Wisconsin-Iowa Preview

The Associated Press

When Wisconsin is hitting its 3-point shots, it can be tough to beat. When it struggles from the outside, like it did against Iowa earlier this season, it can see some ugly results.

The 16th-ranked Badgers look to exact some revenge while trying to continue their strong road play Thursday night against the Hawkeyes.

Wisconsin bounced back from last Thursday's rough effort from beyond the arc in a loss to then-No. 7 Michigan State, beating Penn State 65-55 on Sunday behind an 11-of-22 effort from 3-point range. The Badgers (20-7, 9-5 Big Ten) hit 3s on five consecutive possessions to build an early lead, benefiting from a balanced attack from long range.

Josh Gasser, Jordan Taylor and Jared Berggren hit three 3-pointers apiece. Gasser scored 15 points while Berggren added 13 and six rebounds for Wisconsin, which went 5 of 24 on 3s against the Spartans.

"When shots are falling, everything seems to be going a little bit better," Gasser said. "Within our offense, we just got out in transition a little bit, got a few easy looks and those are always nice. Anytime you can knock down a few, you are going to be a little bit aggressive going forward."

Wisconsin is 14-2 when hitting at least six 3-pointers, but the Badgers came into Sunday shooting 25.5 percent from beyond the arc in the previous five games - a stretch in which they went 3-2.

Their worst 3-point shooting game of the season led to a home upset at the hands of Iowa on Dec. 31, as they went 3 of 28 and fell 72-65. Ben Brust went 1 for 9, Berggren 0 for 5 and Taylor 2 for 7 on 3s.

Taylor, who scored 17 points in that game but shot 7 of 19 overall, had 11 points and went 4 of 12 against the Nittany Lions. He's shot 28.0 percent the last two games, though he did go 3 of 6 on 3-pointers versus Penn State.

Wisconsin will go for a split of the season series with Iowa on the road, where it's 6-3. The loss to Michigan State snapped a four-game road win streak away from home, but the Badgers' three road defeats have come against ranked opponents - two of which were in the top 10.

The Hawkeyes (14-13, 6-8) will be looking for their fourth victory over a Top 25 opponent after defeating then-No. 18 Indiana 78-66 on Sunday.

Senior Matt Gatens scored a career-high 30 points and went 7 of 10 from 3-point range, and Iowa also received a lift from its underclassmen. Sophomore Melsahn Basabe scored 13 points while freshman Josh Oglesby had 11. Aaron White, a 6-foot-8 freshman, had eight points and 10 rebounds.

While the Hawkeyes have a losing conference record, their six wins are their most in Big Ten play since 2007-08.

"It shows that the future's really bright. We have a lot of young guys playing big minutes against big teams," Gatens said. "It's great for the program. Experience is something you can't teach."

The win was Iowa's third straight at home and third in five games overall. The Hawkeyes limited the Hoosiers to 37.7 percent shooting, continuing a trend of improved defense.

Iowa has held four of its last five opponents to fewer than 70 points and three of those below 40 percent from the field. The previous six teams the Hawkeyes faced averaged 81.2 points and 50.4 percent shooting.

White has been a big presence on the defensive end, recording nine blocks in his last five contests and grabbing 32 rebounds - 22 defensive - in his previous three games. He had 18 points, four boards and a block against the Badgers in December.

Wisconsin has won three of its last four visits to Iowa City. The most recent two matchups there were decided in overtime.

What to Read Next