40 with 4:53 left in the game.

It was at that point that Westbrook really started to heat up. He nailed a layup to cut the lead to five with 2:26 left and knocked two free throws to slice the lead to four with 44 seconds on the clock.

After Joe Krabbenhoft (seven points) made two free throws to extend Wisconsin's lead to three with 14 seconds left, Westbrook received the pass from Blake Hoffarber, pumped fake to get Trevon Hughes in the air and calmly sank the tying three pointer, silencing the sellout Kohl Center.

Minnesota (16-1, 4-1 Big Ten) scored 20 points on its final 10 possessions to send the game into overtime.

Series Notes:

This will be the 187th meeting between Wisconsin and Minnesota, making the Gophers UW's most-played rival

UM leads the all-time series 65-30 in Minneapolis

The Badgers have won 13 of the last 15 meetings, including five of the last six at Williams Arena

The Badgers boast four Minnesota natives: senior Kevin Gullikson (Stillwater), sophomore Jon Leuer (Orono) and freshmen Jared Berggren and Jordan Taylor

Bo Ryan owns a 2-2 record vs. Tubby Smith, including one loss to Smith's Kentucky squad in the 2003 NCAA Tournament

The 1991-92 season was also the last time Minnesota swept Wisconsin during conference play (the Gophers won 76-57 at Williams Arena on March 4, 1992).

Wisconsin Notes:

The Badgers have also performed remarkably well under Ryan in March, boasting a 10-2 regular season mark vs. Big Ten teams. Including postseason play, Wisconsin has posted a 30-14 (.682) record in the season's final month over the last eight seasons.

Wisconsin has won six of its last seven games. During that stretch, opponents are averaging just 51.9 points per game against UW. The Badgers have posted a +4.0 turnover margin, forcing 88 turnovers (12.6 avg.) and coughing it up just 60 times (8.6 avg.) themselves over that span.

With a 9-7 Big Ten record in 2008-09, the Badgers have now won at least nine games in nine consecutive seasons. Wisconsin also assured itself of its 11th-straight season finishing with at least a .500 record or better in conference play.

Wisconsin is 21-11 (.656) in true road games over the last three seasons, a mark that is 10th in the nation over that span. North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas and UCLA are the only BCS conference schools with better road records.

Minnesota Notes:

Gopher sophomore Al Nolen leads the team with 128 assists and is currently 24 dimes short of 10th on Minnesota's career all-time assists list. He comes into the Wisconsin game with 244 career assists (4.0 apg).

Nolen has 28 career games with one turnover or less, and Minnesota is 23-5 in those games. Nolen is fifth in the Big Ten Conference with 4.6 apg and is fourth in the conference with a 2.33 assist/turnover ratio.

The Gophers are led by junior guard Lawrence Westbrook, who is averaging a career-high 12.2 ppg. Westbrook has scored in double- figures in 20 of the 27 games he has played this season, including a career-high 29 points in the overtime victory at Wisconsin on Jan. 15. Minnesota is 16-4 this season when Westbrook reaches double-figures and 9-1 when he leads the team in scoring.

With the win over Northwestern on Feb. 22, Tubby Smith secured his 16th straight 20-win season, the longest active streak in the nation and the third-longest streak in NCAA history. Smith's streak began in 1994 and has stretched across four institutions (Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota). Smith has never had a losing season and his teams have reached the postseason every year since 1994.


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