Purple Reign Pregame Intel Report

<b>Northwestern</b> heads into Madison tonight for a try at getting their first Big 10 win in a place that hasn't been very friendly to the Wildcats. <p>Wisconsin has a lot going and figure this one to be tough, but winnable if the Cats do everything right...

Facing a Badger team riding a 3 game winning streak, a 10 game Big 10 home game streak, and averaging 73+ points a game, NU could have some tough sledding up in Madison tonight.
Gone is the old deliberate offense in Madison - the Wisconsin Badgers now run Bo Ryan's 3 guard, up-tempo offense that stresses driving to the basket and making free throws.
[Coach Ryan] stresses that we get to the basket," Alando Tucker, who is shooting 68.1 percent from the charity stripe, said [in the Badger Herald] "In order to beat teams, you have to get to the basket and force fouls. You can't just shoot all jumpers and think you're going to win a game. You can't just settle for missing once you get [to the line]."
Leading the charge is Wisconsin's Point Guard, Sophomore Devin Harris [UW Photo-right], and along with Freshman Boo Wade, is holding down the turnovers. Harris averages 1.6 turnovers a game, Wade is even better - he averages 1.4. All told, Wisconsin averages just 11.3 turnovers a game - the best in the Big 10.
Combine that with the 79.2% free throw shooting at home and you quickly figure out the Badger's system:
"It's just an opportunity where, especially down the stretch in a game, you can put points on the board without a guy in your face. It means we're getting the ball inside. We're not just settling for outside jumpers. - [Kirk Penney - Badger Herald]
Every Big 10 team seems to have a star freshman this year, and for the Badgers it's 6-5 Freshman Alando Tucker.
Alando Tucker is fun to coach because he is a decent player now, he is going to get even better, but he has improved at every phase of the game, more than anybody I have seen."

A great shooter, a great rebounder, a great this, a great that, which is good because the more a guy comes green out of high school and is eager to learn and has some ability, boy, are those fun guys to coach.


And while the Badgers start short, with 2 Forwards and 3 Guards, they can run in a 6-9 forward and a 6-11 Center to give them some height inside if they see the need.

Coach Ryan, What do you know about Northwestern?

Well, (Aaron) Jennings can shoot the three and he has the nice little hook. He has a really nice hook and not just the jump hook. He has a little sky hook working. So he can score inside and outside. I think any time you have someone who can do that, they always cause more problems.
The Coach
Bo Ryan is in his 2nd year as the Coach of the Badgers, and his coaching mantra seems to be preparation. [Badger Plus Photo by Joe Koshollek]
We prepare for every team like they are going to play their best game against you. I think that is the best way to do it. [Bo Ryan - UWBadgers.com]
And the NU Motion Offense?
You have to prepare. You have to get your players ready for certain things. We had to get them ready for certain things against Illinois, Ohio State and their (system) is a little different. We improved last year from the first time we played them to the second time, but that was last year
His first year in the Big 10 was quite a turn around for the Badgers, but not for this former head man at UW-Milwaukee and UW-Platteville.  He started this season with a career  402-116 [.776] record as a head coach.

He does have quite an act to follow since his 2001-02 Badger  finished with 19 wins and a share of the Big 10 title.
The Starters
Wisconsin has had the same starting lineup through all 5 games of their Big 10 season, and 4 of 5 have started all 17 games for the Badgers so far.
  • Forwards: 6-5 Freshman Alando Tucker [#42 - 30.6 mins/12.9 ppg/5.4 rebounds],  and 6-8 Sophomore Mike Wilkinson [#54 - 29.8/8.5/6.4]
  • Guards: 6-5 Senior Kirk Penney [#20 - 33.9/16.0/6.0], 6-2 Junior Freddie Owens [#24 - 29.2/11.9/2.3] and 6-3 Sophomore PG Devin Harris [#34 - 32.8/14.5/4.7]
The Big Gun(s)
Guard Kirk Penney is the Scoring Leader - with 16 points per game. He's also averaging 6 rebounds a game - 7 per game in the Big 10.

Forward Mike Wilkinson is the leader off the boards - his 6.4 average leads the team overall, and in Big 10 Play  he's averaging 6.6.

Point Guard Devin Harris is the closest thing to a 3 point wizard, he's 33 of 70 from the arc - .471 average. Penney is second with a 28-75/.373 average. In the 5 Big 10 Games, Penney is 10 for 27.
The Rest of the Team
Only 3 other Badgers have significant minutes off the bench since the Big 10 season began: 6-3 Freshman PG Maurice "Boo" Wade [#12 - 21 mins/3.4 ppg],  6-11 Junior Forward/Center Dave Mader<

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