Preview: No.18 Wisconsin at No.16 Michigan

Seeing a rough two-game homestand come to an end, No.18 Wisconsin packs up for two tough road games over the next five days, starting Sunday with its trip to No.16 Michigan in Ann Arbor.

No.18 Wisconsin (12-4, 1-2 Big Ten) vs. No.16 Michigan (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Sunday, January 8, 12:30 p.m. Central

Arena – Crisler Arena (13,751)

Television - CBS (Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg)

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

Series – Michigan leads 86-67 (Michigan leads 53-20 in Ann Arbor)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 53-52, on February 23, 2011 in Ann Arbor

Wisconsin Probable Starters

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Junior Forward, 10.2 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (6-1 Senior Guard, 13.7 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 7.5 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Junior Forward, 6.0 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Junior Forward, 11.9 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 10.1 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Freshman Guard, 1.6 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (6-4 Senior Guard, 2.8 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Freshman Forward, 2.7 ppg)

Michigan Probable Starters

0 Zack Novak (6-4 Senior Guard, 9.1 ppg)

3 Trey Burke (5-11 Freshman Guard, 13.7 ppg)

10 Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-6 Sophomore Guard, 15.8 ppg)

23 Evan Smotrycz (6-9 Sophomore Forward, 10.7 ppg)

52 Jordan Morgan (6-8, Sophomore Forward, 7.6 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Stu Douglass (6-3 Senior Guard, 7.3 ppg)

5 Eso Akunne (6-2 Junior Guard, 2.0 ppg)

13 Matt Vogrich (6-4 Junior Guard, 2.1 ppg)

15 Jon Horford (6-10 Sophomore Forward, 2.7 ppg)

Last Time Out

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Tom Izzo never actually heard what the officials' final ruling was on Ryan Evans' apparent game-tying 3-pointer.

He just knew the shot didn't count, and Michigan State was walking away with a rare road victory at Wisconsin.

Evans' shot was disallowed after officials looked at a replay and ruled that it left his hand after time expired, allowing the 10th-ranked Spartans to hold on for a 63-60 overtime victory over the 18th-ranked Badgers.

"I don't know what happened at the end," Izzo said. "Nor do I care. I thought we played well enough and earned the win, and that's the way I'm going to look at it."

Draymond Green had 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Keith Appling added 16 points for the Spartans (14-2, 3-0 Big Ten), who have won 14 straight.

Jordan Taylor scored 28 points for the Badgers (12-4, 1-2), who have lost two straight at home for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Evans' 3 was overturned when officials ruled he didn't get the shot off in time.

In comments distributed by Wisconsin's sports information staff, referee Pat Driscoll acknowledged that there was some confusion because a clock on a side scoreboard appeared to show 0.2 seconds left when the shot left Evans' hand, while time had expired on the clock above the backboard.

"By rule we have to go by the clock that is on the backboard," Driscoll said. "I don't know why there would be different (times) -- it could be satellite, electronic, whatever -- but by rule we have to go by the clock that is attached to the backboard. In our review on the monitor, the clock clearly showed zeros while the ball remained in the Wisconsin player's hands."

Driscoll said officials looked at the replay approximately seven times, also examining whether Evans' foot was on the 3-point line.

Green, who missed a pair of free throws that could have put the game away, said waiting for the ruling was agonizing.

"The feeling for me was awful, but the feeling in the huddle was great because the guys, everybody picked me up -- `Dray, no matter what, we're still going to win this game,'" said Green, who missed a pair of free throws before Evans' disallowed shot. "They didn't let me be down on myself, although I was. Everybody snatching me, grabbing my jersey, `Hey, are you OK? If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't be in this position anyway.' That was real comforting."

It was another rare home loss -- and another rough shooting night -- for the Badgers, who shot poorly from outside in a home loss to Iowa on Saturday.

It was only the Badgers' 14th loss, and eighth conference loss, at home under Ryan.

The Badgers have been overly reliant on streaky outside shooting this season. They were 3 for 28 from 3-point range in the loss to the Hawkeyes.

They certainly made an effort to get the ball inside Tuesday, but still ended up going 5 for 22 from 3-point range.

