Preview: Duke (6-0) v. Wisconsin (5-0)

Previewing the Blue Devils and Badgers who will tip off in the annual ACC/Big 10 Challenge on Tuesday night. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN beginning at 9:00 PM EST.


Duke (6-0) vs Wisconsin (5-0)
Durham, NC - Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: ESPN / Tip: 9:00 PM EST

Program Vitals
Conference: Big 10 Conference
Nickname: Badgers
Colors: Red/White
Head Coach: Bo Ryan  (6th year)
Career Record at Wisconsin: 142-55 (525-158 Overall)

Projected Starters:
 3 Trevon Hughes (6-1, 190, So.) – 19.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.2 apg
22 Michael Flowers  (6-2, 185, Sr.) – 9.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
32 Brian Butch (6-11, 245, Sr.) – 14.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg
 1 Marcus Landry (6-7, 230, Jr.) – 9.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg
45 Joe Krabbenhoft (6-7, 217, Jr.) – 7.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg

Key Reserves:
12 Jason Bohannon (6-2, 195, So.) – 6.4 ppg
30 Jon Leuer  (6-10, 215, Fr.) – 4.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
31 Greg Stiemsma (6-11, 260, Sr.) – 4.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg
52 Keaton Nankivil (6-9, 245, Fr.) - 1.4 rpg, 1.8 rpg

Storylines:

How They Got Here:
The Blue Devils enter Tuesday night's game with the Badgers riding a six game win streak to start the season. After returning home from three impressive victories in Maui, Duke needed to shake off some holiday rust against Eastern Kentucky on Sunday afternoon before beating the Colonels by 35.

Wisconsin enters Tuesday's game with the Blue Devils on a similar streak, though having failed to play the same level of competition. The Badgers have reeled off five consecutive victories (all at home) over IPFW, Savannah State, Florida A&M, Colorado, and Georgia by an average of 33.6 points per game. Only Georgia was able to keep the game within 19 points, losing 68-49 on Saturday afternoon. In that game the Bulldogs held a nine point halftime lead before collapsing in the second half.

Series History:
Tuesday's game will mark the first time the Blue Devils have faced Wisconsin. Duke, however, boasts an all-time record of 58-23 against teams from the Big 10 - including a 79-66 victory over Illinois in Maui. Meanwhile the Badgers are 14-10 all time against teams from the ACC. The Blue Devils, who have never lost in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge will look to continue that streak against Wisconsin, which has never won on the road in the annual event - losing all four times, and posting just a 3-5 record in the event's eight year run.

Badgers Are Big:
Wisconsin will have a definite and very real size advantage over the Blue Devils. While Duke boasts just one player over 6'8 on the roster (7'1 reserve center Brian Zoubek), the Badgers have four players in the regular rotation standing taller than 6'9 including starting center Brian Butch, who has recorded double-doubles in two of the team's five games. The Badger frontcourt is rounded out with a pair of 6'7 forwards. Off the bench Coach Ryan will bring in players standing 6'11, 6'10, and 6'9. In the first five games that size advantage has led to a tremendous advantage in the rebounding department to the tune of a +16.6 rebounding margin. While opponents have managed just 104 total rebounds, the Badgers have logged 79 offensive rebounds alone which has allowed an 87-19 lead on second chance points.

Slow Starts Have Plagued Wisconsin Early:
Falling behind big to Georgia wasn't the only instance of a bad opening half for Coach Ryan's team. Against IPFW the Badgers fell behind by 11 before rally to take control and cruise to an easy 83-55 victory.

An Unexpected Backcourt Spark:
Coming into the season the preseason analysis focused on the painted area. However, the Badgers have received a huge lift in the backcourt thanks to sophomore guard Trevon Hughes. The former four star in-state point guard prospect scored just 42 points in 31 appearances a season ago, but has come into his own as a sophomore - averaging a team high 19.4 points per game through five contests. Not only has his scoring average shot up, Hughes has also been consistent with his scoring - netting at least 15 points in each game this season along with averaging 3.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds per night. Hughes is is averaging 12.8 shot attempts per game while converting 48% from the field and 42% from the perimeter.

Hughes' fellow backcourt starter, senior Michael Flowers, used his experience to spark the 45-17 second half for Wisconsin against Georgia, leading the team with his first career double-doube of 16 points and 10 rebounds (11 points and 9 rebounds after halftime).

High Scoring Game Not Typical Ryan Basketball:
While the Badgers have put up 79.2 points per game so far this season, a fast paced and high scoring isn't what usually comes to mind when thinking about Wisconsin basketball. In fact the 88 points scored against Florida A&M (88-40) was the program's highest output since scoring 98 against Garner Webb in December of 2006. A game in the low to mid 70s is where the Badgers prefer to play, and when they are able to control tempo in that manner they are nearly unbeatable. In Coach Ryan's tenure Wisconsin is a staggering 95-5 when scoring 70 points or more. Perhaps the reason for the increased scoring has been the number of assists being made. After averaging less than 14 assists per game a season ago, the Badgers are now handing out just shy of 18 per game.

Valuing the Basketball:
With a more controlled style of play, the Badgers are one of the best at protecting the basketball and extracting as much value as possible from each possession. Currently Wisconsin is second in the Big 10 with a +7.4 turnover margin - outscoring opponents 109-45 off turnovers. The team is forcing 19.4 turnovers per game, while committing just 12.0.

Coach K continues assault on wins list
Duke's victory over Eastern Kentucky was Krzyzewski's 781st, good enough for eighth on the all-time list. Coach K has 781 wins overall and 708 as the head coach of Duke.

Notable Numbers:
Duke has won 54 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents - the nation's best active streak. Duke has posted a record of 184-3 (.984) against non-conference foes in their last 187 games in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Under Coach K the Blue Devils are 87-10 in the month of November including 38-2 since the 2000-2001 season. Since 1997-1998 the Blue Devils are 118-4 against unranked opponents at home.

Prediction:

Duke 76
Wisconsin 69


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