Chattanooga (1-0, 0-0 Southern) vs. No.3 Wisconsin (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Date/Time -Sunday, November 16, 12 p.m. Central
Arena –Kohl Center (17,279)
Television -ESPN News (Mike Couzens and Sean Harrington)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – First Meeting
Wisconsin Probable Starters
10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 6.0 ppg)
12 Traevon Jackson (6-3 Senior Guard, 9.0 ppg)
15 Sam Dekker (6-9 Junior Forward, 15.0 ppg)
21 Josh Gasser (6-4 Senior Guard, 6.0 ppg)
44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Senior Forward, 16.0 ppg)
Off the Bench
3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 1.0 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 2.0 ppg)
30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Sophomore Guard, 7.0 ppg)
Chattanooga Probable Starters
0 Chuck Ester (6-7 Sophomore Forward, 9.0 ppg)
1 Greg Pryor (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 13.0 ppg)
5 Justin Tuoyo (6-10 Sophomore Forward, 11.0 ppg)
23 Tre McLean (6-5 Sophomore Forward, 9.0 ppg)
24 Casey Jones (6-5 Junior Guard, 12.0 ppg)
Off the Bench
14 Alex Bran (6-1 Junior Guard, 9.0 ppg)
15 Eric Robertson (6-4 Junior Guard, 11.0 ppg)
20 Duke Ethridge (6-6 Junior Forward, 13.0 ppg)
22 Shaq Preston (6-3 Freshman Guard, 11.0 ppg)
Last Time Out
MADISON - Finally being able to put all the preseason awards, magazine covers and national attention behind them, No.3 Wisconsin kicked off its highly anticipated season with a dominating 62-31 victory over Northern Kentucky.
The Norse returned 12 players that averaged over 10 minutes per game last season, including 12 of the team’s top 13 scorers. All well and good, but the Badgers – unanimous favorites to win the Big Ten – returned seven of their top eight scorers, including four starters with something to prove.
Too big, too strong and too experienced, Wisconsin (1-0) shot 48.9 percent and were able to hold the Norse to 26.4 percent shooting (14-for-53).
Facing a team whose tallest players were 6-7, the 7-0 Frank Kaminksy and 6-8 Nigel Hayes had a field day. The senior All-American scored seven of his game-high 16 points consecutively in the first half and registered his third career double-double by adding 11 rebounds.
Hayes – making his first career start - set a new career high in rebounds in the game’s first 17 minutes, finishing with 10 rebounds to go along with his six points and two blocks.
Junior Sam Dekker also added 15 points.
Prior to tip off, members of the 2013-14 squad formally received their Final Four rings with the NCAA West Region trophy at center court. Ben Brust, a senior off last year’s squad now playing overseas, introduced a video montage recapping last season before the 2014 Final Four banner was lifted into the rafters. It now hangs next to banners honoring the 1941 and 2000 Final Four teams and the 1941 national championship team.
Whether it was the ceremony or the start of a new season, Wisconsin needed a few minutes to shake the cobwebs. They were scoreless on their first three trips and let the Norse score on their first possession.
The upset bid didn’t last long. Wisconsin went on an 18-4 run from that point and kept pouring it on with solid interior defense, attacking the glass and stellar ball movement, all strong traits of Ryan’s clubs.
Wisconsin finished the game with a 42-28 edge on the glass and had 13 assists on 23 baskets, including eight of 11 in the first half.
The Norse (0-1) crept back into the game at 21-15, but didn’t score the final five minutes of the first half or the first 15:30 the second. That resulted in a 24-0 run for the Badgers that put the game permanently out of reach.
- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com
Wisconsin is a perfect 9-0 against the Southern Conference. The Badgers haven’t played a team of the Southern Conference since beating Samford, 87-51, on December 29, 2013.
The Badgers opened their regular season with a win for the 13th-straight year. UW has won its past 13 season openers by an average of 28.2 points per game, including an 86-75 win over St. John’s in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last season. Wisconsin won its home opener for the 17th-straight season, and is a perfect 17-0 in home openers at the Kohl Center.
UW is 132-30 (.815) in non-conference games under Ryan, and have won 17 consecutive non-conference games. In addition, the Badgers improved to 82-2 (.976) at the Kohl Center under Ryan against the teams outside of the six major conferences and have won their past 55 against such opponents.
