Breakdown: Saint Louis vs. No.10 Wisconsin

Off to a 6-0 start for only the second time under coach Bo Ryan, No.10 Wisconsin is looking for its first 7-0 start in 20 years when it takes on Saint Louis in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge. Badger Nation breaks down the matchup.

Saint Louis (5-0, 0-0 Atlantic 10) at No.10 Wisconsin (6-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Tuesday, November 26, 7:30 p.m. Central

Arena –Hard Rock Riviera Maya

Television -CBS Sports Network (Thad Anderson and Steve Wolf)

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

Series – Series tied 2-2 (Series tied 1-1 in neutral sites)

Last Meeting – St. Louis won, 73-68, on March 20, 1989 during the NIT second round in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Senior Guard, 12.5 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Junior Guard, 11.7 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 14.7 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Junior Guard, 10.7 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Junior Forward, 17.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 George Marshall (5-11 Sophomore Guard, 2.0 ppg)

10 Nigel Hayes (6-7 Freshman Forward, 4.5 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-9 Junior Forward, 4.5 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-3 Freshman Guard, 4.0 ppg)

St. Louis Probable Starters

1 Grandy Glaze (6-6 Junior Forward, 8.2 ppg)

5 Jordair Jett (6-1 Senior Guard, 11.6 ppg)

11 Mike McCall Jr. (6-0 Senior Guard, 12.6 ppg)

21 Dwayne Evans (6-6 Senior Forward, 13.6 ppg)

51 Rob Loe (6-11 Senior Center, 7.8 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Austin McBroom (5-9 Sophomore Guard, 8.8 ppg)

30 Jake Barnett (6-5 Senior Forward, 4.8 ppg)

35 Reggie Agbeko (6-7 Freshman Forward, 3.3 ppg)

Last Time Out

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan knows his team isn't going to be hot from outside every game.

The Badgers showed off their versatility Saturday night when they found a way to get another victory without their usual outside production.

Frank Kaminsky scored 21 points to lead five Wisconsin players in double figures, helping the 12th-ranked Badgers hold on for a 76-67 win against Oral Roberts.

The Badgers were shooting a Big Ten-best 48.5 percent from 3-point range coming into the game, but struggled from behind the arc in this one. Playing their third game in five days, they hit just 7 of 23 attempts.

"The percentage we were shooting from 3, you know there's going to be some games where that's not going to happen," Ryan said.

Wisconsin (6-0) made up for the long-range deficit by grabbing 12 offensive rebounds and scoring 15 second-chance points. The work in the lane -- where the Badgers scored 34 points -- helped them shoot 47 percent from the floor for the game.

Meanwhile, a Wisconsin program with a reputation for stout defense is struggling on that end after holding opponents to 39 percent shooting from the field last season.

Opponents were connecting on 46 percent of their shots coming into Saturday, and Oral Roberts shot 55 percent. Shawn Glover led the Golden Eagles with 24 points.

Ryan said Oral Roberts (2-3) stretched the Badgers' defense by connecting from 3-point range, where the Golden Eagles finished 7 of 13. The long-range shooting led to more lanes for dribble penetration.

That's how Glover was most effective, often taking his defender off the dribble and then pulling up for a jump shot. He finished 10 of 16 for the game. Bobby Word had 14 points for Oral Roberts, and D.J. Jackson finished with 11.

"You pick your poison, and fortunately, we held on long enough that the clock ran out," Ryan said.

Series Notes

UW is 9-5 all-time against members of the Atlantic-10 Conference.

The Badgers' most recent match up with the conference was an 76-64 win over Richmond in the opening round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee, Wis.

Wisconsin is 7-4 against the A10 in a road or a neutral environment.

Wisconsin Notes

UW has not opened the season with seven consecutive wins since starting 11-0 in 1993-94.

Dekker has been named to the preseason Top-50 lists of both the Wooden and Naismith Player of the Year awards. Dekker has scored in double figures in every game this season, averaging 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds while shooting 35.0% from 3-point range.

The Badgers moved up to No. 10 in the latest AP Top 25 poll. UW is also ranked No. 11 in the Coaches Poll. Wisconsin's No. 10 AP ranking is its highest since being ranked No. 9 in the Nov. 28, 2011 poll.

