Three-Point Shot: Cancun Challenge

Before Wisconsin goes for its fourth preseason tournament title since 2005, starting with Tuesday night's contest against undefeated St. Louis, Badger Nation looks at the three burning questions we're looking to have answered.

At 6-0 for only the second time under Bo Ryan, Wisconsin has registered a number of resume-enhancing wins through two week, but they will have two tough games while they are competing in the Cancun Challenge. The Badgers will face St. Louis on Tuesday night and will play again on Wednesday against either West Virginia or Old Dominion.

Like the Badgers, the Billikens - a NCAA Tournament team from a year ago - travel to Cancun with an undefeated record (5-0). All three teams have received balance scoring from their starters so Wisconsin can't afford mental lapses on the defensive end.

In this Badger Nation feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin to have success in the Cancun Challenge.

Lay up: Can the Badgers overcome playing three games in five days?

You could tell the Badgers were starting to get tired late against Oral Roberts on Saturday. Having to play three games in five days and then having to travel on Sunday can be tiring. It would be completely understandable if the legs were starting to get a little tired for the Badgers. Wisconsin may come out a little slow on Tuesday night, especially since UW will have played five games in nine days by the time they fly home.

Ryan has done a good job in his career of managing minutes if it's the Big Ten Tournament or the NCAA Tournament. The problem is until George Marshall (concussion) comes back, the Badgers rotation is only eight and the bench is inexperienced. Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes are both freshmen that are seeing their first collegiate action. Even though Duje Dukan is a redshirt junior he's seeing his first significant action for the Badgers as well.

Ryan could give Zach Bohannon or Vitto Brown some time depending on the situation in the game, especially close to a media timeout to give his starters a quick breather.

Mid-range jumper: Can the Badgers slow down the opposing team guards?

In their first six games the Badgers have faced some talented guards and it won't stop in this tournament. When the Badgers have faced guards with the ability to drive and get to the hoop, Wisconsin has struggled.

That alone is surprising considering many Badgers fans expected to be able to slow down any teams guard play with the return of Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson, which hasn't been the case. The Badgers are allowing teams backcourts to average 38 points through six games.

Saint Louis guards Mike McCall Jr. and Jordair Jett are second and third on the team, averaging 12.6 and 11.6 points, respectively. No matter which opponent the Badgers play Wednesday, West Virginia and Old Dominion are both led in scoring by their guards. Former Badger recruiting target Eron Harris is averaging 20.4 points through five games and Aaron Bacote is averaging 21.6 points a game for the Monarchs.

If Wisconsin can't slow down the guard play, it could result in some high scoring games.

3-pointer: Can Frank Kaminsky protect the rim consistently?

If the guards struggle on the defensive end, it will be important for Kaminsky to contest shots. Kaminsky has been able to step up on the defensive side in replace of Jared Berggren by averaging 1.7 blocks a game.

With UW having a lack of depth in the frontcourt, Kaminsky has done a great job of boxing out his man to allow either Ben Brust or Gasser to get rebounds. Kaminsky has also proven his worth on the boards this year by being third on the team in rebounding, averaging five a game.

When Kaminsky is out, it will become Sam Dekker and Hayes responsibility to help protect the rim. Dekker is still working on his defensive game and Hayes is still trying to gain strength, although he has played well defensively.


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