Preview: Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals

Getting a bye into the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals for the 13th straight season, No.22 Wisconsin looks for another magical finish against No.6 Michigan when the two teams matchup in Chicago's United Center Friday afternoon.

No.6 Michigan (26-6, 12-6 Big Ten) vs. No.22 Wisconsin (21-10, 12-6 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Friday, March 15, approx. 1:30 p.m. Central

Arena –United Center (19,087)

Television - ESPN (Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich and Samantha Ponder)

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

Series – Michigan leads 87-68 (Wisconsin leads 2-1 in neutral sites)

Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 65-62, in overtime on February 9, 2013 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Junior Guard, 11.3 ppg)

5 Ryan Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 10.1 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 6.5 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (6-6 Senior Forward, 6.5 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (6-10 Senior Forward, 11.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 George Marshall (5-11 Freshman Guard, 4.4 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-7 Freshman Forward, 9.7 ppg)

32 Zak Showalter (6-2 Freshman Guard, 1.7 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 4.2 ppg)

Michigan Probable Starters

1 Glenn Robinson III (6-6 Freshman Forward, 11.6 ppg)

3 Trey Burke (6-0 Sophomore Guard, 18.1 ppg)

10 Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-6 Junior Guard, 16.0 ppg)

11 Nick Stauskas (6-6 Freshman Guard, 12.4 ppg)

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

Off the Bench

4 Mitch McGary (6-10 Freshman Forward, 6.1 ppg)

23 Caris LeVert (6-5 Freshman Guard, 2.9 ppg)

52 Jordan Morgan (6-8 Junior Forward, 5.8 ppg)

Last Time Out

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Maybe Traevon Jackson made his buzzer-beating 3-pointer because Penn State forgot he was left-handed. Or maybe it's because of the free run Jackson had to his spot on the left wing.

What the Wisconsin guard cared about most was that the bucket allowed the 22nd-ranked Badgers to survive an upset scare from Penn State and win its regular-season finale 63-60 Sunday.

"It felt good. When the shot comes off your hand like that . . . I just kind of knew it was going to go in," the sophomore said coolly after the game, headphones draped around his neck.

The Badgers escaped Happy Valley with a hard-fought victory against the Big Ten's last-place team and stopped a two-game losing streak that dropped them out of contention for the conference title.

Jackson's shot may be the break the Badgers were looking for heading into this week's Big Ten tournament. In the locker room after the game, freshman Sam Dekker (14 points) told teammates the victory could be a "mojo-shifter."

"After losing two straight, we got down on ourselves," Dekker said. "That will hopefully be a momentum-shifter for us going into the Big Ten tournament."

Jackson finished with 15 points. Jermaine Marshall had a game-high 23 points for Penn State (10-20, 2-16), while D.J. Newbill added 22, including a jumper with 5 seconds left to tie the game at 60.

"We earned the right to win this one. That's why this one hurts," a solemn coach Patrick Chambers said. "To lose on that type of (ending) . . . you feel for them."

After Newbill's bucket, Wisconsin nearly threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds but managed to hold on in the scrape on the floor after the officials called a tie-up.

Jackson took some of the blame for that near-turnover. He said he was too far from teammate Mike Bruesewitz to get a clean look at the inbounds play. But he did make a clean catch on the next inbounds.

The Nittany Lions pressed, but Jackson said he went unguarded in a dash up the left sideline to his spot on the left wing. Penn State's Kevin Montminy lunged with an outstretched arm, but it was too late.

Officials held up the shot upon review, and the anxious fans at the Jordan Center let out a collective sigh of disappointment.

"We can't get a better shot like that on an out-of-bounds play . . . He knew and there was no hesitation," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "Also (Jackson) is left-handed. That was the advantage."

Last Meeting

MADISON (BadgerNation) - Arguably the deadliest three-point shooter on Wisconsin's roster, Brust hit an improbable three-pointer just past halfcourt at the end of regulation and the game-winning three with 39.6 seconds left to lift the Badgers to a 65-62 overtime victory over No.3 Michigan Saturday.

"It was awesome," said Brust. "Something I will remember forever, and I am sure a lot of people will … To win the game in overtime makes it that much sweeter. We're right in the hunt."

After losing three of four following its upset at No.2 Indiana, the third straight win for Wisconsin has put the Badgers in the thick of the conference race with seven games to go.

"This is a group that just finds different ways," said UW coach Bo Ryan, who improved to 16-5 against Michigan. "They're great to have in practice, too. They're working it. They're trying."

Wisconsin got five players in double figures and three players with at least eight rebounds. Brust led the way with 14 points and commanded all the attention after.

