The No. 20 Michigan Wolverines (19-7, 8-5 Big Ten) are hitting the road again to face off with the Wisconsin Badgers(11-15, 3-9) in Madison. Coming off of a loss to Northwestern on Tuesday night, the Wolverines are looking to Saturday for another Big Ten matchup victory. With woes of their own, the Badgers, having been on a five game losing streak before beating Illinois Thursday night, have fallen hard this season and are trying to figure out how to finish their last five games in Big Ten play. Tip off for Saturday will be at 1:00 pm EST on CBS.

Last time out

Michigan’s last away visit was to Evanston on Tuesday night, having stayed behind a day later because of inclement weather. Though staying behind didn’t seem to do much for the Wolverines as the Wildcats went in to the second half holding Michigan to 20 points, and then taking the win 61-52.

Michigan’s wins have a similar consistency as their losses do. Looking at what went wrong on Tuesday can be said for most of their losses to teams that are not of a similar caliber as the Wolverines. Taking out Purdue, the team’s losses over the season have been almost identical. Tuesday’s performance was no different. They were out rebounded by the Wildcats 32-28, dropping their chances at the defensive and offensive ends of the ball. They produced more turnovers than Northwestern, hitting their season average of nine, the Wildcats only producing six. Along with that, they couldn’t get their shooters going from behind the arc, posting a three point average of 22.7 percent to Northwestern’s 34.8 percent. Put all of that together, it is no wonder that the Wildcats defended their home turf and the Wolverines fell to 8-5 in conference play. When shots are off, and turnovers are high, very rarely will Michigan pull through with a win.

Moritz Wagner led the team with 20 points and nine rebounds, but little could be made from it as the Wolverines shooting went dry in the second, only posting 5-20 shots from the field and making one three pointer out of ten attempts. They couldn’t scrounge points from the foul line either, going 13-19. The performance was weak, especially when it is crucial to post road wins in the Big Ten. Michigan has to re-evaluate before taking on Wisconsin, paying close attention on how to maintain consistent shooting from behind the arc and from the line.

Wisconsin: A Snapped Five Game Losing Streak, but a Season Full of Strife

Wisconsin has had their fall from grace this season, only snapping their five game losing streak to Illinois in Champaign Thursday night with a 78-69 victory. This moved the Badgers up to 4-9 in conference play, but Wisconsin has struggled in producing reputable wins this season, especially in conference. Wisconsin hasn’t produced an upset to a top-25 team all season; they themselves being unranked after last season’s run. Of their last five Big Ten games, three of their opponents are ranked in the top-25, while four of the five have a better record in Big Ten play.

Wisconsin visited Illinois Thursday. Ethan Happ led the Badgers, producing 27 points for the team, shooting 12-20. There was little the Fighting Illini could do to fend off the Badgers, with Wisconsin shooting 53.3 percent from behind the arc and 53.2 in the paint. The Badgers produced fewer turnovers than the Illini 13-10. With a reputable three point and field goal performance from the Badgers Thursday night, they still have not maintained this standard throughout the season. They still face No. 3 Purdue and No. 5 Michigan State to end their last five games. Their performance on Saturday could be predictive for these remainder top-25 games.

Michigan at Wisconsin

There are five games left in Big Ten conference play for the Wolverines and the Badgers. Both teams are looking to go out swinging in preparation for the Big Ten Tournament. A lot rests on these last few games. Michigan wants to make a statement about how they could contend in the NCAA tournament and Wisconsin wants to salvage what they can from this season. If the Maize and Blue can get the ball rolling with their shooting game, the Badgers won’t pull the upset. The Badgers could pull a strong defensive game to make the Wolverines work for it; they’ll have to focus on rebounds and capitalizing on turnovers. If Michigan has an off shooting day, the Badgers could have room to move, but with their recent struggles over the season, the upset seems implausible.

Michigan takes it 69-63.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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