Preview: No.12 Wisconsin at Michigan

After taking care of business against Michigan in January, No.12 Wisconsin looks to figure out its road problems by taking on a Wolverines team that has won six of eight.

No.12 Wisconsin (20-6, 10-4 Big Ten) vs. Michigan (17-11, 7-8 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Wednesday, February 22, at 5:30 p.m. Central

Arena – Crisler Arena (13,751)

Television - Big Ten Network (Tom Hart and Tim Doyle)

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

Series – Michigan Leads 86-66 (UM leads 53-19 in Ann Arbor)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 66-50, on Jan.15, 2011 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 17.8 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 5.7 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 3.9 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 19.3 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Senior Forward, 9.8 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Wquinton Smith (Senior Guard, 0.4 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (Sophomore Forward, 3.2 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Sophomore Forward, 4.6 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Junior Guard, 1.9 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 2.5 ppg)

Michigan Probable Starters

0 Zach Novak (Junior Guard, 8.9 ppg)

1 Stuart Douglass (Junior Guard, 7.5 ppg)

4 Darius Morris (Sophomore Guard, 15.4 ppg)

10 Tim Hardaway Jr. (Freshman Guard, 13.2 ppg)

52 Jordan Morgan (Freshman Forward, 9.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

13 Matt Vogrich (Sophomore Guard, 3.3 ppg)

15 Jon Horford (Freshman Forward, 2.2 ppg)

23 Evan Smotrycz (Freshman Forward, 5.7 ppg)

Last Time Out

Seniors Keaton Nankivil and Jon Leuer each score 22 points, as four starters for No.10 Wisconsin reach double figures in a 76-66 victory over Penn State Sunday.

UW shot 8-of-15 from three-point range to move to 10-4 in the Big Ten and 20-6 overall. Against Purdue on the road Wednesday, the Badgers went 3-for-19 from three. Wisconsin is just 3-5 away from the Kohl Center this season.

"Sometimes with three seniors in that starting lineup they have been through all the different teams coming in," UW head coach Bo Ryan said.

"The energy we get from the fans … and people can say 'well every coach says that,' but you have to be down there on the floor and just feel the energy in there and I think it is led by the seniors."

Last Meeting

After a frustrating first half, Taylor found his groove, scoring 17 of his game-high 20 points as Wisconsin used the long ball to push past Michigan, 66-50, Wednesday night.

Down 28-26 at halftime, the first time UW trailed at halftime in a home game all season, six of the Badgers first seven second-half shots were three-point attempts. After five found the bottom of the net, UW gained a five-point edge, as Taylor's production seemed to ignite the crowd.

Taylor buried consecutive three-pointers to pull UW (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten) within 33-32 and after Keaton Nankivil hit a three to give UW its first lead since 6-4, Taylor buried his third triple of the half to push the lead to 38-33 and force Michigan to burn a timeout.

Consider it coincidence then that Taylor attempted more shots (5) in the first 5 minutes, 15 seconds than he did the entire first half. Taylor added eight rebounds, three assists and made all six of his foul shots in the final seven minutes to make sure the Wolverines got no closer than six the rest of the way.

Things were easy for Taylor, especially with the contributions his team was getting from senior post players Jon Leuer and Nankivil. Leuer, who came in averaging 15.7 points in three previous games against Michigan, scored 17 and Nankivil added 13, nine of which came during a 10-minute stretch between halves where UW took control.

Just as important as Taylor's contribution, Wisconsin continued to utilize its new three-point reputation to springboard them right back into the thick of things. Three days after shooting 10-for-35 (28.6 percent) in an eight-point loss at Illinois, the Badgers' three-point marksmanship was a necessary asset at the start of the second half, as UW finished 9-for-19 (47.4 percent) from three-point range and 6-for-12 (50 percent) after halftime.

Series Notes:

Wisconsin has won nine consecutive games overall in the series, winning by an average of 11.8 points per game over that stretch.

