Breakdown: Marquette at No.8 Wisconsin

Finally back at home after a three game road trip, No.8 Wisconsin looks for its 10th straight win to open the season when it takes on a struggling, yet talented, Marquette squad who has beaten UW the last two years. Badger Nation breaks down the matchup.

Marquette (5-3, 0-0 Big East) at No.8 Wisconsin (9-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Saturday, December 7, 1:15 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,249)

Television -Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson and Mike Kelley)

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

Series – Wisconsin leads 64-55 (Wisconsin leads 37-16 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Marquette won, 60-50, on December 8, 2012 in Milwaukee

Wisconsin Probable Starters

1 Ben Brust (6-1 Senior Guard, 11.2 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Junior Guard, 11.1 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 13.8 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Junior Guard, 10.4 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Junior Forward, 15.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

10 Nigel Hayes (6-7 Freshman Forward, 4.2 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-9 Junior Forward, 4.3 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-3 Freshman Guard, 3.4 ppg)

Marquette Probable Starters

0 Jamil Wilson (6-7 Senior Forward, 10.5 ppg)

10 Juan Anderson (6-6 Junior Guard, 4.4 ppg)

12 Derrick Wilson (6-1 Junior Guard, 5.5 ppg)

23 Jake Thomas (6-3 Senior Guard, 7.3 ppg)

42 Chris Otule (6-11 Senior Center, 7.4 ppg)

Off the Bench

4 Todd Mayo (6-3 Junior Guard, 10.0 ppg)

5 JaJuan Johnson (6-5 Freshman Guard, 5.6 ppg)

25 Steve Taylor (6-7 Sophomore Forward, 2.4 ppg)

30 Deonte Burton (6-4 Freshman Guard, 5.0 ppg)

54 Davante Gardner (6-8 Senior Forward, 14.0 ppg)

Last Time Out

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Bo Ryan picked up his 300th win as coach at Wisconsin as the Badgers held off Virginia to win a defensive struggle, 48-38. The Badgers defense allowed only 3 of 20 shooting from the field in the second half, and 11 of 47 overall, allowing Wisconsin (9-0) to survive despite shooting 28.8 percent.

Unlike last year's B1G-ACC challenge game against Virginia in the Kohl Center, the Badgers did a much better job on Virginia seniors Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell, who last year combined for 33 points. One difference was the presence of Josh Gasser, who missed last season with a knee injury – his defense on Harris limited the preseason All-ACC first-team pick to shoot just 1 of 10 from the floor.

"He's a great player," Gasser said of Harris. "I just tried my best out there to not give him any easy looks and fight through screens ...Usually he makes a lot of those shots, but today he didn't."

Gasser was the main reason, who also led Wisconsin with 11 points in 35 minutes.

"He's so tough," said Ryan of Gasser.

Mitchell, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds in last year's game, struggled with foul trouble, picking up his third foul with 7:32 remaining in the half, causing Virginia coach Tony Bennett to keep him on the bench until the 13:36 mark in the second half. He ended this game with five points and three rebounds. Darion Atkins also struggled with foul trouble in the first half, being benched at the 10:56 mark.

Overall, the Badgers snagged 12 offensive rebounds, scoring 13 second chance points. Frank Kaminsky led the Badgers with 12 rebounds, 9 in the first half, equally split between offensive and defensive. Kaminsky also led the team at halftime with seven points. The team ended up with 40 rebounds to Virginia's 34.

The fact that Gasser was the only player in the game to reach double digits in scoring prompted Ryan to comment after the game that he didn't know of any other game during the shot clock and 3-point line era to only have a single double-digit scorer.

Overall, both teams shot poorly. The Badgers shot 28.8 percent from the floor, and 21.7 percent from three. Virginia shot just 11 of 47 from the floor, and 1 of 11 from three point range, including making just 5 of their last 37 shots from the floor, many of which were contested layups that could not find the bottom of the basket. The 38 points were the school's second lowest output since the shot clock era began in 1986, and the lowest scored at John Paul Jones Arena.

Last Meeting

MILWAUKEE - Marquette guards Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue pummeled their UW counterparts, scoring a combined 35 points as Marquette held off a late charge to make it two straight over its rivals to the west, a wire-to-wire 60-50 victory, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Also playing without senior forward Mike Bruesewitz (concussion), Wisconsin (6-4) fell to 1-4 against 2012 tournament teams, and have lost its most game prior to conference play since UW coach Bo Ryan's first year in 2001.

"Definitely discouraged," said senior Jared Berggren, who finished tied a team-high with 9 points. "Basically every big test we've had, we've come up short."

For two players in Wisconsin's starting lineup and two of the first three players off the bench, it was the first time on the court in the longest nonconference rivalry for Wisconsin basketball. It showed in an ugly first 20 minutes.

Wisconsin's youth at guard was exposed by Marquette's speed, transition offense and by Blue, who switched his commitment in October 2009 to Marquette from Wisconsin so he could play a more up-tempo style.

Debuting the pace of play he coveted and one that the Badgers failed to keep it, Blue was active driving to the basket, swift on his pull-up jumpers and deadly on his perimeter shooting, especially swishing his two three-point heaves just before the shot clock expired.

