Date/Time - Wednesday, November 14, 6 p.m. Central
Arena – O'Connell Center (17,249)
Television - ESPN2 (Mike Jones and Jimmy Dykes)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Series tied 1-1 (Florida leads 1-0 on in Gainesville)
Last Meeting – Florida won, 71-6, on December 21, 1968 in Gainesville
Wisconsin Probable Starters
1 Ben Brust (6-1 Junior Guard, 14.0 ppg)
3 George Marshall (5-11 Freshman Guard, 5.0 ppg)
5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 9.0 ppg)
40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Senior Forward, 19.0 ppg)
44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 6.0 ppg)
Off the Bench
12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 4.0 ppg)
15 Sam Dekker (6-7 Freshman Forward, 8.0 ppg)
31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Senior Forward, 10.0 ppg)
32 Zak Showalter (6-2 Freshman Guard, 5.0 ppg)
34 Zach Bohannon (6-8 Junior Forward, 5.0 ppg)
Florida Probable Starters
1 Kenny Boynton (6-2 Senior Guard, 22.0 ppg)
3 Mike Rosario (6-3 Senior Guard, 14.0 ppg)
4 Patric Young (6-9 Junior Center, 12.0 ppg)
15 Will Yeguete (6-7 Junior Forward, 3.0 ppg)
33 Erik Murphy (6-10 Senior Forward, 15.0 ppg)
Off the Bench
11 Braxton Ogbueze (6-0 Freshman Guard, 7.0 ppg)
20 Michael Frazier (6-4 Freshman Guard, 3.0 ppg)
25 DeVon Walker (6-6 Freshman Forward, 5.0 ppg)
Last Time Out
Officially, the University of Wisconsin only played one exhibition before opening its 2012-13 season Sunday. Unofficially, they played two. No.23 Wisconsin used a strong all-around effort on both ends of the court to cruise past Southeastern Louisiana, 87-47, at the Kohl Center.
Wisconsin (1-0) was faster to the ball than the Lions, had a bigger size advantage in the paint and were more aggressive on both ends of the floor, which shouldn't have been a surprise against the Southland Conference opponent. Wisconsin frontcourt advantage was evident, as the Badgers scored 40 of its 87 points in the paint and held a 49-22 rebounding edge.
"It's not like last year where we told the guys don't go to the glass," UW coach Bo Ryan said. "You take advantage of opportunities, and there were opportunities tonight."
The Badgers starting lineup combined for 53 points, shooting 32 of 61 from the field and hitting eight of 21 three-pointers. Wisconsin also controlled the offensive boards, hauling in 19 offensive rebounds and blocked seven Lions shots.
"It wasn't so much an initial offensive rebound at times tonight," Ryan said. "I think 10 of them were somebody got a hand on them first, not controlled, and then we got control. We're going to play teams that are bigger."
Wisconsin was efficient from three point range from The Opening tip. Redshirt freshman George Marshall got the scoring started by knocking down a three-pointer from the top of the key for his first collegiate points. Freshmen Sam Dekker and Zack Bohannan each scored their first points as a Badger on three-point field goals, as five different Badgers hit from the perimeter. That hot shooting effort helped start a 19-0 run for the Badgers.
Junior Ben Brust started and played well replacing fellow junior Josh Gasser, who appeared on the bench in a gray sweatshirt and crutches less than a week after successful ACL surgery. Brust had a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Senior Jared Berggren added 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and shot two for two from three-point range.
Wednesday's contest will mark the third-ever meeting between UW and Florida, and the first since playing a home-and-home series in 1967 and 1968, with each team winning on its home floor.
The Badgers are 22-15 all-time vs. members of the SEC, including a 60-57 win over Vanderbilt in the 2012 NCAA Tournament Round of 32.
Wisconsin freshman Sam Dekker teamed up with Florida head coach Billy Donovan to help Team USA win the gold medal at the U18 FIBA Championships this summer in Brazil.
Florida is 7-8 against the Big Ten under Billy Donovan with 10 of those 15 games coming against Ohio State and Michigan State and five Big Ten meetings coming in the NCAA Tournament. Florida last victory over a Big Ten team was a 77-74 victory over Michigan State.
Since Bo Ryan was hired in 2001, Wisconsin has been the Big Ten's best road team, owning the most true road wins (62) and best road win percentage (.508) in the conference.
Under Bo Ryan, the Badgers have played seven non-conference road games against teams ranked in the AP Top-25, owning a 2-5 record in those games. UW's wins were at No. 17 Marquette (12/9/07) and at No. 7 Texas (12/29/07).
Ryan's teams have won at least 20 games in 9 of his 11 seasons at UW. Illinois (9) is the only other Big Ten team with nine 20-win seasons since 2001-02. Prior to Ryan's arrival, the Badgers had just four 20-win seasons in 103 years of basketball.
UW has won at least 20 games in each of the last six seasons, the second-longest active streak in the Big Ten behind Ohio State's seven consecutive.
The Gators return three starters from last season, including leading scorer Kenny Boynton, who averaged 15.9 points per game in 2011-12.
Florida set a shot-clock era school record for fewest points in a half, holding ASU to nine points in the first half. The 35 total points was also the fewest by a UF opponent in a season opener during the shot-clock era and the fewest by any Florida foe since Southern managed 27 points on Nov. 28, 2006.
Like Wisconsin, Florida once again boasts one of the most challenging non-conference schedules in the nation. The Gators play three true road games outside of the SEC (Florida State, Arizona and Yale), one of three preseason top-25 teams to play at least three (North Carolina, UNLV). Eleven preseason top-25 teams will play one or fewer.
This will be a game where Wisconsin could possibly really miss Josh Gasser.
It's one thing to go on the road against a really good team. The Gators, despite seeing guard Bradley Beal be the No.3 overall pick in June's NBA draft, have several key players back from last year's Elite Eight last season.
It's a whole other thing to go on the road against a team that shoots the ball really well from the perimeter and has a dominant press break. Florida led the nation with 9.6 made 3-pointers per game last season and love extending full-court pressure.
Florida forced teams into more than 10 turnovers in 29 of 37 games last season and an average of 12.5 per game. In its opener, the Gators forced 19 turnovers without one of their best on-ball defenders, as point guard Scottie Wilbekin has been suspended indefinitely.
Brust will likely get the majority of the work at the point guard. In the opener, Brust registered his first career double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3-to-1, but Wisconsin will need assistance from the two younger guards.
Marshall got his first college start Sunday against Southeastern Louisiana and finished with five points, two assists and two turnovers in 28 minutes. Jackson, who averaged 5.4 minutes per game last season, added four points, one assist and no turnovers in 15 minutes.
Wisconsin limited opponents to only a 29.4 percentage from 3-point range last year, but that was with Gasser chasing the opposition's best shooter.
All three players have been working on breaking pressure and taking good angles to perimeter shooters for weeks in practice, so tonight will be UW's first opportunity to show what they've learned.
The Gators under coach Billy Donovan have won 77 of their last 92 games at home over the last five seasons. Wisconsin has gone into hostile environments before against long odds and won games based on its defense and perimeter shooting (see Texas-Wisconsin in 2007). I certainly give Wisconsin a fighting chance in this one, but I think Florida's experience, pressure and home advantage will lead to a slight seven-point victory.
Worgull's Record: 1-0 (27-9 in 2011-12)
Points off Prediction: 0 (327 (9.08 per game) last season)