Four different players have led the Badgers in scoring through 6 games this season and the Badgers are the only team in the Big Ten to have 5 players averaging in double figures.

Wisconsin has played just one regular season game outside of United States territory, when it traveled to Ottawa, Canada to play a neutral site game against Memphis in the 1996-97 season opener. The Badgers won the game, 49-46.

UW has also played holiday tournaments in both the U.S. Virgin Islands and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Badgers went 2-1 in the 1989 San Juan Shootout, went 3-0 to win the 2005 Paradise Jam in St. Thomas and finished 2-1 to take runner-up in the 2008 Paradise Jam Tournament.

In Bo Ryan's first 12 seasons at UW, the Badgers have played in a non-conference holiday tournament eight times, owning a combined record of 14-7. Wisconsin won the 2005 Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands and took the 2011 Chicago Invitational title in 2012.

Saint Louis Notes

Saint Louis was picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 by a vote of A-10 head coaches and media. Evans was a preseason first-team All-Conference selection, while Jett was named to the preseason All-Conference third team as well as the preseason All-Defensive team.

Saint Louis is the reigning Atlantic 10 Conference champion. The Billikens captured the 2012-13 A-10 regular-season title outright, then rolled to three consecutive victories at the A-10 Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jim Crews, the NABC and Sporting News National Coach of the Year, had the interim tag removed from his title April 12, 2013. In 26 years as a collegiate head coach, Crews boasts a 387-355 record. He is 33-7 in two years at Saint Louis.

The Billikens are undefeated through their first five games for the third time in the last 16 years.

Barnett played at Wauwatosa East while sophomore guard Joey LePak played at Cedarburg.

Prediction

The praise that has been heaped on by the vanquished coaches at the Kohl Center podium has been notable over the past week. Bowling Green coach Louis Orr called Wisconsin "a tough team to cover" three times last week following a 24-point loss.

After the Badgers put five players in double figures two days after six players scored double digits, Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton could only be complimentary after his team shot over 55 percent and still lost by nine.

"Wisconsin will go far in March," said Sutton. "They are able to consistently make a wide variety of shots."

The offense has been important to Wisconsin over the opening stretch of the season. Kaminsky averaged 26.0 points per game last week, hitting double figures in all three contests, shot 67.4 percent from the field, going 29-of-43 overall, including an impressive 8-for-12 from 3-point range.

Jackson led the Badgers with seven assists and also added 11 points. Over the last four games, Jackson has a 20-to-6 assist-to-turnover radio. UW is averaging 80.2 points per game, up from 65.0 a year ago and leads the Big Ten shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from 3-point range. For perspective, last season the Badgers shot 42.0 percent overall and 33.0 percent from deep.

How Wisconsin fares against Saint Louis tonight will be another true measuring stick on this young season. The Billikens are the sixth opponent UW has faced this season which was picked to finish first or second in their league, or received first-place votes, and Saint Louis opponents are shooting 39.4 percent overall and 20.3 percent from 3-point range.

Saint Louis also has some dynamic scorers. Shooting 58.5 percent from the field, Evans was an Atlantic-10 first-team selection last season, and has led the Billikens in rebounding each of his first three seasons.

Wisconsin made some strides last week, but the Badgers are still giving up 68.2 points per game and are 304th in the nation in rebounding with 32.3 boards per game, two things that are very un-Wisconsin-like.

"After three games in five days, we have been able to see our defense develop over the week," said Jackson. "We know that we have to fix the little things in order to be successful."

Although the Badgers did tend to give up some easy and uncontested shots Saturday, Wisconsin was able to put pressure on the Golden Eagles whenever possible. With versatility working towards their advantage so far this season, the Badgers will need to maintain that this week.

Spending the upcoming week in Cancun will be seen as a business trip for the Badgers, and another great opportunity to bolster an already impressive resume. I picked Wisconsin to lose its season opener and they played well against a team that wasn't accustomed to UW's style. That's not the case for Saint Louis, who has been to back-to-back NCAA tournaments.

A true coin flip game (UW is only favored by 1.5 points), but I'll go with the Billikens in a slight five-point upset because UW's hot-shooting start will be stymied just enough.

Worgull's Record: 5-1

Points off Prediction: 57 (9.5 per game)


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