Last Meeting

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (– For a former high school quarterback, Josh Gasser should be used to getting hit from his blindside. Maybe that's what made the 3-point heave, the ensuing bear hug and takedown from teammate Jordan Taylor so easy to handle.

"I told him I was taking him down no matter what," Taylor said "I was tackling him."

As the horn sounded and the red lights around the basket came one, Gasser continued to admire his shot coming down from his apex. With a kiss off the glass and into the net, Gasser's 20 footer at the right wing helped No.12 Wisconsin escape with a 53-52 victory over Michigan Wednesday.

The victory allows Wisconsin (21-6, 11-4 Big Ten) to stay two games back of Ohio State and one game back of Purdue in the race for the Big Ten title and extends its winning streak to 10 games in the series.

"We knew they were one of the hottest teams in the league, if not the hottest," said senior Jon Leuer. "This is definitely a momentum-building win. It can turn the season into something special."

Trailing 52-50 with 30.8 seconds left and with Michigan (17-12, 7-9) having fouls to give, the Wolverines fouled four times to get the clock down to 5.4 seconds, setting up Gasser for the inbounds pass. Feeding Taylor at the top of the key, Taylor received an immediate double team and found Gasser, who has slipped underneath the defense, open on the perimeter with 1.4 seconds left.

"They switched and Josh rolled over the top, so I just tried to make a play going back to the middle," Taylor said. "Josh presented himself, through his arms straight in the air and he was hard to miss."

Gasser released the ball with 1.2 seconds on the clock, narrowly beating a charging Stu Douglass from the double team. From there, everybody seemed to have a different angle. UW Coach Bo Ryan knew it had to bank in and immediate drew a recollection to Brian Butch's game-winning three at Indiana Feb.08. Taylor thought it looked online and Gasser thought it was going to bank in.

As it turns out, all three of them proved right on the money.

"We just had one more bucket in us than they did," Ryan said. "Jordan just made a better play than their double team."

Calling Wednesday one of his worst games of the season, Gasser was barely visible in the first half. Although he played 16 minutes, he took only one shot, but committed two turnovers that led to four Michigan points.

After halftime, Gasser started to deliver, hitting a runner in the lane to tie the score at 50 and notched the biggest shot of his young career three minutes later.

Said Gasser: "Coach Ryan said it best, ‘You were bad in the first half and you made up for it." After averaging 14 points last week and attempting three total 3-pointers, Taylor returned to form, finished with a game-high 20 points, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range, and contributing five assists and zero turnovers.

Leuer finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, giving him 507 rebounds for his career and his sixth double-digit rebounding game of the season, four of which have come in the last seven games. He also finished with three assists and zero turnovers.

Throw in the 13 points from Keaton Nankivil, the Badgers big three scored 84.9 percent (45 of 53) of the team's points.

Series Notes:

Wisconsin has won 10 consecutive games overall in the series, winning by an average of 10.7 points per game over that stretch.

During UW's 10-game win streak over UM, Michigan is averaging just 51.7 points per outing against the Badgers and has not scored more than 61 points in any of those 10 contests.

The Badgers have won each of their last 4 visits to Crisler Arena, the team's longest road winning streak in the series. Michigan's last win over Wisconsin was a 85-76 win at Crisler Arena on Jan. 28, 2006.

Bo Ryan owns a 15-4 record against Michigan overall, which includes an 9-0 mark vs. Michigan head coach John Beilein.

Jordan Taylor scored 20 points in each of UW's games with Michigan last season, adding 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the win in Madison and posting 4 rebounds and 5 assists in Ann Arbor.

Wisconsin Notes

Preseason All-American Jordan Taylor might just be the best all-around lead guard in the nation. One of the Cousy Award's Final 20, he tops the Badgers in scoring, ranks 3rd in the Big Ten with a 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio and earned Big Ten All-Defensive Team honors a year ago. In 57 career Big Ten games, Taylor has a TOTAL of 57 turnovers.

