Preview: Green Bay vs. Wisconsin

Coming off their big victory at Marquette Saturday, Wisconsin looks to go into final exams by passing its final in-state test, looking to exact an amount of revenge against Green Bay tonight at the Kohl Center.

Green Bay (4-6, 1-1 Horizon) at Wisconsin (8-2, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Monday, December 13, at 7 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)

Television - Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson and Jim Jackson)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – UW Leads 15-1 (13-0 in Madison)

Last Meeting - Green Bay won, 88-84 in overtime, on Dec. 9, 2009 in Green Bay

Wisconsin Probable Starters

11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 15.6 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 7.5 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 19.7 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Sophomore Forward, 4.8 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Senior Forward, 7.2 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Wquinton Smith (Senior Guard, 0.8 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (Sophomore Forward, 4.6 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 3.1 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Junior Guard, 2.4 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 4.5 ppg)

Green Bay Probable Starters

0 Bryquis Perine (Senior Guard, 12.8 ppg)

4 Steve Baker (Junior Guard, 8.7 ppg)

20 Rahmon Fletcher (Senior Guard, 17.0 ppg)

21 Alec Brown (Freshman Center, 6.8 ppg)

22 Daniel Turner (Freshman Forward, 6.1 ppg)

Off the Bench

11 Jarvis Williams (Junior Forward, 4.3 ppg)

12 Troy Snyder (Sophomore Forward, 6.0 ppg)

31 Seth Evans (Sophomore Guard, 4.0 ppg)

44 Greg Lesage (Senior Forward, 2.8 ppg)

Last Time Out

The Badgers played 7 minutes, 3 seconds without their leading scorer and more than weathered the storm, building their second-half lead and getting a game high 21 points from Jordan Taylor to upend Marquette, 69-64, in front of 19,074 at a raucous Bradley Center.

Leuer was commanding tempo for Wisconsin (8-2), leading the team with 13 points when he picked up a shooting foul, his third, with 17:44 remaining in the second half and UW up 36-32.

That opportunity awoke senior Keaton Nankivil, who scored the next six points on a jumper, a tip-in off his offensive rebound and a drive with the shot clock running out to help push the lead to 42-35.

"To keep making progress like that and to stretch the lead out is huge," said Nankivil, who also grabbed three of his five rebounds during the stretch. "When we have a player like Jon, who is so important to our team offensively and defensively, with the fouls, for us to be able to make some progress is huge for us."

The Badgers got more production when the Golden Eagles (7-3) went cold, missing their first four shots after Leuer hit the bench. Jordan Taylor, Jared Berggren (8 points) and Rob Wilson (3) all scored to help the Badgers turn a four-point lead into a seven-point lead with Leuer returned with 10:41 remaining. With fresh legs, Leuer slammed home an assist from Mike Bruesewitz, keying a 7-2 run that gave the Badgers a 12-point advantage, the largest of the game.

Wisconsin held an 11-10 rebound advantage at halftime and only grabbed three offensive boards. It was a stark change in the second half, as the Badgers grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in the second half that turned into 16 second-chance points.

Despite holding UW to 39.4 percent shooting in the second half, Marquette did not help itself, twice missing the front of end of bonus free throws and getting little production from second-leading scorer Darius Johnson-Odom, who shot 1-for-9 from the court and finished with 13 points.

But just like some of Wisconsin's other road games, the Badgers found a way to make it interesting, seeing a 10-point lead cut to 64-62 after a Butler three with 20.1 seconds left.

This time, there was no late-game disappointment. Taylor made 4 of 5 free throws down the stretch and Gasser knocked a bounce pass off Buycks out of bounds with 1.8 seconds left and UW up three. Two Taylor free throws was the final straw.

Last Meeting

Bryquis Perine scored 22 points, and Troy Cotton hit a key 3-pointer to help Wisconsin-Green Bay beat No.23 Wisconsin 88-84 in overtime.

It was a surprising setback for the Badgers, who had just jumped into the rankings with a victory over the Blue Devils the week before and hadn't lost in 15 previous meetings with the in-state rival Phoenix.

"It's a basketball game," said Badgers coach Bo Ryan, whose teams turned it over 18 times. "You play it, try to learn from it."

Rahmon Fletcher added 18 points for the Phoenix (9-2), who held off second-half surges by the Badgers and took control in overtime. But Fletcher hurt his knee near the end of regulation and wasn't able to play the rest of the way.

Trevon Hughes scored a career-high 27 points for the Badgers (6-2) but fouled out in overtime.

