Streaking Badgers battle men’s hoops

by Jabari Ritchie

The two teams meeting at Williams Arena on Saturday have been heading in opposite directions.

While Minnesota’s men’s basketball team is looking to rebound from Wednesday’s stunning loss at Northwestern, Wisconsin is on one of its best runs all season.

The Badgers (15-11, 8-5 Big Ten), have won three straight and can earn a season sweep over their rivals with a win over the Gophers. Wisconsin beat the Wildcats 73-44 last Saturday and posted wins over conference-leaders Ohio State and Indiana during its streak.

“You have to be a little careful,” Minnesota coach Dan Monson said about the way his team will respond to its 58-56 upset loss pto Northwestern. “Are you going to take it out on yourself or are you going to take it out on Wisconsin?”

The Gophers (14-8, 7-4 Big Ten) can clinch a .500 Big Ten record and hold on to third place in the conference standings with a win over the Badgers. Wisconsin, which delivered the Hoosiers their only home loss of the year on Wednesday, could seize third place by handing Minnesota its first Big Ten loss at Williams Arena this season.

In their last meeting with Wisconsin, the Gophers ended a three-game winning streak with a 73-64 loss in Madison.

“They had a great win at Indiana, and they beat us already this year but they’re coming to our place this time,” said Minnesota forward Rick Rickert, who leads the team with 14.7 points per game. “I think we have a little more understanding about where we’re at right now. We know what we need to work on.”

Jabari Ritchie covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]