The Badgers made double digit free throws just once in their first 7 games. Since then, UW has reached double figures in FTs in 8 of its last 9 games. Wisconsin has gotten to the free throw line much more frequently recently. After attempting just 9.1 free throws over the first 7 games, the Badgers are shooting 21.1 free throws over the last 9 games.

Wisconsin is 4-1 away from the Kohl Center this season, including wins in each of its last 2 true road games. Away from home, Wisconsin is shooting 43.9% from the field and 42.2% from 3-point range.

The Badgers rank 2nd in the Big Ten shooting 37.4 percent from 3-point range on the season, draining 126-of-337 shots from downtown. UW has made 126 3-pointers on the season, an average of 7.9 per game - 4th in the Big Ten.

Michigan Notes:

Michigan had its seven-game win streak snapped with a narrow 73-71 loss at Indiana. Michigan's 12-2 start was the best for the Wolverines in the John Beilein era and marked the first time U-M had 12 wins in the first 14 games since 2006-07.

All three of Michigan's losses have come at the hands of nationally ranked opponents - Duke (No.5), Virginia (No.21) and Indiana (No.12). Michigan faces back-to-back top 25 teams this week - No.12 Indiana (L, 73-71) and No.18 Wisconsin.

Michigan is a perfect 9-0 at home this season and has won its last 10 straight in Ann Arbor.

Michigan is averaging 70.9 points per game, with six games of 75-or-more, including a season-high of 90 in win at Oakland (Palace of Auburn Hills). When Michigan scores 80-or-more points, the Wolverines are a perfect 18-0 in the Beilein era.

Michigan is allowing 60.8 points per game. The Wolverines have held their opponent to 60-or-fewer points in seven games.


If you are looking for a consistent shooting team, look no further than the University of Michigan. After shooting 39.3 percent in the season opener, the Wolverines have shot at least 44 percent in every game but one. Even the game they didn't reach 44 percent, they grinded out a 61-56 win at Minnesota shooting 38.5 percent because freshman Trey Burke scored a career-best 27 points. Burke went 8-for-11 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line, scoring balance that has helped him be the second-highest scoring freshman in the conference.

Michigan is shooting 48.0 percent from the field this season and has shot better than 50 percent from the field four times, including a season-best 61.7 percent (29-for-47) vs. UCLA (Maui Invitational, Nov.23). The kicker though is Michigan is shooting really well in the second half. In the last 12 games, the Wolverines have scored at least 35 points 11 times and outscored their opponents 10 times.

A reason for that boost has been Hardaway Jr., who has eight games in which he has reached double figures in the second half compared to just three where he reached the mark in the first half. Two of the eight games are notable -- after not scoring against Duke in the first half, Hardaway closed with 19 in the second and after scoring just three points against Oakland in the first half he closed with 18 in the second.

In the first half, Hardaway averages 5.9 points shooting 33.7 percent (30-for-89) from the field, 20.9 percent (9-or-43) on three-pointers and 68.4 percent (13-for-19) on free throws. In the second half, Hardaway averages 9.7 points shooting 57.1 percent (48-for-84), 40.0 percent (14-for-35) on three-pointers and 70.3 percent (26-for-37) on free throws. Hardaway has developed into a solid all-around player, and will be the key in this matchup, especially after halftime.

Last season in Crisler, the Badgers won despite shooting just 36.2 percent from the floor. Michigan shot 48.8 percent, and Wisconsin can thank Darius Morris missing the front end of a one-and-one with 30.8 seconds left to set up Gasser' three-point bank shot. While the free throws bit Michigan last year, they have bit UW this season. On the season the Badgers are shooting 70.5 percent from the free throw line, which ranks 6th in the Big Ten. We saw against Michigan State how that can have an impact in the close game.

This feels like the year of the streak buster. Wisconsin gets its lengthy 23-game home winning streak snapped by Marquette, Iowa wins at the kohl center for the first time since 1998 and Michigan State wins at the KC for the first time since 2001. Against a ranked good-shooting Michigan team on the road, I'd say the Wolverines' 10-game losing streak ends with a five-point victory.

Worgull's Record: 13-3

Points off Prediction: 174 (10.88 per game)

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