Feb. 19, 2013
Watch Wisconsin Video Previews: Carmody | Hearn | Sobolewski
Skip Myslenski's Preview
EVANSTON, Ill.-- Northwestern seeks its third win over a ranked opponent this season as it hosts No. 19/17 Wisconsin at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
Big Ten Network is providing television coverage and the game can be heard on 720 AM WGN and wgnradio.com.
Wednesday is Social Media Night and fans are encouraged to follow the official Northwestern Men's Basketball Twitter and Facebook and Instagram accounts to follow along with the interactive fun and for the opportunity to win some great prizes.
The Wildcats already have victories over then-No. 23/22 Illinois and then-No. 12/14 Minnesota to their credit this season. A win over Wisconsin would tie the NU record of three wins over ranked opponents, accomplished by the 1993-94 and 2008-09 squads.
The 'Cats are looking to bounce back from a 62-41 home loss to Illinois on Sunday. Reggie Hearn paced Northwestern with 11 points, while Tre Demps and Alex Marcotullio added eight apiece. NU was held to a season-low 25 percent shooting in the contest.
Wednesday's game matches two of the top 10 teams in the nation in terms of taking care of the basketball. Wisconsin ranks third nationally with a norm of 9.5 turnovers per game, while Northwestern is ninth at 10.7 per contest.
Last Meeting: Wisconsin won the only matchup between the teams last season, 77-57 on Jan. 18 in Madison.
The Badgers (18-8, 9-4) rolled to a 71-49 home win over then-No. 13/14 Ohio State on Sunday. Ben Brust posted 15 points and 11 rebounds while Jared Berggren had 15 points and eight boards.
Berggren leads a balanced scoring effort with an average of 11.8 point points per game. Ryan Evans contributes 10.6 points and a team-leading 7.7 rebounds per game.
Bo Ryan is in his 12th season as head coach at Wisconsin where he has a 286-109 record. He has a 669-212 career record in 29 seasons overall as a head coach.
(H)EARNING HIS KEEP
Senior guard Reggie Hearn has taken his game to another level during his senior season. He tallied a team-high 20 points on Jan. 17 in leading Northwestern to a convincing 68-54 victory at then-No. 23/22 Illinois. It was the second straight year that Hearn scored 20 points in a victory at Assembly Hall. The Fort Wayne native followed up the performance by scoring a game-high 22 points against Indiana on Jan. 20 and then a career-high 26 points in a win over Purdue Feb. 2. The former walk-on leads the Wildcats and ranks ninth in the Big Ten with a scoring average of 14.0 points per game and leads the team with a .473 field goal percentage.
TAKING A HIT
Northwestern endured yet another season-ending injury when Jared Swopshire hurt his right knee at Iowa on Feb. 9 and then went arthroscopic surgery on Feb. 12 that ended his campaign. Swopshire joins a growing list of Wildcats who have been lost for the season including Drew Crawford (shoulder), JerShon Cobb (violations of team policy), Sanjay Lumpkin (wrist) and Chier Ajou (knee). Alex Olah also missed Thursday game at Ohio State due to an upper body injury suffered against Iowa.
DOING IT ON DEFENSE
Northwestern has taken a step forward defensively so far this season. The Wildcats are limiting their opponents to an average of 62.3 points per game after allowing 68.2 points per contest a year ago. NU is also holding its foes to a .417 field goal percentage. The 'Cats have held 10 of their opponents to below 40 percent shooting in a game. During the 2011-12 season, Northwestern's opponents shot 45.2 percent from the field. Three times this year (Texas Southern, Fairleigh Dickinson, TCU), the Wildcats have limited the opposition to 14 first-half points, while holding three others (Brown, Minnesota, Penn State) also under 20 points in the opening stanza. The 48 points scored by Minnesota on Jan. 23 were the Gophers' lowest total of the season at the time by 18 points and were the fewest allowed by NU in a Big Ten game since Illinois had 48 on Feb. 18, 2007.
DISHING IT OUT
Sophomore Dave Sobolewski has been in a giving mood so far this season. His average of 4.0 assists per game ranks fifth in the Big Ten. The point guard handed out a career-best nine assists in Northwestern's season-opening win over Texas Southern Nov. 13 and then followed it up with eight helpers against Mississippi Valley State Nov. 15. A year ago, Sobolewski led the Big Ten and paced all nation's freshmen with a 2.63 assist-to-turnover ratio.
THE BIGS CAN DISH IT TOO
It's not only the guards in the Northwestern lineup who can set up their teammates. Mike Turner's eight assists at Ohio State Feb. 14 are tied for the fifth most in the nation this season by any player 6'8" or taller. Also, Alex Olah leads all players in the nation 7'0" or taller with an average of 2.0 assists per game.
Northwestern is well known for playing "team" offense and that's reflected in the statistics. The Wildcats ranked fourth in the nation with a 1.53 assist-to-turnover ratio last season and they're 11th in the nation so far this year with a 1.40 ratio (389 assists, 278 turnovers). NU ranked second nationally to only Wisconsin with a 1.70 mark in 2010-11. Northwestern ranks first in the country with a .703 assist percentage.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
NU is committing an average of just 10.7 turnovers per game, ranking ninth in the nation. Though the end result didn't go the way they would have liked, the Wildcats did a great job of taking care of the basketball against Maryland Nov. 27. Northwestern committed just four turnovers in the entire contest, the fewest since it committed three in an overtime game at Illinois on Dec. 30, 2009.
Northwestern led the Big Ten and ranked fifth nationally in 2011-12 with an average of 9.0 3-point makes per game. The Wildcats are averaging 7.7 makes this season and are 9-2 when they make at least eight shots from behind the arch.
Northwestern returns to action at 5 p.m. Sunday as it travels to Purdue. The Wildcats return home Feb. 28 when they host Ohio State.
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