Date/Time -Saturday, January 18, 5 p.m. Central
Arena –Kohl Center (17,279)
Television -ESPN (Bob Wischusen and Dan Dakich)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Michigan leads 87-69 (Wisconsin leads 46-32 in Madison)
Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 68-59, on March 5, 2013 in the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago
Wisconsin Probable Starters
1 Ben Brust (6-1 Senior Guard, 13.1 ppg)
12 Traevon Jackson (6-2 Junior Guard, 11.4 ppg)
15 Sam Dekker (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 14.0 ppg)
21 Josh Gasser (6-3 Junior Guard, 8.7 ppg)
44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Junior Forward, 13.5 ppg)
Off the Bench
10 Nigel Hayes (6-7 Freshman Forward, 6.8 ppg)
13 Duje Dukan (6-9 Junior Forward, 3.6 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-3 Freshman Guard, 3.7 ppg)
Michigan Probable Starters
1 Glenn Robinson III (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 13.9 ppg)
10 Derrick Walton (6-1 Freshman Guard, 8.5 ppg)
11 Nick Stauskas (6-6 Sophomore Guard, 17.7 ppg)
23 Caris LeVert (6-5 Sophomore Guard, 11.5 ppg)
52 Jordan Morgan (6-8 Senior Forward, 4.6 ppg)
Off the Bench
2 Spike Albrecht (5-11 Sophomore Guard, 3.8 ppg)
15 Jon Horford (6-10 Junior Forward, 5.3 ppg)
21 Zak Irvin (6-6 Freshman Guard, 6.9 ppg)
Last Time Out
No.3 Wisconsin shot the lights out, finishing at 53.3 percent and put all five starters in double figures, but couldn't stop Indiana's post penetration or the Hoosiers' offense throughout the second half in a 75-72 defeat at Assembly Hall.
Indiana (12-5, 2-2) shot 51.6 percent from the field to counter UW and scored 69.3 percent of its points (52) in the paint on UW's interior lineup.
"We gave up a lot of layups and dunks and stuff in transition," said Brust, as Wisconsin has given up 39.3 points in the low post the last three games. "Stuff we need to take away if we're going to be successful."
Jackson led Wisconsin with a season-high 21 points, but said the Badgers struggled contesting shots with the way Indiana's guards draw fouls and how the game was being officiated.
Wisconsin was looking to tie the 2006-07 UW team for the longest win streak in the modern era, a streak that also ended in Assembly Hall. That '07 Hoosiers win also marked the last time Indiana had beaten Wisconsin, a span of 12 games that was tied for the longest losing streak Indiana had against any program.
It appeared like the dominance would continue opening stretch of the second half, thanks to Jackson. After playing only eight minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Jackson hit his first five shots in the half – seven straight overall - and scored 11 of UW's first 14 points in the half.
When Dekker hit a 3-pointer with 13:28 left that capped a 17-8 run to start the half, a pin drop could be heard in the arena. It didn't stay that way for long.
Wisconsin went scoreless for the next 4:52, allowing the Hoosiers to rip off a 12-0 run to take its first lead since the opening three minutes. The run eventually ballooned to 19-5 and the Badgers never fully regained control, not with Indiana running through the Badgers in transition, staying aggressive and finishing at the hoop.
Wisconsin kept the game close the final 8:36, tying the game four more times and never trailing my more than five, but only managed four free throw attempts and didn't makes its first one until there was just over a minute remaining.
The Badgers had a chance to tie in the final 18.5 seconds, but that was almost as disorganized as UW's post defense. Out of timeouts and down three, Jackson attempted a 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of 6-10 freshman Noah Vonleh that went off the front iron.
Gasser corralled the rebound and kicked it out to Brust in front of the UW bench, but Brust attempted an off-balanced attempt with 6.6 seconds left that had no chance. Indiana grabbed the rebound, dribbled out the clock and sent the students on to the court.
- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com
CHICAGO - As hard as it was for No.22 Wisconsin to find the bottom of the net early, it was impossible for the Badgers not to miss down the stretch. Sparked by a 10-0 run early in the second half, No.22 Wisconsin made 15 of its first 22 shots, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range, to shoot by No.8 Michigan, 68-59, in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals at the United Center.
Wisconsin (22-10) shot 60.7 percent after halftime to sweep the season series against the Wolverines.