Wisconsin-Green Bay students swarmed in the middle of the court to celebrate -- but left their seats a little too early, as referees were putting a second back on the clock. After returning to their seats in surprisingly orderly fashion, students retook the court to celebrate after the final horn.

Series Notes:

Wisconsin wraps up a three-game in-state round-robin when it hosts Green Bay on Monday, just two days after winning at Marquette. In wins over the Golden Eagles and Milwaukee, the Badgers have a chance to sweep the Wisconsin trio for the first time since 2006-07 and the sixth time in the Bo Ryan era.

Wisconsin and Green Bay have played every year since 1999 and Monday's contest with mark the 17th meeting all-time.

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan is 8-1 against Green Bay as the head coach of the Badgers and 11-3 overall (including a 3-3 mark while serving as the head coach at Milwaukee). Ryan's teams are 7-0 against the Phoenix at the Kohl Center, winning by an average of 16.3 points per game.

UW is 79-23 all-time vs. teams in the Horizon League, having defeated Milwaukee, 61-40, last week.

Green Bay Notes:

Both teams will have quick turnarounds after playing road games Saturday, but the Phoenix will be looking to bounce back after a 78-64 loss at Buffalo. Senior Rahmon Fletcher, who leads the team in scoring at 17 points per game, led four Phoenix players in double figures in that contest.

Green Bay boasts the Horizon League's top offensive rebounding team with an average of 15.6 offensive rebounds per game. The Phoenix has grabbed at least 10 offensive boards in nine of its 10 contests.

Baker has developed into a consistent scoring option for the Phoenix in recent games. The 6-foot-2 guard has reached double figures in four of the team's last five games, including 12 at Buffalo and a career-high 15 points last Wednesday at Duquesne. Baker is averaging 11.2 points and shooting 60 percent (21-35) from the field during the five-game stretch.

Jarvis Williams, Green Bay's starting power forward at the beginning of the season, returned to action at Buffalo after missing seven games due to injury. Williams, a 6-foot-6 forward, struggled from the field but scored two points, grabbed two rebounds and tallied two steals in his 19 minutes.

Wisconsin Notes:

Wisconsin is second in the Big Ten with a +8.0 rebounding margin. The Badgers have out-rebounded their opponent in nine of 10 games. Under Bo Ryan, Wisconsin is 165-24 (.873) in games when it pulls in more boards than its foes.

The Badgers have also been successful on the offensive glass, where Wisconsin is fifth in the Big Ten averaging 13.1 per game. In the game at Marquette, the Badgers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, including 12 in the second half and tallied 21 points off second-chance opportunities.

All-America candidate Jon Leuer is averaging 19.7 points per game, which ranks third in the Big Ten. The senior forward has led UW in scoring in eight of 10 games this season. Leuer's 19.7 average would be the highest in UW history since Alando Tucker averaged 19.9 points per game in the 2006-07 season.

Taylor owns seven career 20-point games (four this year), including 21 points vs. NC State and at Marquette. Wisconsin is 7-0 in games where Taylor hits the 20-point mark.


Finally, Wisconsin basketball showed me how special they can be. The Badgers had been teetering on the edge of being a conference contender in my eyes, but their two road losses made me leery of what it could accomplish away from the Kohl Center. Saturday's dominant effort (although the final score didn't indicate what those that watched the game saw) showed that the Badgers almost certainly will win at least 20 games, finish in the top half of the Big Ten Conference and make the NCAA Tournament.

Here's another thing that impressed me – the words of Keaton Nankivil. Although the Badgers just registered their biggest win of the season, doing in on the road nonetheless, Nankivil said there was no look of relief on the faces of his teammates.

"The feeling our guys have is that it's time to get the ball rolling, we're coming up on the Big Ten," Nankivil said. "So any feeling of relief could lead to a possible lull and we're not trying to do that. We're using this as a springboard to keep it going."

A big springboard would be getting this win before finals week, a game in which Wisconsin is a 20-point favorite and are playing a team that knocked them off for the first time in program history. As you undoubtedly read above, there are some holdovers from that GB team that registered its landmark victory. Of course, UW had some holdovers, too, namely Jon Leuer, who is averaging 15.5 points in two career games against the Phoenix.

What's really surprise in his two games against Green Bay, Jordan Taylor is averaging only 1.5 points. Don't expect that number to stay that way for long. Both teams are coming off quick turnarounds, so fatigue shouldn't be a factor. I see UW getting back at Green Bay for last year and cap off a very satisfying two-week stretch with a 23-point victory.

Worgull's Record: 9-1

Points off Prediction: 78 (7.8 per game)

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