Marquette (5-3) is struggling – going 3-3 its last six games and scored only 35 points at home against Ohio State. Despite the early season struggles Marquette has three players averaging double figures a game.
In this Badger Nation feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin to have success against their in state rival Marquette.
Lay up: Can Wisconsin shoot the basketball better then they did against Virginia?
The Badgers had their worst shooting performance on the year - going 15 of 52 (28.8 percent) from the field. The Cavaliers did a good job of taking away the paint from the Badgers, which forced them to take perimeter shots.
The Golden Eagles are giving up a respectable 61.8 points per game, meaning Wisconsin needs to find a way to get the basketball inside and be physical on the low block, something the Badgers have struggled with the last two years against Marquette.
If Frank Kaminsky can establish his presence down low, it will allow the Badgers guards to attack the rim and get to the free throw line. Marquette is averaging 22 fouls per game, so the Badgers should have their opportunities at the free throw line.
Mid-range jumper: Can the Badgers keep up this defensive performance?
There is no question the Badgers put together their best defensive performance of the year at Virginia, but the Badgers have steadily improved their defense over the last three games.
The Badgers have had to win some games this season that were closer than expected because the Badgers struggled to slow anyone down. But the Badgers continued to work on their defense and finally got the defensive performance the players, but most importantly the coaches, expected against Virginia, holding the Cavaliers to 38 points on 23.4 percent shooting.
Kaminsky and Josh Gasser have been key in the improved defense the last couple of games. Gasser was able to help shut down Joe Harris (the first-team all-conference selection had only two points on 1-for-10 shooting) and Kaminsky has been able to start protecting the rim. Over the last five games Kaminsky has averaged 2.2 blocks. Even if Kaminsky can't block a shot he's been able to contest.
Forwards Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner are Marquette's top two scorers, so Kaminsky will have a busy day trying to defend the paint. Kaminsky will have to be smart where he doesn't reach and get into foul trouble.
Kaminsky won't be able to do it alone on defense. Nigel Hayes still may not be there defensively but he has been playing solid on the defensive side over the last three games. Hayes has four blocks in the last three games.
Dekker failed to score in double digits for the second time this season on Wednesday, but still managed to get to the line seven times and knock down five of his free throws. If Dekker can beat his man off the dribble and possibly get some easy buckets early, it should allow him to get into a good rhythm. Expect Dekker to come out looking for his shot. If the Badgers are going to overcome the poor shooting performance against Virginia, Dekker is going to have to come out and be able to score across the perimeter or down low, which would open up the rest of the court for his teammates.
Like Dekker, Brust struggled to get anything going on offense, going scoreless in the first half before scoring eight in the second half. Look for the Badgers to try and get Brust open with screens or with easy put backs. If Kaminsky can box out and allow Brust to attack the rim to get an offensive rebound, the senior should be able to get something going.