No, this headline is not a misprint, the #11 Wisconsin Badgers have indeed dropped their conference home-opener to the Iowa Hawkeyes by the score of 72-65.
Iowa (9-6, 1-1) took full advantage of a horrendous-shooting performance from the Badgers (24-for-69) and a lackluster showing on the defensive end despite Wisconsin (12-3, 1-1) being one of the best in the nation on that side of the ball.
Freshman Hawkeye Aaron White was the surprising star of the day with a game-high 18 points off the bench.
The Badgers had the right game-plan in this one, but just didn’t have the execution. Iowa came into the game as one of the worst at defending the three, but the Badgers 3-for-28 (10.7 %) performance didn’t exactly fit with that notion. It wasn’t that the Badgers were necessarily taking bad shots either, granted Ben Brust did take some ill-advised deep threes that weren’t even close.
Regardless of the offensive output, who knew the Hawkeyes would be the team to put up the most points against the Badgers this season thus far? In losses to North Carolina and Marquette, the Badgers gave up 61 and 60 respectively.
Preseason All-American Jordan Taylor specifically struggled on defense while back-up point guard Bryce Cartwright ran up and down the court opening up opportunities for the Iowa offense. Cartwright dished out five assists and poured in a crucial 17 points.
For a team who was giving up around 44 points a game, allowing 72 to Iowa at home is unthinkable.
Even more concerning is the two losses suffered at home and it’s not even January yet. Anyone who has watched the Badgers during the Bo Ryan era knows they rarely lose at home, especially to teams they are expected to beat. If the Badgers lose their stifling home-field advantage, it could be a unusual year in conference play.
Luckily this is the college basketball season and Ryan has a great opportunity to coach up his players, but it’s also worth noting the job Fran McCaffery has done with the Hawkeyes in his second year. They had a rough time during the non-conference season, but played inspiring basketball in this game. A true signature win for McCaffery and his boys.
Are you concerned at all about the Badgers home loss to the Hawkeyes? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.