Date/Time - Wednesday, December 8, at 7:30 p.m. Central
Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)
Television - Big Ten Network (Dave Revsine & Tim Doyle)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – UW Leads 26-1 (17-1 in Madison)
Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 68-58, on Dec. 23, 2009 in Madison
Wisconsin Probable Starters
11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 15.1 ppg)
21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 7.9 ppg)
30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 20.0 ppg)
31 Mike Bruesewitz (Freshman Forward, 5.8 ppg)
52 Keaton Nankivil (Senior Forward, 6.3 ppg)
Off the Bench
5 Ryan Evans (Sophomore Forward, 5.1 ppg)
24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 3.5 ppg)
33 Rob Wilson (Junior Guard, 2.7 ppg)
40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 4.7 ppg)
Milwaukee Probable Starters
1 Ja'Rob McCallum (Sophomore Guard, 7.8 ppg)
2 Kaylon Williams (Junior Guard, 7.1 ppg)
11 Tone Boyle (Senior Guard, 12.4 ppg)
21 Tony Meier (Junior Forward, 9.1 ppg)
23 Anthony Hill (Senior Forward, 14.9 ppg)
Off the Bench
3 Kyle Klem (Freshman Forward, 3.7 ppg)
4 Ryan Allen (Junior Guard, 6.1 ppg)
32 Lonnie Boga (Sophomore Guard, 5.8 ppg)
Last Time Out
Jon Leuer scored 20 of his career-high 29 points in the first half and Jordan Taylor (20 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) finished just one assist short of what would have been the program's first triple-double.
But South Dakota absorbed those big performances and stayed within striking distance of the Badgers for most of the game before falling off the pace late as UW won 76-61.
While some fans might have been surprised the Coyotes (3-5) kept things as close as they did, UW head coach Bo Ryan wasn't at all caught off guard. Just two weeks ago, South Dakota lost by 13 to Marquette, so this wasn't uncharted territory for the Coyotes.
"If you watched South Dakota on film, you could've scripted this game yourself," said Ryan, as Wisconsin (6-2) shot 45.3 percent for the game. "This is how they play. They're good. They shoot it well. They have streaks."
Taylor made sure the script played out the way Ryan wanted by scoring nine of Wisconsin's final 14 points to close out the game. The UW point guard got to the free throw line four times by asserting himself with dribble penetration and also dropped a nice pass off to Leuer for a two-handed dunk that put the exclamation point on the win.
A couple times in the first half, it looked like the Badgers would have no problem with the Coyotes. Leuer was on fire early, making three three-pointers as UW jumped out to a 13-2 run after four minutes.
But South Dakota had the lead down to five just four minutes later thanks to UW turnovers on three of four possessions.
A 12-2 run midway through the first half seemed to put UW in control, up 30-15 with 8:29 left in the first half. But South Dakota didn't let the game get away and responded with a 12-3 run of its own to end the first half down just 42-37.
UW helped keep the Coyotes in the game in the first half by being careless with the ball. The Badgers turned the ball over seven times in the first half, which led to 13 points in transition for South Dakota.
In UW's final in-state rivalry of the season, Leuer and Taylor helped UW shake off a week of competitive rust to grit its way to a 68-58 victory Wednesday over Milwaukee.
Leuer poured in 25 points with multiple baseline jumpers, a shot that carried Wisconsin (9-2) through a tight first half (scoring 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting) and helped the Badgers weather the storm thereafter, registering four of UW's eight second-half field goals.
"I am just trying to be aggressive and make plays when they are there," Leuer said. "When they aren't, you can't force it because we have guys on this team that can hurt'em. We are unselfish, we move the ball and right now I am trying to be assertive."
After showcasing his talents in relief last season, playing 14-plus minutes in 10 of UW's final 16 games, Taylor has been the first man off the bench for Ryan and the sophomore hasn't digressed.
Entering the game leading the Big Ten and third in the nation with a 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, Taylor scored 14 points - scoring half of his points from the free throw line - while grabbing six rebounds and 3-to-1 in assists. Taylor, combined with Hughes, helped UW go on a 9-1 run late in the first half to push the lead to 12, and the Badgers never trailed by less than 10 the rest of the way.