"When we play together as a team, we can beat anybody," said Jackson, who facilitated the comeback. "(Michigan) are NBA guys, but we believe in ourselves as well. We got a really talented group of guys and when we come together, we can beat anybody."
After taking 44.8 percent (13 of 29) of its first-half shots from behind the perimeter, Wisconsin dipped that number to 32 percent (9 of 28) in the second half by attacking the rim and drawing contact. The result was Wisconsin scoring 18 points in the paint (compared to four in the second half) and scoring a season-high 51 points for the half.
Putting that number in perspective, there were six games this season when the Badgers didn't reach 51 on the scoreboard.
The production wasn't limited to one source either. Ryan Evans scored 12 points, dishing out a career-high six assists. Mike Bruesewitz registered eight rebounds to go along with his eight points, which included two cold-blooded 3-pointers in the second half to keep Wisconsin ahead for the final 17:21 of the game.
Frank Kaminsky shot 60 percent from the field for the first time since the win at Indiana and Brust registered 14 points and made all three of his second-half 3-pointers, the last of which game Wisconsin its biggest lead at 11 with 6:01 to go.
Jared Berggren only had eight points, but his buckets on back-to-back possessions early in the second half gave the Badgers the lead for good and established their presence in the post.
The post penetration led to kick outs for open 3-pointers that were better guarded in the first half. With Michigan (26-7) collapsing its pressure, Wisconsin started firing and shot 66.7 percent (6-for-9) from 3-point range after halftime.
It wouldn't be a Wisconsin conference game, however, if it didn't become a nail biter at some point. With Berggren and Jackson on the bench with four fouls a piece after UW took its biggest lead, Michigan's 9-0 run was facilitated by production of conference player of the year Trey Burke.
The sophomore had seven of his points during the run, bringing Michigan to within 56-54 with 3:37 remaining. Wisconsin burned a timeout and then got back to work. Held to three points or less in the last four games, Kaminsky made a pull-up jumper that bounced softly around the rim and in as the final seconds of the shot clock ticked off.
That sparked an 11-2 run for Wisconsin, who closed out the Wolverines from that point forward.
- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com
Wisconsin has won 12 of the last 13 meetings with Michigan overall, including a season sweep a year ago.
Wisconsin has won 11 consecutive home games against Michigan, the longest home winning streak in series history. The Badgers are 11-1 against UM at the Kohl Center all-time, including a mark of 10-0 under Bo Ryan.
Michigan's last win in Madison was a 51-39 win in 1999 that was later vacated by the NCAA. UM's last official win in Madison came in a 69-68 overtime decision in 1991.
Michigan has not scored more than 62 points vs. UW since an 85-76 win in 2006, a span of 13 games.
? Ryan owns a 17-5 record against Michigan overall, which includes a mark of 11-1 vs. Michigan head coach John Beilein.
? Ryan and Beilein rank 5th and 6th, respectively, on the career wins list among active Div. I coaches.
UW boasts its most productive offense in 19 years, but has remained true to its roots. The Badgers are second in the Big Ten in scoring defense allowing 61.9 points per game, lead the nation in fewest TOs (8.3 per game) and are 2nd in NCAA in fewest fouls committed (14.9 per game).
Wisconsin is 3-1 in the Big Ten. This is the 9th time in the last 11 seasons that the Badgers have opened conference play 3-1 or better.
Wisconsin leads the Big Ten shooting 39.2% from deep. UW shot 33.0% from 3-point range a year ago, good for 7th in the Big Ten.
Brust has hit multiple triples in all but 2 games this season, including a season-high 6 against Bowling Green and 5 against Eastern Kentucky.
The last time Michigan opened Big Ten play with a 4-0 record was in 2002-03, when the Wolverines won their first six conference matchups.
Michigan begins a stretch of three straight games against nationally ranked opponents. The last time U-M faced three straight ranked foes in the regular season was during the 2011-12 season as U-M went 1-2 -- at No. 4 Ohio State (L, 64-49, Jan. 29), No. 20 Indiana (W, 68-56, Feb 1) and at No. 9 Michigan State (L, 64-54, Feb, 5).
Michigan will have five of its next eight conference games on the road.
Glenn Robinson III and Spike Albrecht have not missed a game in their young careers, playing in 55 straight. In fact, Robinson has started all 55 games, while Albrecht has come off the bench in all 55.