Marquette scored 13 fast-break points off 10 Wisconsin turnovers in the first half. The fast-break points got so bad that Wisconsin allowed junior Davante Gardner – all 290 pound of him – to grab the defensive rebound and rumble 50 feet down the floor for a layup on the other end, forcing Ryan to burn a timeout to cease momentum on an 11-2 run that led to a 34-20 halftime lead.

Blue, the one-time Wisconsin commit, scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half, and kept his defensive intensity high throughout the game while not committing a turnover.

On the flip side, guards Ben Brust (3-for-13, two turnovers), Traevon Jackson (1-for-6, four turnovers) and Zak Showalter (two turnovers) struggled to slow the tempo to Wisconsin's liking and prevent outlet opportunities.

Starting for the first time in place of Bruesewitz, freshman Sam Dekker scored UW's first five points, but finished 2-for-10 and six points. He led the team with eight rebounds, as Wisconsin shot 32.7 percent (17-for-52).

Series Notes

Wisconsin and Marquette have played every year but one since the 1958-59 season (did not play in 1984-85).

Marquette is Wisconsin's most played nonconference rival.

Bo Ryan owns a 6-6 record against Marquette, including 4-2 in Madison and 2-3 against Buzz Williams-led teams.

Wisconsin is 91-83 against schools currently in the Big East. UW is 1-0 against the Big East this season, beating St. John's in the season opener.

Wisconsin Notes

The Badgers are off to a 9-0 start for the first time since the 1993-94 season when they opened the season 11-0 under head coach Stu Jackson. UW's No.8 ranking in the AP poll is the team's highest since ending the 2007-08 season No.6

The badgers are the only team in the nation with nine or more wins and have gone 9-0 against teams with a combined record of 45-14 (.763) in all other games.

Wisconsin has topped 80 points in three games and is averaging 73.6 points per game, up 8.6 points per game from last season. Wisconsin's 38 points allowed at Virginia were UW's fewest in a road game since 1957.

The Badgers are the only team in the Big Ten to have five players averaging in double figures.

Marquette Notes

MU is currently second in the league in rebounding offense (41.4 rpg.), second in rebound margin (+7.4) and first in offensive caroms (14.5 orpg.). Led by senior forward Davante Gardner's 7.0 boards per outing, the Golden Eagle roster features seven players contributing at least 3.3 rebounds per contest.

Through the first eight games this season, Marquette is averaging 28 trips to the charity stripe. Unfortunately for MU, the team has connected on just 64.7 percent (143-of- 221) of its opportunities.

Senior center Chris Otule is back for his sixth season with the Golden Eagles after receiving a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA following the 2012-13 campaign. Otule has had three previous seasons cut short by injury, but started each of the team's 35 outings in 2012-13 and posted averages of 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 17.7 minutes per contest. He led the team in both field goal percentage (.634) and blocked shots (36).

For the first time since Marquette joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005-06, the Golden Eagles have been selected to finish first in the league in the annual preseason coaches poll. MU received five first-place votes (74 total) and finished just ahead of Georgetown (70) and Creighton (61).


Marquette had looked lost throughout the early parts of the season, especially offensively. Marquette scored only 35 points in a home loss to Ohio State and then only 58 against New Hampshire. The Warriors … err, Golden Eagles made some strides on their four game West Coast road trip last week.

Marquette shot better than 40 percent from the field in all four games (they had only done that once in their first four games), improved their field goal efficiency by over 18 percent and scored an average of 22.5 points more per game.

In the last three games, the Golden Eagles connected on 47.9 percent (81-of-169) of their opportunities from the field, which included a 16-of-42 (38.1 percent) effort from behind the 3-point line. Entering last Thursday's matchup with Cal State Fullerton, MU was shooting just 38.7 percent from the field as a team and 22.3 percent from long distance.

Part of that scoring increase is thanks in part to Wilson and Burton. Wilson scored only four points through Marquette's first four games, but averaged 10 points per contest while shooting 50.0 percent (15-of-30) from the field and 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from the free throw line.

Burton, a former Milwaukee Vincent standout, had a similar outburst, scoring 15 points off the bench against San Diego State after scoring 25 in his first seven games. Although Marquette doesn't have a dominant scorer at the moment, the Golden Eagles do have depth. Each of the 11 active scholarship players on the roster is averaging at least 10 minutes per contest. The shared playing time has allowed 11 players to collect at least one double-digit scoring game this season.

While Marquette's numbers are better after its four game West Coast swing, the Golden Eagles allowed 14.3 points per game more against better competition, and Wisconsin will be the best team Marquette has played to this point this season.

The mood and the comments on Thursday, a day after a big road win, was virtually the same from Wisconsin players, because the Badgers had the same post-game feel following last year's Virginia game as the Marquette game.

Wisconsin's players didn't shoot well (32.7 percent) and saw its two primary weapons – Dekker and Brust – go a combined 5-for-23. UW's defense also was lacking, with Marquette shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and seeing Gardner to go for 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes. Marquette outrebounded Wisconsin by four and dominated points in the paint, 36-10.

Gardner leads the team in points (14.0) and rebounds (7.0) per game, so containing him is of upmost importance.

Wisconsin has been humbled by a more aggressive team the last two years in this rivalry. I don't expect that to happen to this team who can either out score and grind opponents down, depending on the night. This is a motivated team, and UW goes to 10-0 with a 10-point win.

Worgull's Record: 6-3

Points off Prediction: 82 (9.1 per game)

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