What is Dispatches from Blogfrica? Pretty simple: I ask questions of a blogger for an opposing team; he answers. A truly revolutionary idea, no? Next up: Andy from Madtown Badgers, a fine site for those of a Badger-loving persuasion.
1) The Badger offense has scored under 50 points in three of its last four games. What's the source of the power outage up there? Are things fixed since they scored 74 against Illinois the other day?
I wouldn't say things are "fixed" per se, but confidence in shooting is contagious and that could be a good sign. All you really need to know about how Wisconsin will fair as a team can be known by watching Ryan Evans. If he's hitting shots (not free throws - cause that won't happen) early this team could be in store for a good shooting night. If they are jacking up 30 3 pointers then it'll be a bad day.
2) The Badgers lost their game with Iowa earlier this season and, in fact, they've lost the last three games in a row against Iowa. What do the Badgers need to change to get a win in this game? Are you nervous about Fran McCaffery developing a hex over Wisconsin as formidable as Bo Ryan's hex over Indiana?
Yes, very much so…. Fran seems to have Bo's number as of late and a win in this one is important, no question about that. As for what needs to change - well, they need to find a way to not let the Hawkeyes dictate the tempo early on. It seems that UW has more often than not dug itself a hole it can't climb out of. We need to take a lead early on and that means we need to get Jared Berggren going down low and play good transition defense against you guys for a change!
3) George Mashall went completely and utterly bonkers against Iowa the last time these teams played, but since then he's been pretty quiet -- 14 points and 3 assists combined in four games. Wha' happened? Was his Iowa performance just a complete fluke? Is he going through a freshman funk?
You are right, Marshall went off against you guys the last time out. As for Wha' Happened - well… that's a bit of a mystery as it appeared he was about to break out after that game, but credit Traevon Jackson for also playing pretty well as of late too. That has had a lot to do with things and Marshall is still figuring out the game and what Bo Ryan expects from him in Big Ten play. Marshall has seen his minutes diminish since that Iowa game, but don't sleep - he's one of the best pure shooters Wisconsin has.
4) Will Badger fans yell any colorful chants at Jared Uthoff tonight or will that have to wait until next year, when he's actually eligible to play?
I don't think there is any love lost for Jarrod Uthoff…. Let's just say he may be the single most hated player at the UW since Jared Sullinger and the "spitting" incident (never mind it was never proved to be true). I'd expect a good natured heckling at Uthoff before the game, but as for relentless and more creative stuff you can expect The Greatful Red to hold off on that for when he's actually on the court.
Um…. I shudder to think of the power of the ginger in this one. Seriously, the roof may blow off and a black hole may appear to suck the whole lot of them in. No, seriously though if all three of these guys go off I'm calling it the "Vast Ginger Conspiracy" - those guys aren't to be trusted, right?
6) OK, prediction time -- who ya got?
Unlike Indiana, the Badgers have at least proven in recent years they can beat an Iowa team. For me I look at how bad Iowa has been on the road this year (need I remind any of you?) and add in playing at the Kohl Center and it adds up to a Wisconsin win. Give me a final score of Wisconsin 64, Iowa 58 in this one.
Thanks for being a good sport, Andy. You can check out Andy at Madtown Badgers, as well as at The B1G Time. You can also follow Andy on Twitter at @MTBadgers and @TheB1GTime. The Iowa-Wisconsin game is on Wednesday, February 6 at 8:00 pm CT, with television coverage from BTN.