Wisconsin is going to be Wisconsin, no matter who is on the court.

So, to Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, it’s not a surprise what the Badgers have done this season.

The Hawkeyes (11-3, 1-2 Big Ten) play on the road against No. 23 Wisconsin (11-2, 2-1) on Thursday night, and while the personnel might have changed, McCaffery knows the Badgers are always a challenge.

“I expected them to be good,” McCaffery said.

“They lost a lot of guys from last year,” guard Connor McCaffery said. “But it’s still a plug-and-play system in the sense that everybody who comes in are going to do their part.”

What the game will be is a showcase for two of the top sophomores in the nation in Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis and Iowa forward Keegan Murray, a show that started on Monday night.

Davis had a career-high 37 points in the 74-69 win at No. 3 Purdue. A couple of hours later, Murray was putting the final touches on a career-high 35-point night in an 80-75 win over Maryland.

Murray leads the nation in scoring at 24.5 points per game, while Davis is third at 22.3 points.

“They were both really good players last year,” Fran McCaffery said. “Some guys graduated, so you kind of knew their roles were going to expand. But I don’t think anybody’s surprised. You could see both of those guys coming.”

“Obviously he’s a great player,” Murray said. “He took the time and just got better as a player. I’m looking forward to the matchup tomorrow.”

Davis will be a difficult defensive matchup, McCaffery said.

“He plays with tremendous confidence,” he said. “He plays kind of at his pace, and he can score in a variety of ways. But he’s also adept at finding his teammates.

“If you overplay him or continually double him, he’ll find people. He handles it, he drives it, he can post up, he shoots threes. Like with Keegan, he’s playing with supreme confidence.”

The Hawkeyes are playing with their own confidence right now. They’re on a four-game winning streak that coincides with Murray getting healthy.

Murray was battling a sprained ankle during Iowa’s three-game losing streak in early December, but since the nine-day break for finals Murray is averaging 29.8 points and 8.8 rebounds.

The Hawkeyes are averaging 87.4 points per game, second-most among Division I teams, while the Badgers average 70.6. Neither team turns the ball over much — Wisconsin is second nationally in turnovers at 8.2 per game, while is third at 8.7.

It will be all about tempo, which it always is when these two teams play.

“We want to play fast, and they want to slow it down,” Connor McCaffery said. “The big thing with both of our teams is we don’t turn the ball over.”

“Obviously we want to play our game, a fast tempo,” Murray said. “It will be obviously big for us to establish the transition game. And getting stops will be huge for us — get out in transition, get easy buckets that way.”

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Preview: Wisconsin Up Next for Iowa – CalBearsMaven
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