Meet The Wisconsin Badgers

Previewing the Blue Devils and Badgers who will tip off tonight in Madison as part of the annual ACC-Big 10 Challenge.


Duke (6-0) vs Wisconsin (4-1)
Madison, Wis. - Kohl Center
TV: ESPN / Tip: 9:15 PM EST

Program Vitals
Conference:  Big 10
Nickname:  Badgers
Colors:  Red & White 
Head Coach:  Boy Ryan (9th season)
Career Record at Wisconsin: 197-74 

Projected Starters:
 3 Trevon Hughes (6-0, 195, Sr.) – 14.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg
12 Jason Bohannon (6-2, 198, Sr.) – 11.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg
30 Jon Leuer (6-10, 240, Jr.) – 13.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg
52 Keaton Nankivil (6-8, 240, Jr.) – 8.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg
24 Tim Jarmusz (6-6, 210, Jr.) - 4.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg

Key Reserves:
33 Rob Wilson (6-3, 200, So.) – 2.8 ppg
 5 Ryan Evans (6-6, 210, Fr.) – 3.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg
11 Jordan Taylor (6-1, 195, So.) – 6.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg
40 Jared Berggren (6-10, 240, Fr.) - 1.3 ppg

Story Lines For Wisconsin:

How They Got Here:
The Badgers enter Wednesday night's game fresh off a third place finish at the EA Sports Maui Invitational that included wins over Maryland and Arizona along with a 13 point loss to Gonzaga. Prior to heading towards the islands, the Badgers easily defeated IPFW and Oakland by an average 22.5 points per contest.

On the flip side the Blue Devils enter Wednesday's game fresh off a championship run in the NIT Season Tip-Off that included wins over Arizona State and top 15 opponent Connecticut. The Blue Devils claimed the tournament title for the fourth time in school history with senior Jon Scheyer grabbing Most Outstanding Player honors.

Series History:
This will be the second meeting between the two programs with the Blue Devils owning a 1-0 lead. That previous meeting came two seasons ago when the Badgers traveled to Cameron Indoor Stadium as part of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. In that game Duke ran by Wisconsin by an 82-58 margin. Trevon Hughes and Jon Leuer scored 12 points each in that game.

UW is 4-6 overall in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, tied for the third-best mark among Big Ten teams. UW is 3-1 in the state of Wisconsin during the Challenge and 2-1 at the Kohl Center. Duke is 10-0 in the Challenge.

Injury Report:
The Badgers enter the game healthy. Meanwhile the Blue Devils get a proverbial shot in the arm as freshman big forward Mason Plumlee will make his season debut after missing the first six games of the season with a broken wrist.

Stingy Defense For Wisconsin
Through five games Wisconsin has held its opponents to an average of 38.8 percent overall field goal shooting resulting in just 58.4 points per contest. It's a much quicker start than last season when the defense wasn't half bad, surrendering a 42.5 field goal percentage and 60.4 points per game five games in. In UW's two games at the Kohl Center this season, opponents are shooting just .304 from the field. Oakland's 27.3 shooting percentage on Nov. 18 was the lowest field-goal percentage for a UW opponent since Michigan shot 20.0 percent in a 2008 Big Ten Tournament game. In the Badgers' first game, IPFW made just 34.0 percent of its shots.

Size Abounds In Badger-land:
As has become tradition in Madison, the Badger roster has several blue collar big players who play a big part in coach Bo Ryan's offensive and defensive schemes. The game plan starts with controlling the glass and challenging shots. The Badgers are a perfect 4-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle. Wisconsin is averaging 3.8 (35.4 to 31.6) more rebounds per game than its opponents this season, including a 2.8 advantage on the offensive glass. Over- all, UW is 143-22 when out-rebounding its foes in the Bo Ryan era.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers can also block shots - having recorded 19 swats in the first two games including 11 against Oakland.

Opponents Out In the Kohl'd
Under head coach Bo Ryan the Badgers are a remarkable 124-10 (93 percent) at the Kohl center including 17-7 (.708) against teams ranked in the top 25. Over the last eight seasons, the Badgers have won 88 of 108 games at home by at least 10 points or more (82 percent). Wisconsin has trailed at halftime in only 25 of 131 home games under Ryan. UW came back to win 16 of those games.

Using the home court advantage is something the Badgers are used to over this period as well having made 986 more free throws than its opponents at home since 2001-02, a span of 132 games. That's an average of 7.5 points per game.

Watch Out For:
Guard Trevon Hughes and big man Jon Leuer. Both of whom will need big games if the Badgers are to pull the upset over the Blue Devils. Hughes seems to relish facing schools from the ACC. Over his last four contests vs. ACC foes (at Duke in 2007, at Virginia Tech 2008, vs. Florida State 2009 and vs. Maryland 2009) Hughes has averaged 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He is also hitting .412 percent (7-of-17) of his 3-point shots vs. ACC foes.

Leuer ranks second on the team in scoring with 13.8 points per game. He has posted double figures in four of Wisconsin's first five games, only failing to hit that mark vs. Arizona when foul trouble limited him to just 10 minutes of action. Leuer has posted back-to-back games in double figures twice this season, but only once in his career has he posted three straight games of 10 points or more (Jan. 31 to Feb. 8, 2009).

Fearless Predicition(s)
On paper Duke should be able to come out of this one with a victory. However, the intangibles may favor the hosts. Wisconsin is notoriously tough at home and the Badgers certainly remember getting blown out in Cameron two years ago. On the flip side Duke gets some help on the boards and offensively with the return of the younger Plumlee. Of course it's hard to figure how much of an impact he will have so quickly. If the Badgers come out too amped up - as was seen when Duke traveled to Purdue - the Blue Devils may be able to jump out early and take control of the game. It will be crucial to get All-American Kyle Singler back on track offensively as well. In the end, look for the Blue Devils to win a hard fought game that isn't decided until around the last official timeout.

Prediction:

Duke 74
Wisconsin 67


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