Burst was averaging only 2.1 three-point makes per game and hadn't made more than three three-point attempts since December 4. That changed dramatically with Brust took the inbounds pass from Bruesewitz near halfcourt, took one dribble and drained the tying three-point shot with Caris LeVert trying to contest as time expired in regulation.

"I knew I had to get (the shot) off," said Brust. "I wanted to at least give it a chance."

With two fouls to give, Michigan coach John Beilein instructed his players to foul upon the inbounds pass but Brust was able to get a step on LeVert, who couldn't catch up to foul him.

"(Brust) turned the corner on Caris," said Beilein, who is 1-10 against Ryan, "and he couldn't get it done in time."

But with Brust and Bruesewitz acknowledging the shot would have been meaningless had Wisconsin not won its second overtime game in four days, Brust made sure he wasn't done with LeVert. After each team traded baskets in the first overtime session, Brust got enough separation from LeVert to hit the game's final basket with 39 seconds left.

Series Notes:

Wisconsin has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with Michigan.

? The Badgers and Wolverines have only met once in the Big Ten Tournament, a 51-34 Wisconsin win in the quarterfinals of the 2008 tournament.

? Michigan has not scored more than 62 points vs. UW since an 85-76 win in 2006, a span of 12 games. Bo Ryan owns a 16-5 record against Michigan overall, which includes a mark of 10-1 vs. Michigan head coach John Beilein.

Wisconsin Big Ten Tournament Notes

Wisconsin owns a 15-13 (.536) overall record in Big Ten Tournament, winning championships in 2004 and 2008 and advancing to the finals in 2005 and 2007

. The Badgers are a No. 4 seed for the sixth time in tournament history and the 4th time in the last 5 years. UW is just 2-5 as a No. 4 seed.

Bo Ryan's teams are 11-9 in the BTT.

Last season the No. 4 seed Badgers beat No. 5 Indiana, 79-71, before losing to No. 1 seed Michigan State, 65-52, in the semifinals.

Ryan Evans averaged 15.0 ppg in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, scoring a game-high 18 points in a semifinal loss to Michigan State.

Jared Berggren averaged 11.0 points per game in the tournament a year ago, finishing with 16 points and 9 rebounds in the win over Indiana.

? Just 5 players on UW's active roster have played in a Big Ten Tournament game, combining for 15 total games of experience and 6 combined starts.

Wisconsin Notes

Wisconsin boasts one of the country's more impressive resumes, having played the 5th-toughest schedule in the nation according to the Sagarin Ratings. UW has 5 wins over AP top-15 teams, including then-No. 2 Indiana and No. 4 Michigan. Only IU (7) and Georgetown (6) have more top-25 wins than UW.

A Naismith Award Top-30 candidate, senior Jared Berggren earned consensus second-team All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Defensive Team honors. Wisconsin's all-time blocks leader, Berggren leads the Big Ten with 2.0 blocks per game and is averaging 11.4 ppg and 7.1 rpg (6th in the conference).

The Badgers always seem to get better as the season unfolds, and this year is no different as UW is 7-3 in February and March. Over Bo Ryan's 12 seasons, Wisconsin has gone 80-28 (.741) in regular-season games played on Feb. 1 or later.

Under Ryan, Wisconsin has never finished lower than 4th in the Big Ten standings. UW's active streak of 12 consecutive seasons in the Big Ten's top 4 is the 2nd-longest in league history and the longest since Purdue had a run of 13 in a row 80 years ago.

The Badgers are 5-5 against teams in the AP Top 25 this season, with all 5 wins coming against teams ranked in the top 15. Indiana (7), Georgetown (6), Michigan State (5) and Minnesota (5) are the nation's only other teams with at least 5 top-25 wins. This marks the first season in school history in which the Badgers have posted 5 top-15 wins.

The Badgers have reached the 20-win threshold for the 7th consecutive season and the 10th time in Bo Ryan's 12 seasons at UW. Prior to Ryan's arrival, the Badgers had just four 20-win seasons in 103 years of basketball.

Michigan Notes:

The Wolverines tied the Big Ten Tournament record for fewest turnovers in a game with four. They share the record with three other teams (Purdue-2011; Indiana-2003; Wisconsin-2000).

It was the 13th time this season Michigan has put 80 or more points on the board and the seventh time against a Big Ten opponent.

Burke has 62 double-figure games in 66 career appearances. He is the only Wolverine to score in double figures in all 32 games this year. It was his fourth-straight effort of 20 or most points and 12th of the season.

Freshman forward Mitch McGary had his second career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 5-of-6 from the field. The 11 rebounds ties his career high.