During UW's nine-game win streak over UM, Michigan is averaging just 51.6 points per outing against the Badgers and has not scored more than 61 points in any of those nine contests.

The Badgers have won each of their last 3 visits to Crisler Arena, the team's longest road winning streak in the series.

Bo Ryan owns a 14-4 record against Michigan overall, which includes an 8-0 mark vs. Michigan head coach John Beilein.

Michigan Notes:

With 149 career three-point field goals, Stu Douglass is sixth all-time at U-M. Douglass passed Manny Harris against Penn State for the sixth spot and needs 12 more to tie Robbie Reid (160) for fifth place. Zack Novak passed Harris in the Northwestern game and now has 144. Michigan currently is third in the Big Ten with 7.96 3-point field goals made. With his 12 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds against Iowa, Darius Morris became just the third Wolverine in history to record a triple-double. It was the fi rst for a Wolverine against a Big Ten opponent. Tim Hardaway Jr. is the second among Big Ten freshmen in scoring, averaging 13.2 points per game. Hardaway trails only Ohio State's Jared Sullinger (18.0 ppg). Hardaway has started all 28 games, and has 20 games in double figures, including a career-best 30 at Iowa, and had a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) against Northwestern.

Wisconsin Notes:

Prior to Bo Ryan taking over as UW's head coach in 2001-02, the Badgers had four 19-win seasons (with a high of 22) in 103 years. Including this year's campaign, Ryan has led the UW to at least 19 wins in each of his 10 seasons. This season, Wisconsin posted its 5th-straight 20-win season and the 8th in the last 9 years. The current run of 5 straight years with 20 wins or more is the longest in school history.

The Badgers own a 11-6 record against the RPI top-100 this season and UW's 6 wins over the RPI top 50 are 2nd only to Ohio State (7) in the Big Ten. Penn State (63) is the lowest-ranked RPI team to beat Wisconsin this season.

Wisconsin leads the nation with a 1.78 assist-to-turnover ratio — 362 assists to 203 turnovers. Northwestern (1.66) ranks second in the nation. UW is averaging 13.8 assists per game and turning it over an average of just 7.8 times.

Over the past two seasons, the Badgers now have a 40-2 record when leading or tied with 4:00 remaining in regulation. That includes an 18-2 mark during the 2010-11 campaign. Wisconsin's only losses with a late lead were at Michigan State on Jan. 11 (UW led 49-40 with 4:00 remaining) and to Notre Dame on Nov. 28, 2010 (UW led 48-43 with 4:00 left).


Wisconsin has been dominant in this series of late because it's been able to control tempo and play to its brand of basketball. The Badgers have also been dominant in Ann Arbor of late because Wisconsin usually shoots the roof off the arena.

Last season, Wisconsin shot 53.7 percent (22 of 41) from the floor, 52.4 percent (11 of 21) from 3-point range while holding Michigan to 18.2 percent (2 of 11) from the perimeter and took the crowd out of the game with a 14-point halftime lead it never relinquished.

As a freshman at Michigan, Leuer had 25 points (5-5 from 3-point range) and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes, again taking the Michigan faithful out of what became a 16-point UW victory. Leuer has scored in double figures in each of his last three contests vs. Michigan, but the Badgers will need production from their bench, especially if Nankivil is limited because of his ankle and Bruesewitz struggles with the flu.

If one thing is for sure, expect a relatively clean game. Wisconsin and Michigan are both among the nation's best in fewest turnovers per game. The Badgers commit just 7.8 per contest, tops in the country, and the Wolverines average just 10.4, fifth-best in the nation.

After thinking about this game for awhile, I am going to go with my gut. Wisconsin has yet to impress me on the road and the numbers don't lie. At home, the Badgers shoot 44 percent from three-point range. On the road, that number drops to 31 percent. For a team that shoots 22 three-pointers a game, a 13 percent difference makes all the difference.

Don't have faith in the Badgers here against a hot Michigan team, so I say UW loses by 7.

Worgull's Record: 25-1

Points off Prediction: 163 (6.27 per game)

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