Tough at the Kohl Center

For the past seven years, Wisconsin has made winning at the Kohl Center extremely difficult for the rest of the Big Ten.

The 25th-ranked Badgers look to win their ninth straight conference home opener and begin another season of Big Ten dominance in Madison when they host Iowa on Saturday.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Wisconsin -17 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on Wisconsin -17 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Wisconsin (11-2, 1-0) has been one of the best programs in the nation at defending its home court, compiling a 111-8 record at the Kohl Center since 2000-01. The Badgers, who are 8-1 at home this season, have won an even higher percentage of their home games against Big Ten opponents in that span.

They have won 11 straight conference games at the Kohl Center dating back to the 2005-06 season, and are 53-3 in Big Ten home games since 2001.

Wisconsin has not lost a conference home opener since falling to Ohio State in 1999, and has won six straight games in Madison over the Hawkeyes since a 61-55 loss on Jan. 29, 2000. Iowa, meanwhile, went 2-6 in conference road games last season, and has lost 17 of its last 24 Big Ten road games.

The Badgers swept the season series over the Hawkeyes last season, and have won eight of the last nine meetings.

Wisconsin won its fifth straight Big Ten opener with a 70-54 victory over Michigan on Wednesday behind a surprising performance from freshman Jon Leuer.

The 6-foot-10 Leuer scored a career-high 25 points on 8-of-9 shooting and made all five of his 3-point attempts in 24 minutes off the bench. Leuer had scored 19 points in his five previous games combined, and had reached double figures just once in his first 11 games.

"It was a big win for us," said Leuer, who is 9-of-10 from beyond the 3-point arc. "To kick off the Big Ten season like that, it was fun."

Sophomore guard Trevon Hughes, who leads the Badgers with 14.3 points per game, came off the bench Wednesday after missing one game with an injured right ankle. He finished with a season-low five points in 28 minutes.

Marcus Landry had 15 points and a team-high six rebounds against the Wolverines, while Brian Butch had a season-low seven points. Butch, who averages 13.1 points and 7.8 boards, had 28 points and 21 rebounds in the two games against Iowa last season.

Wisconsin held Michigan to 39.2 percent shooting, and is second in the league in field goal percentage defense (37.5). The Badgers are fourth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 54.1 points per game, while the Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten (57.0 ppg).

Iowa (7-7, 0-1) opened conference play with a 79-76 home loss to 11th-ranked Indiana on Wednesday.

The Hawkeyes appeared to be headed for a certain defeat before senior guard Justin Johnson hit six 3-pointers in the final 1:56 to bring Iowa within two points with 4.8 seconds left. The Hawkeyes' last attempt at the win fell short as their final inbounds pass was stolen.

Johnson, averaging a team-high 15.7 points, finished 8-of-13 from 3-point range on Wednesday en route to a career-high 29 points.

Iowa, which has lost seven of its last 10 games, is looking to avoid being under .500 through 15 games for the first time since the 1999-00 season.

"We are progressing and improving," Hawkeyes coach Todd Lickliter said. "I have been saying all along that we have great focus, great guys and good teammates."

Iowa freshman Jake Kelly suffered a high ankle sprain early in the first half Wednesday and did not return. Kelly, who had started the last seven games and is averaging 6.9 points, is listed as day-to-day.

The Hawkeyes have lost all five games they've played against ranked opponents since the start of last season, and have lost eight of their last nine road games against Top 25 teams.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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