Michigan had four players (Burke-21, Tim Hardaway Jr. - 15, Nik Stauskas-15, McGary-11,) score in double figures for the second-straight game and the 17th time this season.

For the 13th time this season and second-straight game Michigan held its opponent to fewer than 10 trips to the free throw line (5-for-8). The Wolverines are 11-2 in those games.

Prediction

When asked what he learned about guarding his good friend and former AAU teammate Trey Burke when they played in Madison, Traevon Jackson responded ‘not much.' After all, it's hard to control a guy who makes the hardest shots look easy sometimes.

"He's the type of guy you can't scout because he's some a reactionary player," said Jackson. "He doesn't have too many weaknesses. With him, you just have to get a hand up and hope it doesn't go in."

The only conference player to score at least 15 points in every conference game this season, Burke shook off an ugly first half Thursday (8 points on 3-for-10 shooting) to shoot 80 percent (4-for-5) in the second half, scoring a game-high 21 points in a 83-66 victory over 12th-seed Penn State.

Not only does the win set up a second game against Wisconsin this season, it got Michigan back on the right track after losing Sunday afternoon at home to Indiana; losing the game, and the conference title, on a ill-fated jump shot that rolled off the rim in the waning seconds.

"It was definitely a devastating loss," said Burke. "We knew that we had to learn from it. There were things in that game that we had to regroup and learn from. I think we showed that we stayed together as a team tonight."

That was evident with the way Michigan came out in the second half Thursday. Seeing Penn State shoot 50 percent from the field and out rebound the Wolverines, 20-19, in first 20 minutes, Michigan outscored Penn State 48-31 in the second half and got five players in double figures. And while Penn State still shot close to 50 percent in the half, most of the offense came after an 18-3 Michigan run blew the game wide open.

"Defensively we got a lot better," said Michigan coach John Beilein. "We made some adjustments at halftime. The whole coaching staff got together and tried some different things. Some of them worked. Some of them didn't, but the kids made the adjustments. And then obviously our offensive games got going.

"When we play like we did in the second half, it can make up for some of the growing we're still doing defensively."

The growth can be charted in the post. Mitch McGary had a double-double against Penn State (10 points, 11 rebounds) and pounded Wisconsin inside (12 points, 8 rebounds) in the team's first matchup. McGary was one of four Michigan players with at least five rebounds, and McGary's five offensive rebounds helped Michigan score get into rhythm offensively.

Now Michigan, who Burke admitted did not do a good job focusing on one game at a time in last season's conference tournament, turns its attention to a Wisconsin team that out rebounded the Wolverines, held them to less than 40 percent shooting and allowed UW to shoot 41.7 percent from 3-point range, including Brust's half-court heave to send the game to overtime.

"I expect a hard-fought game," said Burke. "They play a slower style tempo than most teams in the Big Ten, so we just have to stay patient, play as poised as we can and get stops in big areas of the game. That's the biggest thing. When we played them at Wisconsin, we let them get comfortable, get out to a lead and get on some runs. Playing on the road, it's tough when you allow teams to do that.

"They lull you into shooting jump shots and don't allow you to get in the paint as much most teams do. Wisconsin played us real tough when we went up there. It's our job to be ready coming into tomorrow."

The same could be said for the Badgers, who were another buzzer-beater away from entering the conference tournament on a three game losing streak. The problem, again, has been offense for the Badgers, who limited Michigan State to below one point per possession last Thursday but lost by 15 by being out toughed on both ends of the floor.

UW's defense generally has been good, but poor choices on offense have put Wisconsin in tough situations the last three games.

In preparing for the weekend, the Badgers have been emphasizing transition defense in order to set up Wisconsin's half-court defense, which has been misfiring on a few cylinders the last three games, and defending ball screens. Against Michigan, especially going against Burke and Hardaway, the Badgers need to grind defensively to make them work for all their shots.

Wisconsin has to limit the second-chance points, turnovers and maintain its block outs, all issues that popped up Sunday against Penn State. Even that isn't always enough, which was evident by Hardaway's 3-point jumper in the final seconds off a ball screen, with Bruesewitz's hand in his face, in the team's first meeting.

"Watching it again this week, I don't know if you could guard it any better," said Gard. "He was fading backwards as he hit it. In every conference game we watch, those guys hit a lot of tough shots."

Michigan is good with a number of players who can take over a game at a moment's notice. Wisconsin does not. Although I feel the Wolverines aren't as good as they were when they lost at the Kohl Center on a prayer, I still feel they are seven points better than the Badgers. Michigan gives Wisconsin a quick trip to Chicago with a seven-point win.

Worgull's Record: 20-11

Points off Prediction: 363 (11.71 per game)


Badger Nation Top Stories