Wisconsin and Milwaukee have played every season since the 1992-93 campaign, which coincidentally was the only time the Panthers claimed victory — a 77-72 win in Madison on Dec. 12, 1992.
UW is 78-23 all-time vs. teams in the Horizon League. The Badgers will face another Horizon League team next week when Green Bay comes to the Kohl Center on Dec. 13. The Badgers have at least a .500 record against all nine teams in the league.
Bo Ryan has a long history with Panthers head coach Rob Jeter. Jeter played for Ryan at UW-Platteville from 1987-91, captaining the 1991 national championship team. Jeter also served an assistant under Ryan for 10 years at UW-Platteville, Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Most recently, Ryan and Jeter teamed up to coach Team USA to a bronze medal at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia in the summer of 2009.
In the last seven meetings between the two schools at the Kohl Center, the Badgers have won by an average of 16.3 points.
Thursday's win over the Penguins saw Anthony Hill post a career night of 30 points and 12 rebounds. He was the 11th player in NCAA Division I play this season to collect at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, and became the first Panther to do so since 1994.
Milwaukee is expanding its rebounding edge on its opponents, with the Panthers now holding a 4.2-board-per-game edge. UWM has also reached double figures in offensive rebounds eight times, including 18 offensive boards Saturday night in a loss to Cleveland State.
UWM got a head start on its preparations for the 2010-11 season thanks to a 10-day trip to Italy in mid-August. The team won four games on the trip will visiting Rome, Florence, Venice and Lake Como. On the court, the Panthers won all four games, averaging nearly 90 points per contest. UWM also took advantage of 10 practice days prior to the trip, using three in July and the remaining seven immediately prior to the journey.
At home this year, UW is scoring an average of 86.8 points per game. The Badgers are shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from 3-point range. In four home games, Wisconsin has trailed for a total of four minutes and 32 seconds and has not been behind in a game after the 16:00 mark of the first half.
As a team, Wisconsin is shooting a Big Ten-best 79.4 percent from the free throw line this season. That mark also ranks fourth in the nation. Wisconsin's single-season record for team free throw shooting percentage is .758, established in 1983-84.
Wisconsin ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation allowing just 54.1 points per game. The Badgers are limiting foes to 37.7 percent shooting, which ranks second in the conference. The Badgers have allowed just two teams to reach 60 points in a game this season (UNLV - 68 and South Dakota - 61). UW is 143-14 (.911) under Ryan when keeping teams below the 60-point mark.
The Badgers have been dominating the paint this season, owning a 208-148 scoring advantage in the lane. That differential accounts for an advantage of 7.5 points per game.
With the win over NC State, Wisconsin has now won 16 consecutive games following a loss. Last season, UW was the only Big Ten team that did not lose consecutive games. The last time the Badgers lost back-to-back games was in January of 2009.
When discussing what basketball feature we should editorialize in our next Badger Nation magazine, this stat screamed out to us. Through eight games, Wisconsin has already forced its opponents into 14 scoreless droughts of 4:00 or longer - an average of 1.8 droughts per game.
In the win over NC State, the Badgers held the Wolfpack scoreless for a span of 10:12. NC State didn't score for the final 6:36 of the first half and the first 3:36 of the second half. No wonder Wisconsin ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation allowing just 54.1 points per game.
Over the last five games, the Badgers have posted an impressive 2.50 assist-to-turnover ratio (75 assists and just 30 turnovers) as a team, a main reason that they are staying competitive in games. A lot of fans are giving grief for Wisconsin struggling with South Dakota, no realizing that team has a real chance to win the Great West and make the NCAA Tournament with the amount of streaky shooters they have in its lineup.
Milwaukee won't make the tournament, not with that powerhouse Butler still looking strong, but the Panthers always take these in-state games seriously. I mean, they only lost by three to Marquette less than two weeks ago and you know Rob Jeter wants to beat his former boss. Expect another close in-state game but UW's size and the hot shooting on Leuer should lead to a 16-point victory.
Worgull's Record: 8-0
Points off Prediction: 67 (8.4 per game)