Date/Time -Saturday, November 18, 7 p.m. Central
Arena –Resch Center (9,729)
Television -TWC Sportschannel/ESPN3 (Dennis Krause and Jeff Nordgaard)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Wisconsin leads 18-1 (Wisconsin leads 2-1 in Green Bay)
Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 65-54, on December 12, 2012 in Madison
Wisconsin Probable Starters
1 Ben Brust (6-1 Senior Guard, 13.0 ppg)
12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Junior Guard, 13.0 ppg)
15 Sam Dekker (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 16.0 ppg)
21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Junior Guard, 9.5 ppg)
44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Junior Forward, 5.0 ppg)
Off the Bench
3 George Marshall (5-11 Sophomore Guard, 2.0 ppg)
10 Nigel Hayes (6-7 Freshman Forward, 5.0 ppg)
13 Duje Dukan (6-9 Junior Forward, 9.0 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-3 Freshman Guard, 0.0 ppg)
Green Bay Probable Starters
4 Jordan Fouse (6-7 Sophomore Forward, 5.0 ppg)
15 Greg Mays (6-9 Junior Forward, 7.0 ppg)
21 Alec Brown (7-1 Senior Center, 10.0 ppg)
24 Keifer Sykes (5-11 Junior Guard, 10.0 ppg)
35 Vince Garrett (6-6 Senior Guard, 15.0 ppg)
Off the Bench
2 Turner Botz (6-7 Freshman Guard, 3.0 ppg)
5 Lamin Fulton (5-10 Junior Guard, 3.0 ppg)
12 Carrington Love (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 10.0 ppg)
32 Tevin Findlay (6-4 Freshman Guard, 2.0 ppg)
45 Kenneth Lowe (6-8 Freshman Forward, 5.0 ppg)
Last Time Out
MADISON - On paper, Wisconsin would have been expected to fold.
Just two games into the season and opening against an AP top 11 opponent for only the third time in school history, and first since 1969, Wisconsin had barely had time to solve its rotations, get a few of the six new freshman acclimated to the college game and fit together all the missing pieces needed to replace five graduated seniors.
So the fact that No.20 Wisconsin started the game down 16-4, yet turned it around by halftime and led the entire second half in a 59-53 victory over No.11 Florida speaks volumes that this latest edition of Bo Ryan's Badgers might be slightly ahead of the learning curve.
"Somebody told me that they kind of threw us in the deep end to start the year," said sophomore Sam Dekker, referring also to Wisconsin's season opener in Sioux Falls, S.D., against St. John's and Saturday's game at Green Bay. "I don't really look at it that way. We're a good team playing against good teams. We'll learn a lot from these games … It's nice to get two big wins under our belt."
Dekker – arguably the biggest piece of all this season – scored a team-high 16 points as Wisconsin (2-0) beat consecutive power six nonconference opponents for the first time since 2009, and became one of only three teams in the country to beat two power six teams to start the year.
But the performances surrounding Dekker were the key cornerstones. Traevon Jackson turned the ball over five times, but scored 13 points – including the game-clinching jumper with 9.8 seconds left – to add to his seven rebounds and team-high four assists.
"He's been in so many tough situations that I wasn't trading him those last five minutes," said UW coach Bo Ryan.
Ben Brust was one rebound away from a double-double (11 points, 9 rebounds); Frank Kaminsky awoke from his early season slumber to score eight points and registered a team-high in steals and blocks (two apiece) and freshman Nigel Hayes provided some quality minutes in relief of Kaminsky, looking fluid and confident with his eight points in 18 minutes.
MADISON - UW ended the first half on a 13-2 run and opened the second stanza by scoring the first five points. In total, the Badgers ripped off an 18-2 run, turning a 14-21 deficit into a 32-23 lead. Wisconsin won 65-54.
The Badgers committed six turnovers, matching their second-lowest total. UW also had 8 blocks, the season's second-highest total. UW won a game when being out-rebounded (35-32) for the first time on the season.
Ryan Evans (13 points), Jared Berggren and Sam Dekker (10 apiece) led UW in scoring. Coming off the bench, the trio of freshman Zak Showalter (8 points), sophomore Frank Kaminsky (8) and freshman George Marshall (6) combined to score 22 points on 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) shooting from the floor.
Wisconsin and Green Bay have played every year since 1999 and Saturday's contest will mark the 20th meeting all-time.
The Phoenix got their lone win in the series in the Badgers' last trip to Green Bay, an 88-84 overtime decision on Dec. 9, 2009.
UW is 58-3 all-time vs. teams currently in the Horizon League. UW will also play at Milwaukee on Dec. 11.
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan is 11-1 against Green Bay as the head coach of the Badgers and 14-3 overall (including a 3-2 mark while serving as the head coach at Milwaukee).
In the Ryan era, Green Bay is averaging 57.8 points per game against UW and has scored more than 62 points just once (2009).
Under Ryan, the Badgers have a 29-6 (.829) record in the in-state round-robin with Marquette, Milwaukee and Green Bay.
The Badgers have displayed great balance in scoring so far this season as 5 players are averaging 9.0 points per game or more. In the season opener, 5 UW players scored in double figures and Wisconsin has had at least 4 players hit multiple 3-pointers in each of the season's first 2 games.
