Date/Time -Saturday, December 28, 1 p.m. Central
Arena – Kohl Center (17,249)
Television -ESPNU (Jim Barbar and Tim McCormick)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Wisconsin leads 1-0 (Wisconsin leads 1-0 in Madison)
Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 99-55, on November 14, 2010 in Madison
Wisconsin Probable Starters
1 Ben Brust (6-1 Senior Guard, 12.7 ppg)
12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Junior Guard, 10.9 ppg)
15 Sam Dekker (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 14.3 ppg)
21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Junior Guard, 9.3 ppg)
44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Junior Forward, 14.6 ppg)
Off the Bench
10 Nigel Hayes (6-7 Freshman Forward, 5.1 ppg)
13 Duje Dukan (6-9 Junior Forward, 3.7 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-3 Freshman Guard, 3.5 ppg)
Prairie View A&M Probable Starters
5 Tre Hagood (6-2 Junior Guard, 6.0 ppg)
11 Hershey Robinson (6-7 Junior Forward, 6.4 ppg)
12 John Brisco (5-11 Junior Guard, 10.1 ppg)
31 Montrael Scott (6-3 Junior Guard, 14.2 ppg)
32 Demondre Chapman (6-7 Senior Forward, 12.2 ppg)
Off the Bench
00 Andre Adams (5-9 Junior Guard, 2.0 ppg)
3 Louis Munks (6-3 Senior Guard, 10.4 ppg)
15 Patrick Agho (6-8 Senior Forward, 2.3 ppg)
30 Karim York (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 5.9 ppg)
35 Reggis Onwukamuche (6-9 Junior Center, 1.9 ppg)
Last Time Out
No.4 Wisconsin shot a season-high 60.5 percent from the floor to cruise to an 86-61 victory over Eastern Kentucky Saturday; setting a modern-era school record for consecutive wins to start the season.
"We've got a lot of different pieces, and it's all coming together," said senior Ben Brust, as UW is a perfect 12-for-12 for the first time since 1915-16.
Most of the Badgers' offensive leaders were as expected. Three days after bemoaning his second-half shooting, senior Ben Brust scored 11 of his 20 points in the first seven minutes after halftime, including three 3-pointers, to help UW also shoot a season-high-tying 60 percent from 3-point range (9 of 15).
Sam Dekker finish with 16 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor in the first half, and junior Frank Kaminsky, a game-time decision with a right foot injury, added 13 points in 24 minutes of work. The surprise performance came from true freshman Nigel Hayes.
Hayes scored a career-high 17 points (in just 14 minutes of work) and did most of his damage from the free throw line. Attempting 21 free throws through his first 11 games, Hayes utilized his size advantage in the low post by getting to the free throw line nine separate times. Shooting 17 free throws, Hayes made 11.
One of the prized recruits in Wisconsin's 2013 signing class, Hayes bumped his scoring average from 4.0 to 5.1, crediting his performance to assistant coach Lamont Paris' post work with him and his guards beating Eastern Kentucky's pressure.
Hayes wasn't the only freshman to make an impact. With Traevon Jackson struggling with ball security, Bronson Koenig played 24 minutes and finished with four points, three rebounds and three assists.
"He got us out of a lot of jams," said UW coach Bo Ryan of Koenig. "He found open people … There aren't too many people who can break down what they do defensively the way he did."
After utilizing a pair of 10-0 runs Wednesday to put away Milwaukee, Wisconsin used another 10-0 spurt to make its move. Down 8-7, Brust hit a pair of 3-pointers and saw Kaminsky add four points on the next two possessions.
The run eventually swelled to 21-3 thanks to Dekker scoring seven and Hayes going 5-for-6 from the free throw line, not to mention the Badgers holding Eastern Kentucky (7-4) to 1-for-9 from the floor and forcing five turnovers.
Jon Leuer led the way with 24 points, Jordan Taylor added 20 and six assists and freshman Gasser opened his college career with 21 points and nine rebounds as the Badgers started their season with a 99-55 victory.
"It is the first game of the year," Ryan said. "We say the lights are on in exhibition games … but it's a little different, you have to play through some things."
The Badgers put some breathing room between themselves and the Panthers early in the second half with a 25-5 run that spanned 6 minutes, 15 seconds and put the result out of doubt.
Taylor scored nine during the run and Bruesewitz closed out the run with eight points sandwiched around a Taylor layup. Bruesewitz (two), Leuer and Taylor made threes during the spurt.
"I think the sky's the limit for our team, especially when we have guys like that coming out of the woodwork knocking down threes," Taylor said.