The Badgers improved to 196-21 (.903) at home under Ryan, including a 99-7 (.934) record in non-conference home tilts. UW is 232-33 (.875) at the Kohl Center.
Senior Frank Kaminsky was 7-for-12 from the floor, and added four assists. Kaminsky tallied double-digit rebounds for the sixth time in his career. Wisconsin is now 16-1 when Kaminsky records 15 or more points.
Junior Sam Dekker finished with 15 points, including 13 in the second half. It marked the 50th time in his career that Dekker tallied double-digit points. The Badgers improved to 18-2 when Dekker scores 15 or more points.
The Mocs won its season opener Friday 110-53 over Hiwassee College, winning by at least 50 points for the 18th time since transitioning to a Division 1 program in 1977.
The Mocs held a 54-27 advantage on the glass led by Justin Tuoyo’s 13. Chattanooga had more offensive rebounds (20) than Hiwassee had defensive (18), leading to 23-0 margin on 2nd chance points.
Chattanooga shot 54.4 percent (37-68) from the field and made 28 of 41 two-point attempts, a 68.3 percent clip.
No Chattanooga student-athlete played more than 20 minutes.
Chattanooga comes off an 18-15 campaign with the second-place finish in the Southern Conference at 12-4. Three of five starters and seven of 12 letter winners are back for year two of the Will Wade Era.
For the first time playing in a regulation game this season, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan expected what he got from his team Friday night; a little rust but a group that relied on its fundamentals for success. But he feels the Badgers can get better and so does his players.
Nigel Hayes, who was jokingly labeled as one of the worst rebounders in the country last year by assistant coach Gary Close, got off to a good start rebounding with 10, but says he left a couple out there.
Vitto Brown showed he can be a tremendous asset off the bench for the Badgers, finishing 3-for-3 from the field, scoring seven points and adding four rebounds, but is now 1-for-7 from the free throw line in his career.
“I think once he gets some more playing time in the next couple games, probably 10 games in, he’ll be more confident,” said Hayes.
The Badgers can also get better defensively, which could mean bad news for the opponents on UW’s schedule.
The Badgers held the Norse to 14-of-53 shooting (26.4) from the field, 2-of-16 (12.5) from beyond the arc, 15 points in the first half and 31 for the game.
“Everyone knows everyone’s strengths,” said Kaminsky. “We try to play to that.”
The challenge this afternoon for Wisconsin is completely different than what it was a little over 36 hours ago, as the Mocs are from the methodical style of Northern Kentucky.
Having coached under VCU coach Shaka Smart for four seasons, helping the Rams to a 111-37 (.750) record, three NCAA appearances and a Final Four run in 2011, and at Richmond with Smart before that, Wade has brought that same Smart style to southeast Tennessee.
At Chattanooga, “Chaos” takes over as the on-court persona for the program. According to the team’s website, Chaos’ offensive goals are lead the Southern Conference in scoring, top 20 nationally in turnover margin, top 40 nationally in offensive rebound percentage, shoot 35 percent or better from 3-point range and average 67+ possessions per game.
Defensively, Chaos’ goals are to finish in the top three in the conference in scoring defense, top 20 nationally in turnovers forced and steals, 35 or more deflections per game and eight or more student-athletes with positive scores on the effort chart each game.
For a team that return 61 percent of their scoring, 58 percent of their rebounding, 68 percent of their assists, 34 percent of their blocks and 68 percent of their steals, it’s a challenge.
“They are a little more up-tempo, a little more full-court action (than Northern Kentucky),” said Close. “They are well coached.”
The Mocs had six players in double figures and nine players who scored at least nine points in their season-opening win.
“We don’t want to be so reliant on one person,” Wade said after the game. “We were very reliant on one person last season, and we don’t want to be like that this year. It was nice to see the balance with the guys that way you never know who’s going to be able to step up or who’s going to be able to make plays each night.”
That’s all well and good, but Chattanooga has the same problem that Northern Kentucky had, which is the inability to simulate the size of Wisconsin. The Norse choose to commit everybody into the paint to try to stop the post dominance. That resulted in Wisconsin getting wide-open looks from the perimeter. The Mocs only have one player over 6-7, so it’s a pick-your-poison problem, which benefits Wisconsin.
Wisconsin proved it can play up-tempo last season, along with any other style the game dictated. This game will be closer than Friday’s contest, but the Badgers still stay perfect on the young season with a 27-point win.
Points off Prediction: 2 (2.0 per game)