Michigan Return to the numbers on the field for a brutal reminder of how tough the Big Ten are as the Wolverines will play on Sunday for their first game in over three weeks on the road against one of the league’s preseason favorites Wisconsin. The Badgers have been switching between wins and losses for the past few weeks while Michigan has been on break, but the No. 21 Badgers are entering the meeting as one of seven Big Ten teams.
The No. 3 Wolverines won the first meeting between 77 and 54 in a matchup of the top 10 teams at the time on Jan. 12. That 23-point loss was Wisconsin’s lowest score of the season and its biggest loss. Hence, motivation shouldn’t be a problem for the badgers in seeking revenge. The Badgers are also 11-2 at the Kohl Center this season and should certainly have a conditioning advantage on Sunday when the Wolverines rebound. But Michigan stayed a top 5 team during its lengthy hiatus for a reason, and that reason is a 13-1 record that includes an 8-1 start of the Big Ten game.
It’s difficult to gauge how ready the Wolverines will be to face high-profile opponents after their break, but coach Juwan Howard has shown he can get a lot out of this squad in Michigan. An insightful second meeting will be set up between two teams with serious postseason ambitions.
- When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
- Where: Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin
- TV: CBS | Live broadcast: CBSSports.com, CBS Sport App (Free)
- THERE: CBS Sport App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)
Michigan:: Minnesota Michigan’s unbeaten start ended January 16, but the Wolverines won their next two games against league opponents by double digits before the school’s entire sports department was shut down after a COVID-19 variant was discovered on campus. As a result, Michigan hasn’t played since January 22nd. The Wolverines have plenty of time to get back on track before the postseason, however, and there’s enough reason to believe that this roster can regain the shape it was in before the shutdown. Though the Star Freshman Center Hunter Dickinson fell off just before the break, he’s an absolute force. So are senior strikers Isaiah livers and versatile in the second year Franz Wagner. Together, the trio pose matchup problems with their length and physicality, while senior guards Mike Smith, Chaundee Brown and Eli Brown keep the game going outside the back yard.
Wisconsin: Defense is the backbone of this team, and no one has scored more than 74 opponents for the Badgers this season. Wisconsin has kept 10 opponents under 60 this season, including six Big Ten teams. The Badgers are 6-0 in these games and certainly have the vision of keeping the rested Wolverines below this benchmark. Offensively, the Badgers play slower than anyone else in the Big Ten, and offensively that leads to a low margin of error. Hence the effectiveness of her 3-point shooting seems to have played an overwhelming role in the past few weeks. Wisconsin shot 36.8% and scored at least nine 3-point hits in their last three wins, but averaged just six 3-point marks and only shot 22.5% from a distance in their last three losses.
Game prediction, choose
Latest chances of winning:
Wisconsin Badgers -1
Don’t expect too many points in a matchup made up of two defenses that KenPom voted in the top 10 nationwide. Wisconsin was embarrassed at the first Michigan meeting. In addition to this added motivation, the Badgers should also bring greater stamina and general readiness to this game due to Michigan’s firing. Forecast: Wisconsin 64, Michigan 58
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