Robinson III has scored in double figures in 13 games this season and is averaging 13.9 points per game. In the first eight games of the season, he averaged 11.6 points per game; however, he has picked up his scoring, averaging 16.2 points per game in the next eight outings.
Wisconsin had a lot of improving to do defensively dating back to its August Canada trip, a trip that was all offense and very little deference for a group still learning to play together. It's come piece by piece since that point for UW, registering some impressive nonconference performances, but the level of intensity in Big Ten play has caused a stall in that improvement.
Associate head coach Greg Gard said that what stood out from Wisconsin's defense performance on Tuesday at Indiana was there wasn't one at times. Late to get to areas that caused a lot of mildly-contested shots, or attempts that were not contested at all, the Badgers' attention to detail and focus appeared to hit a new low when it allowed 52 points in the paint in the three-point loss.
"I don't think we've been where we need to be defensively all year," said Gard. "That's an area this team needs to grow in. Obviously the personality of this team is a little different and each team matures defensively from year to year based on the personal. The individual pieces mature defensively … We know we need to clean up things defensively and become better as a unit."
It wasn't just one person in the Indiana game that was guilty of bad defense, but practically all eight who played who were guilty of not being in the right place defensively, not rotating soon enough or not rotating in the right place, which caused driving lanes for the Hoosiers.
"I think we had a lack of aggression, a lack of focus a little bit on both ends in the second half," said Dekker. "I think we were on offense a little less focused … We weren't focused enough and we weren't doing what we usually do."
The test doesn't get any easy for Wisconsin today with Michigan, undefeated in conference play and having successfully overcome the loss to Trey Burke (NBA) and Mitch McGary (back) by getting post production from Morgan and Horford. Morgan is shooting 67.4 percent and Horford is at 54.5, a big reason Michigan ranks first in the conference in field goal percentage (48.4 percent).
"A team nationally that nobody seems to want to talk about, and I don't know why," said Gard. "Nothing against Hardaway and Burke and the guys they had last year, they are very similar to us in terms of how they play offensively, in terms of how they share the ball, how they can drive and kick, they have a lot of guys who can shoot it."
Freshman Walton has started to fill in the shoes of Burke but Stauskas might be the conference's most improved player. A year after he was a catch-and-shoot player who teams could run off the line, Stauskas is now shot faking, play off ball screens, creating for himself, creating for others and doing things on the court that he was unable to do last year.
In 15 games, he is 39-for-71 on two-point field goals (54.9 percent). From long range, he ranks third in the Big Ten, going 37-for-82 (45.1 percent). He is also one of Michigan's leaders from the free throw line as he is 76-for-97 at the charity stripe (78.4 percent).
"He started to get a little bit of that late in the year last year," said Gard. "Now it's like a whole different player out there right now."
In the two games against Michigan a year ago, the Badgers were solid on guarding Stauskas off ball screens, denying him open looks from the perimeter and would dare him to shoot that in-between jumper. The result was Stauskas being a nonfactor last season, going a combined 2-for-16.
"I feel like there is very little teams can do that can completely eliminate everything from my game," said Stauskas. "Obviously last year if teams denied me the ball and didn't let me get catch-and-shoot threes, it pretty much took everything a lot of my offense. This year I feel like even if they do, I can still find ways to help this team win, whether that's getting to the basket and scoring, finding teammates or rebounding. I feel like I can still contribute."
Michigan and Wisconsin entered the week in the top three nationally in fewest fouls committed per game (Wisconsin, 1st, 14.9, Michigan, 3rd, 15.1) and the top five nationally in fewest turnovers per game (Wisconsin, 1st, 8.2, Michigan, 5th, 9.2), meaning this game will come down to execution.
Michigan coach John Beilein was complimentary that Wisconsin's offensive production was up, averaging he estimated 10 more possessions a game, and that anybody on the floor can score, but also said the Wolverines are going to run and lob towards the rim to make some 50-50 plays.
Gard, Dekker and others believe the loss will refocus Wisconsin and the Badgers will be able to bounce back. This is an important game for Wisconsin with two tough road games ahead and to prove they can protect the rim. Although the verdict is still out on UW's defense, I like UW at home by eight.
Worgull's Record: 13-4
Points off Prediction: 135 (7.7 per game)