The Badgers own a perfect 9-0 all-time record vs. members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) UW hasn't played a SWAC opponent since beating Mississippi Valley State in December 2011.
Since 1980, the SWAC is 2-42 against teams from the Big Ten. The last time the SWAC recorded a win over the Big Ten occurred on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2003 in El Paso, Texas as Mississippi Valley State defeated Northwestern 49-47.
UW has proven it can win in any style this season, topping 80 points in 4 games and grinding out a defensive battle at Virginia. The Badgers' scoring average (74.7 ppg) is up 9.4 ppg from last season, while the 38 points allowed at UVA were UW's fewest given up in a road game since 1957.
Kaminsky is one just 7 players ranked among the top 20 of the Big Ten's scoring and rebounding lists (Dekker is also), leading UW with 14.6 ppg and 5.8 rpg.
All 5 starters have led UW in scoring in at least 1 game this season and are all shooting 39% or better from deep. The Badgers are one of just two teams in the Big Ten with 5 players averaging 9.0 ppg or more.
Wisconsin is 12-0 against teams that have posted a 92-37 record in all other games.
Prairie View A&M Notes
This marks the ninth consecutive road contest for the Panthers as they've been on the road since Nov. 19.
The 2013-14 Panther roster returns only one starter, seven letterwinners and adds seven newcomers.
The Panthers were picked to finish fourth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference this season. The team finished fifth in the regular season standings last season and fell in the championship of the 2013 SWAC Tournament. Senior post Jules Montgomery was named 2013-14 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
For the past three seasons, the Panthers have ranked amongst the nation's worst in free throw percentage. After three years of ranking next-to-last nationally in free throw percentage, PVAMU is ahead of the curve so far this year as they're shooting 68 percent (157-of-230) from the charity stripe this year. The average currently ranks fourth in the SWAC.
The non-conference slate hasn't been kind to Prairie View A&M head coach Byron Rimm II since he took over the reigns at Prairie View in 2006. In seven years, Rimm is 29-72 in nonconference match-ups with his only NCAA Division I wins coming against Bethune-Cookman, Houston, Navy, Norfolk State, Florida Gulf Coast and Stephen F. Austin. In SWAC play, Rimm holds a career mark of 60-66.
The last time Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan addressed the media mass – minutes after his team went to 12-0 following another impressive victory against a potential NCAA tournament team – he was asked at what point he realized that this year's team was pretty special.
In a way, he knew it from the very first day the group was together.
"They've done things well enough to be on the left-hand side," said Ryan. "There is still a lot of basketball to be played. I've always thought every team we've ever had was special; special being keep finding what they can do, what their weaknesses are, get them to be better, get them to believe in one another."
Break down this team from a coach's eyes and there are a lot of things for the Badgers to work on before conference play begins Jan.2 at Northwestern. The rebounding needs to be better, turnovers need to continue to be limited and UW needs to play more consistently at the start of games.
Those are all minor moot points, however, considering what Wisconsin has done through its first 12 games. Setting a new modern-era-program-record win mark to start the season, and earning some impressive resume-building wins to boot, the Badgers are averaging 74.7 points per game (right around 140th in the country), but are 26th in the country with 8.5 3-pointers made per game and have a balance offense with all five players averaging only nine points per game.
"The way we play hasn't changed," said Ryan. "They're still opportunistic. We just try to get the best look we can."
And in usual fashion, Wisconsin's defense is allowing 62.1 points (24th in the country), a main reason why UW is one of only 10 undefeated teams in the country and just four 12-0 teams.
The last two weeks have been a challenge for Wisconsin fans, forced to sit ideally while the Badgers took a break for final exams and the holidays. UW's 14 days off are its longest since taking 13 days off in December 2005. Unfortunately, the opponent the Badgers will be facing on Saturday will hardly be fulfilling.
Prairie View A&M is unquestionably the worst team on UW's nonconference schedule. The Panthers' 18.2 winning percentage is tied for 327th in division 1 (out of 345 teams). Prairie View A&M has been beaten by 37 points the last three games, and are 1-9 against d-1 teams this year (its only win coming against 2-13 Bethune-Cookman).
The last time UW saw these Panthers, Wisconsin had three players score 20 points for the first time since 1995 and put up 99 points for the first time since it put up 105 on Dec.28 1995 (UW hit the century mark for the first time in Ryan's tenure this year).
This game amounts to nothing more than a tune-up for the Badgers before conference play and a chance to knock the rust off. If the Badgers don't win by at least 38 points, it will be a surprise.
Worgull's Record: 9-3
Points off Prediction: 104 (8.7 per game)