Preview: BYU vs. No.11 Wisconsin

Going for its first preseason tournament championship since winning the America's Youth Classic at the Kohl Center in 2007, No.11 Wisconsin will face its toughest test thus far in the championship of the Chicago Invitational Challenge against BYU.

BYU (4-1, 0-0 West Coast Conference) vs. No.11 Wisconsin (5-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, November 26, 7 p.m. Central

Arena – Sears Center (9,700)

Television - Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson and Eddie Johnson)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Phil Dawson and Andy North)

Series – Wisconsin leads 1-0 (UW leads 1-0 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 30-16, on Dec.11, 1931 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

5 Ryan Evans (Junior Forward, 10.8 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Senior Guard, 9.6 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (Sophomore Guard, 11.6 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Junior Forward, 6.6 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Junior Forward, 12.2 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Ben Brust (Sophomore Guard, 11.2 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (Freshman Guard, 1.2 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Senior Guard, 3.8 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (Freshman Forward, 4.0 ppg)

BYU Probable Starters

0 Brandon Davies (Junior Forward, 12.6 ppg)

1 Charles Abouo (Senior Guard, 14.8 ppg)

13 Brock Zylstra (Junior Forward, 6.2 ppg)

20 Anson Winder (Freshman Guard, 7.0 ppg)

34 Noah Hartsock (Senior Forward, 16.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Craig Cusick (Junior Guard, 2.8 ppg)

12 Josh Sharp (Freshman Forward, 2.6 ppg)

21 Stephen Rogers (Junior Forward, 9.8 ppg)

24 Damarcus Harrison (Freshman Guard, 5.2 ppg)

33 Nate Austin (Freshman Center, 1.6 ppg)

Last Time Out

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - Wisconsin went through a few rough patches, but guard Josh Gasser was looking on the bright side after the 11th-rankied Badgers' 66-43 victory over Bradley in the Chicago Invitational Challenge on Friday night.

"We kind of had a first-half lapse where they got a couple of easy buckets in transition and we got away from our defensive rules," he said. "But that happens coming on the road for the first time against a good team."

Gasser, Ryan Evans and Jordan Taylor scored 15 points apiece and center Jared Berggren grabbed 10 rebounds for the Badgers (5-0), who scored 18 points off turnovers and face BYU in Saturday's championship at the suburban Chicago Sears Centre.

"Overall we played pretty well," Gasser said. "We moved the ball well, we got good shots, we knocked them down when we needed too. And defensively we were solid all night. We weren't great, but we were good enough."

Wisconsin never trailed in the teams' first meeting since 1989.

Taylor Brown scored 18 points for the Braves (3-2), who have dropped two straight.

Bradley had 17 turnovers and shot just 34 percent (18 of 53) from the field. Wisconsin hit 25 of 59 from the field (42.4 percent).

Series Notes:

Wisconsin is 11-5 against teams in the West Coast Conference, most recently in a 74-61 loss to Gonzaga in the 2009 Maui Invitational.

Wisconsin Notes

Wisconsin improved to 5-0 with a 66-43 win over Bradley, the second time the team has won its first five games under Bo Ryan ... With the win, Bo Ryan is now alone in second place on UW's all-time wins list with 247 career victories ... The 15 points was a career high for Evans, and he matched his career high with 8 rebounds ... Gasser connected on 3-of-4 3-pointers and is now 14-of-17 (.824 %) on the season from beyond the arc ... Jared Berggren set a career high with 10 rebounds.

BYU Notes:

After hitting just 7 of 27 3-pointers in the first two games of the season, BYU caught fire from downtown, hitting 27 of 48 in the next two games (15 of 26 vs. Longwood, 12 of 22 vs. Prairie View A&M). The 27 3s over a two-game stretch are a program record. The Cougars continued their hot shooting by hitting 8 of 18 from three vs. Nevada.

The Cougars have been on fire in the second halves of the last three games, shooting 64.8 percent from the field and 60.5 percent from three. BYU is averaging 51.7 points during those three second halves.

Abouo is averaging 12.3 points and shooting 92.9 percent in those second halves and Hartsock is averaging 7.3 points and shooting 75.0 percent.

Dave Rose is one of the most successful coaches in the history of BYU basketball. He is second in program history in wins (163), first in winning percentage (.780) and has led the Cougars to five-straight NCAA Tournament berths and four conference titles. He also earned three Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year awards.

Prediction

Wisconsin has an advantage when comparing the stats. Although BYU outscores Wisconsin 78.6-73.0 per game, the Badgers allow fewer points (35.8 to 57.3), have a better field goal percentage defense (27.9-36.0), turn the ball over less (8.2-16.0), shoot the ball better from 3-point range (45.8-45.2) and out rebound the Cougars (42.4-39.8).

After struggling from the field the first two games of the season, BYU is shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 53.0 percent from three the last three games. During that stretch, Abouo is averaging 18.0 points and shooting 66.7 percent and Hartsock is averaging 17.0 points and shooting 65.6 percent. Of BYU's 76 points over Nevada, 70 came from the starting rotation and 43 from Abouo and Hartstock. Without question, UW's team defense will be challenged.

BYU is one of only four teams in the country to win at least 25 games the last five seasons and are 20-1 in regular season tournaments under Rose. The only thing is that those six tournaments have included just two matchups against ranked teams with BYU beating No.6 Louisville by 2 and losing by 10 to No.1 North Carolina in 2007 at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Give the edge to Wisconsin in this matchup, but don't expect the Badgers to hold another opponent under 50 points. If UW can get BYU's starters into foul trouble and test the bench, an area where UW has an advantage, the Badgers should thrive. The other key is Jordan Taylor. Who would have thought after five games that UW would have three players averaging in double figures and that Taylor wouldn't be one of them? After facilitating most of the season, Taylor started to shake off the rust with a 5-for-16 shooting performance in the semifinals, meaning he'll be primed for BYU.

Taylor finds his groove and Wisconsin wins its closest game of the year by eight.

Worgull's Record: 5-0

Points off Prediction: 53 (10.6 per game)


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