Saturday’s game will be the 200th time Minnesota and Wisconsin basketball have met, per the Badgers. A win would give Wisconsin (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) a tie with Maryland for first place in the Big Ten, while a loss would push it back into the muck that is the anarchic Big Ten this season.
Minnesota (15-4, 3-3) looked poised to compete for a Big Ten title with a 3-1 start to conference play, including a win over Purdue, but losses to Michigan State and Penn State have left it searching for answers on offense. The Gophers failed to break 50 points in both losses.
Both teams enter with a question mark on the injury report, as Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown is questionable with a lower leg injury. Minnesota freshman forward Amir Coffey is expected to play, per Marcus Fuller of The Star-Tribune, but might not be 100 percent after taking a rough foul against Penn State.
Wisconsin basketball vs. Minnesota game time, details
Date: Saturday, Jan. 21
Time: 3:30 p.m. CT/4:30 p.m. ET
Location: Williams Arena (“The Barn”), Minneapolis
The line: Wisconsin is a 3-point favorite.
What TV channel broadcasts Wisconsin basketball vs. Minnesota?
The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
How can I watch online?
The Big Ten Network will stream the game on BTN2Go as well as all BTN2Go apps.
How can I listen on the radio?
The Wisconsin call for the game will be on Badger Sports Network. A list of affiliates can be found here and the game can be heard online here. Similarly, Minnesota’s call will be on the Gopher Sports Network, with affiliates here and the online stream on 1500 ESPN’s site.
Who is calling the game for the Big Ten Network?
Cory Provus and Shon Morris will be behind the microphone.
Wisconsin’s keys to the game
Wisconsin is 0-3 against teams ranked in the top 50 of KenPom.com’s defensive rankings (Creighton at No. 49, North Carolina at No. 10, Purdue at No. 22) and is undefeated against everyone else. The Badgers simply haven’t broken through a good defense this season, which is bad news considering the Gophers have morphed into the Big Ten’s top defensive unit in opponent points per possession and field goal percentage. If Wisconsin is going to win, it’s probably going to require an offensive performance the Badgers haven’t managed all season.
#Badgers assistant Joe Krabbenhoft on Minnesota defense: "That is their calling card, their identity."
— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) January 20, 2017
Happ bounces back
A Wisconsin offensive breakthrough probably is going to require a bounce-back performance from Ethan Happ, who has managed just 17 points on 8-of-23 shooting in his past two games. That shooting mark doesn’t look any better when you consider Happ only attempts 2-point field goals and is shooting an abysmal 50 percent from the free throw line. He struggled against the length of both Ohio State and Michigan, a problem considering Minnesota has 6-foot-10 Reggie Lynch, who leads the conference in blocks with 54.
While Wisconsin has looked every bit the Big Ten contender it was expected be, it sits at just two road wins for the season, against Marquette and Indiana. The Barn is known as one of the Big Ten’s most hostile environments, but last year’s Wisconsin team, comprised of essentially the same players as this year, had no trouble dispatching the Gophers 62-49 on the road. However, this Minnesota team is a completely different animal.