The Badgers lost to the Cavaliers a year ago in Madison and would like nothing more then to pay Virginia back this year. It won't be an easy game for the Badgers. The Cavaliers are 7-1 on the year and have won six straight since a three-point setback to then No.14- Virginia Commonwealth. With this being the first true road game for Wisconsin against a power six conference, the Badgers will need to be ready for a battle.
In this Badger Nation feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin to have success in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge when they play Virginia.
Lay up: Can the Badgers win the rebounding battle
Although the Badgers have outrebounded their opponents by an average of 2.5 rebounds, they still need to do a better job of boxing out and preventing their opponent second-chance opportunities.
The Cavaliers are averaging 39 rebounds a game, which ranks 77th in the NCAA, and are averaging 12 offensive rebounds a game. With the Badgers still working on their defensive game they can't allow the Cavaliers any second-chance opportunities.
A little over a year ago, Akil Mitchell (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Darion Arkins (seven rebounds) almost grabbed as many individual rebounds (18) as the six UW players who were credited with rebounds, one of the big reasons Virginia escaped Madison with a six-point victory.
Wisconsin has started to do a better job of preventing second-chance opportunities but limiting second-chance opportunities can take the Cavalier crowd out of the game.
Mid-range jumper: Can the Badgers win the free throw battle?
The Cavaliers are averaging 15.4 fouls a game so Wisconsin should get to the free throw line. Wisconsin is better from the free throw line a year ago – up to 73 percent after shooting 63 percent a year ago - but Wisconsin still needs to improve.
With the Badgers guards attacking the rim more consistently then they did a year ago, Wisconsin is getting to the free throw line often. Sam Dekker is one of the more consistent Badgers to attack the hoop but is struggling at the line - shooting 59.3 percent. For someone who's as good of a shooter as Dekker, his early struggles are a little surprising.
Dekker isn't the only one who will be counted on to make his free throws. When Wisconsin gets there they have to be able to knock them down.
3-pointer: Who defends Joe Harris?
Harris destroyed the Badgers last year on defense - scoring 22 points on 8-for-19 shooting and was 5-for-6 from the free throw line. This year Harris is averaging 12.4 points on 60 percent shooting.
Dekker may be asked to help defend the 6-6 Harris because he can match up better with the senior, but Dekker can't have any lazy moments on the defensive end like he had at times this year.
The Badgers guards will most likely rotate in trying to keep containment of Harris, with Traevon Jackson and Josh Gasser being the main two rotating defenders on Harris. Although he looks to be over his injury, Gasser may struggle at times to keep up with Harris so it will be key for the Badgers to communicate and deliver on the switches.
If Wisconsin can slow Harris down, the Cavaliers will try and get Harris open using screens. It will be important for Wisconsin to be able to hedge them so Harris doesn't get an open looks.