Last season, Wisconsin ranked last in the Big Ten shooting just 63.4% at the free throw line. On the season, UW is shooting .750 from the free throw line, making 33-of-44 at the line.
Since Bo Ryan was hired in 2001, Wisconsin has been the Big Ten's best road team, owning the most true road wins (67) and best road win percent- age (.504) in the conference. In fact, in that era Wisconsin is the only Big Ten team with a road record of .500 or better.
Dating back to Feb. of 2011, UW has won 58 of its last 59 games when leading or tied with 5:00 left.
Green Bay Notes
With a sellout announced on Nov. 6 and additional seats added to the Resch Center capacity since 9,759 fans watched when the Badgers visited in 2009, the program attendance record will likely be broken on Saturday night. The Phoenix will welcome a crowd of more than 9,000 spectators for the fourth time in program history.
Saturday's contest is the first time Green Bay has hosted a ranked team at the Resch Center since Jan. 29, 2010 (No. 18 Butler). The last time they visited the Resch Center, the Badgers were ranked No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the coaches poll. Green Bay has hosted seven games previously against ranked foes, posting a 2-5 record. The first such game was on Nov. 30, 2002 when Green Bay hosted Wisconsin in the Resch Center opener.
Green Bay has totaled four victories over ranked opponents in the Division I era, posting a 4-31 record (through 2009-10). The last ranked foe that the Phoenix faced was No. 11 Marquette on Dec. 10, 2011 (L, 61-79). Green Bay's last win over a top-25 opponent occurred when Wisconsin last visited the Resch.
Head coach Brian Wardle was able to get minutes for all 11 active players in Green Bay's 71-49 win over Northern Michigan, and all 11 found the scoring column.
Green Bay was voted as a slight preseason favorite in the Horizon League in a vote of head coaches, media members and communications directors. The Phoenix received 390 points, just one clear of Wright State in the close preseason poll in league history. It marks the first time since 1995-96 that Green Bay was picked as the conference preseason favorite.
In the days leading up to Wisconsin's tilt with Florida, a television reporter asked Sam Dekker what it was like starting his sophomore season by playing two tough schools in St. John's and the Gators. Without being prompted, Dekker added the road test at Green Bay.
"It's going to be a test for us, it's going to be tough and it's going to make us grow quick," said Dekker. "At the end of the day, it's going to be good for us going into Big Ten play and the postseason because it's going to make us grow up quick. I wouldn't say throw us into the fire, but it's going to get us on the right path right away playing against good competition."
The Phoenix aren't a BCS school and aren't a top15 program, but they are playing at home and were picked to win their league, a sign of respect from those knowledgeable individuals involved in the preseason decision process.
Green Bay already has All-Horizon League inside-outside duo of Alec Brown and Keifer Sykes, both of whom are anxious to have the Badgers back on the schedule. Sykes led the Phoenix with 14 points on 7-for-18 shooting, a talented guard who, obviously, is looking to shoot first. Brown is a 7-1 nightmare in the paint, but he shot 3-for-11 and scored only eight points before fouling out last season.
"We really want to win this game," said Sykes. "We're really taking this as an opportunity to get better and get a win."
But what separates the Phoenix from most of the teams in the Horizon League is adding a BCS-level transfer to the program. Vince Garrett transfer from Rutgers after the scandal involving Mike Rice's abuse of players broke, and was granted a waiver to play this season by the NCAA. Good news for the Phoenix, as Garrett made 6-of-7 field goals and scored 11 of his team-high 15 points after halftime to lead the Phoenix to the win over Northern Michigan a week ago.
"We're still trying to get better and improve. As long as we improve from Saturday to Saturday, I know we're heading in the right direction," said Green Bay coach Brian Wardle. "If that leads to win, obviously we go out there to compete and win every game, but we're really here to improve. Keep getting comfortable with each other, find our rhythm, find our timing together and this game is against the Wisconsin Badgers, a top25 team, and that makes it more exciting."
It can be argued that the Badgers are going through those same growing pains with two redshirt players returning to the lineup and a handful of freshmen working into the rotation. The only difference between Green Bay's undefeated start and Wisconsin's is that the Badgers have landed two impressive resume wins over St. John's and Florida.
A big reason that Wisconsin earned that second win was Dekker. A year after appearing in 35 games and earning All-Freshman Team honors, Dekker scored a team-high 16 points over the Gators, including 10 during a 25-10 run to close the first half.
Fourth on the team with 4.5 rebounds per game, Dekker has scored 16 points in each of UW's first 2 games while shooting 50.0 percent (4-for-8) from 3-point range in 35.0 minutes per game.
While the sophomore did hit back-to-back 3-pointers to fuel the Badgers' comeback, the preseason Wooden Award nominee doesn't want to make a habit of poor starts.
"We have to come out with a lot of energy, focus and prepared," said Dekker. "If we do our thing, we'll be tough to stop and we'll be another Wisconsin team."
Chalk this up to another difficult nonconference test for Wisconsin, but one that I see the Badgers escaping with an eight-point win.
Worgull's Record: 1-1
Points off Prediction: 23 (11.5 per game)