first_imgA little less than halfway through the Big Ten season and one of the main goals the No. 5 Wisconsin men’s basketball team set for itself is starting to look very achievable.Wisconsin has not won a regular season Big Ten championship since 2008 and after this weekend’s slate of games in the Big Ten, combined with the Badgers’ 74-63 win over Iowa Saturday, Wisconsin now has a two-game advantage in the loss column over the five teams that currently sit at second place in the conference.Maryland, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue have 6-3 records in Big Ten play, one-and-a-half games back of first place Wisconsin who sits at 7-1 in conference.But don’t tell these numbers to anybody on the fifth-ranked Badgers, who are one upset-loss to Rutgers away from being undefeated in Big Ten play. There’s still plenty of the regular season left to play.“We’re just as far away from it as we are to it,” sophomore forward Nigel Hayes said of winning a conference championship.Through eight Big Ten games this season it would be very hard to argue that Wisconsin is not the best team in the conference. The Badgers are the only team currently ranked in the top 15 in the country from the Big Ten and their two losses this season, overall, are the fewest of any team in the Big Ten.So while the Badgers are certainly on the right track toward their first conference regular season conference championship in six years, there’s still plenty of work to be done.“We talked about how we’re kind of in the driver’s seat right now and that we control our own destiny,” senior forward Frank Kaminsky said. “We don’t want to drop any games and we want to win out from here and go into the [Big Ten] tournament as Big Ten champions.”The rankings as of Sunday show that the Badgers have just two ranked opponents left on their regular season schedule. No. 25 Indiana comes to the Kohl Center Tuesday before Wisconsin travels to Maryland Feb. 24 to take on the No. 16 Terrapins.In addition to Indiana and Maryland, the Badgers still have to travel to second place Ohio State as well as rival Minnesota and play Michigan State at home. So while Wisconsin sits at 19-2 and 7-1 in the Big Ten, it won’t mean much if a regular season Big Ten championship slips through its grasp.“We haven’t done anything yet,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “That’s our motto. We haven’t done anything yet.”Iowa Game Notes— Wisconsin’s 19-2 start to the season is the program’s third-best start while its 7-1 Big Ten record marks just the third time in program history that Wisconsin has won seven of its first eight conference games. — The Badgers have now won four straight games over the Hawkeyes, winning both matchups this season and last season. Overall, Bo Ryan is 19-7 against Iowa in his tenure at Wisconsin. — With four players scoring in double figures (Sam Dekker, Josh Gasser, Hayes, Kaminsky), the Badgers have now had at least four players score in double figures in a game 10 times this season. — Wisconsin turned the ball over just six times Saturday and with the one turnover the Badgers committed against the Hawkeyes Jan. 20, they turned it over only seven times in two games against Iowa. Excluding the games against the Hawkeyes, Wisconsin has committed less than seven turnovers in a single game only four times this season.— With a game-high 24 points, Frank Kaminsky has now scored 20 points in four of his last five games and has eclipsed the 20-point mark seven times this season.— Sophomore guard Bronson Koenig had zero turnovers Saturday and has only three in 177 minutes as a starter for Wisconsin.last_img

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