Wisconsin basketball is playing their worst basketball of the season. After a 72-68 loss to last place Michigan Wednesday night, the Badgers stay on the road Saturday to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
It’s been a tough year for Rutgers. They are 12-10 overall and 4-7 in the Big Ten. They are coming off back to back road wins, including a 56-53 win at Maryland Tuesday night. Can Wisconsin basketball stop the bleeding and get a needed road win?
Here are three keys to a Wisconsin Badgers victory.
Wisconsin Basketball Has to Win With Defense
I can almost guarantee this will not be a high scoring game. Rutgers is one of the worst offensive teams in the country. However, they are statistically a top 10 defensive team. The Scarlet Knights have scored more than 70 points three times this calendar year. On the other hand, Wisconsin basketball has eight such games.
Despite the bad offense form Rutgers, if the Badgers play defense like they have in stretches lately, Rutgers can put up some points. The Wisconsin basketball defense is reeling, but they will have to dig in if they want to get a road win.
Steven Crowl vs. Cliff Omoruyi
Steven Crowl is in one of his worst stretches of his career. Not only is he not scoring much, he is not shooting the ball as much. It makes you wonder if he is dealing with an injury.
Cliff Omoruyi won’t wow you scoring the ball (he does average double digits), but he is a tremendous defender and an elite shot blocker, averaging three blocks a game.
Crowl has struggled with Big Ten centers throughout his career. He is going to have to win his matchup against Omoruyi. If he does not score in double figures, it is hard to see Wisconsin basketball winning this game.
Wisconsin Basketball Must Stop the Bleeding
This Wisconsin basketball team is clearly reeling. They have gotten away from everything that made them successful early in the season. On defense, they are not getting around screen fast and are letting teams cut to the lane with ease.
Rutgers only averaged 66 points a game. I don’t see the Scarlet Knights scoring a ton, but the Badgers have to get around Cliff Omoruyi screens and protect the paint.
On offense, they have to get touches in the paint work to get open shots. Right now, Wisconsin basketball is forcing shots and settling for contested jump shots. Working to get a better shot should install some confidence, something this team is missing.
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