Breakdown: Boise State vs. No.3 Wisconsin

Starting to overshadow his teammates in the early parts of the season, sophomore Nigel Hayes is creating a matchup nightmare he hopes will continue against a talented Boise State team picked to finish second in the Mountain West conference. BadgerNation breaks down the contest.

Boise State (3-0, 0-0 Mountain West) vs. No.3 Wisconsin (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time -Saturday, November 22, 9 p.m. Central

Arena –Kohl Center (17,279)

Television -Big Ten Network (Wayne Randazzo and Stephen Bardo)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Phil Dawson and Andy North)

Series – First Meeting

Wisconsin Probable Starters

10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 15.3 ppg)

12 Traevon Jackson (6-3 Senior Guard, 9.9 ppg)

15 Sam Dekker (6-9 Junior Forward, 17.3 ppg)

21 Josh Gasser (6-4 Senior Guard, 7.3 ppg)

44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Senior Forward, 17.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 3.3 ppg)

13 Duje Dukan (6-10 Senior Forward, 5.0 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 1.7 ppg)

30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Sophomore Guard, 5.0 ppg)

Boise State Probable Starters

2 Derrick Marks (6-3 Senior Guard, 8.0 ppg)

3 Anthony Drmic (6-6 Senior Forward, 20.7 ppg)

5 Joe Hanstad (6-4 Senior Guard, 1.3 ppg)

13 Nick Duncan (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 10.0 ppg)

33 Nick Wacker (6-10 Freshman Forward, 8.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Mikey Thompson (6-4 Junior Guard, 12.0 ppg)

4 Kevin Allen (6-11 Junior Center, 5.3 ppg)

21 Montigo Alford (5-9 Junior Guard, 5.3 ppg)

22 Rob Heyer (6-3 Senior Guard, 4.0 ppg)

Last Time Out

MADISON - Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes again used their size advantage to register double doubles, as the Badgers overcame a woeful shooting night from the free throw line to distance itself from Green Bay in the second half for an 84-60 victory at the Kohl Center Wednesday night.

Hayes finished with a team and career-high 25 points, including two crucial 3-pointers on consecutive possessions – one from each elbow - in the second half around the 13 minute mark that finally allowed Wisconsin (3-0) to feel generate some space against the feisty Phoenix.

“He’s another year better,” UW coach Bo Ryan said of Hayes, “and look out.”

Hayes also finished in double digits rebounding for the third consecutive game, finishing off his second straight double-double with 11 rebounds. The 2014 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, Hayes is pulling down 11.3 rebounds per game, but appeared more concerned with missing four of his 11 free throws.

“I missed four free throws, which is shocking,” said Hayes. “I felt like I missed nine.”

Kaminsky finished three blocks shy of a triple double, pouring in 20 points and 15 points, his third straight double-digit rebounding game. Junior Sam Dekker added 19, as UW’s three bigs scored a combined 64 points on 22-for-36 shooting, not to mention securing 30 of the team’s 45 rebounds.

When a reporter suggested they likely wouldn’t get that kind of production every night from the front court, Kaminsky simply rebutted ‘Why not?’

“We’re going to try,” said Kaminsky. “We’ve got a lot of weapons on this team. This is a pretty deep team. Things were clicking on the right cylinders for us tonight. We went out and everyone had a good game. I don’t see why we can’t do this more going forward.”

A year after pouring in 32 points against the Badgers, senior guard Keifer Sykes – the first player in program history to appear on the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 - again found ways to generate offense. He finished with 20 points on 9-for-17 shooting, but got little help from his teammates.

Nobody on the Phoenix scored more than eight points and players not named Sykes shot a combined 14-for-48 from the floor.

- Benjamin Worgull, BadgerNation.com

Series Notes

The Badgers are 14-6 against teams from the Mountain West Conference.

UW’s most recent contest with a member of the Mountain West was a home-and-home series with UNLV in 2010-11. UNLV won in Las Vegas (68- 65) while the Badgers took the rematch in Madison (62-51) in 2011.

The Broncos are 0-7 all-time against current members of the Big Ten and Saturday marks the fourth time in the last six seasons Boise State has traveled to a Big Ten school. The Broncos faced Michigan State in 2012-13, Iowa in 2011- 12 and Illinois in 2009-10.

Wisconsin Notes

UW has out-rebounded each of its first 3 opponents by an average of 18.7 boards per game, the largest rebounding margin in the Big Ten.

UW leads the Big Ten allowing just 45.3 points per game.

UW is shooting 51.6 percent from the field compared to just 31.6 percent for its opponents. Both figures rank fifth in the Big Ten

Wisconsin has racked up five double-doubles already this season with Frank Kaminsky posting three in three games and Nigel Hayes contributing two in a row. Last season the Badgers had a total of seven with Sam Dekker posting five and Kaminsky recording two.

Dating back to Feb. of 2011, UW is 86-3 when leading or tied with 5:00 left, including a mark of 3-0 this season. The only losses over the last 5 years have been to Kentucky (led 69-65) and Ohio State last season (led 54-50) and at Minnesota in 2012-13 season (led 49-43).

Boise State Notes

Seniors Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks are the top active scorers in the Mountain West. Drmic’s 1,485 points rank No. 15 in conference history. Marks is tied for No. 21 with 1,307 points for his career. Boise State’s dynamic duo are the only active MW men’s basketball student-athletes with 1,000 career points.

Boise State is 25-2 in the month of November, under fifth-year head coach Leon Rice.

Boise State has been renowned for its offensive prowess ever since Leon Rice arrived. In Rice’s first four seasons, the Broncos have led their conference in scoring three times, including pacing the Mountain West each of the last two years. Last season the Broncos hit a Rice-era high with 76.2 points per game, up from 73.2 the year before.

With Leon Rice at the helm, Boise State has become one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country in both volume and percentage. Last season the Broncos made 264 three-pointers (No. 2 in school history) shooting at a 37.2 percent clip. There were only eight games last season the Broncos made fewer than six three pointers.

Over the last three seasons, Boise State is 25-1 when tallying at least 15 assists in a game. The Broncos hit that plateau nine times last season, going 9-0. Despite an uptick in scoring average, the Broncos saw a dip in their assists-per-game average last year (11.8) from 2012-13 (13.2). Of Boise State’s 13 losses last season, the Broncos had 11 assists or fewer in 12 of them.

Prediction

Green Bay coach Brian Wardle knew what his team had to deal with in senior Frank Kaminsky and junior Sam Dekker, two established players who have played a lot of minutes, scored a lot of points and have a game that fits their billing.

When it comes to Nigel Hayes, however, Wardle recognizes that the sophomore has elevated his game to a level that’s hard to simulate.

“Hayes is good; Hayes is really good,” said Wardle. “He’s improved. He’s a big strong mismatch. He’s an inside-out forward who can do a lot of things.”

In his second season, Hayes is doing a lot more for the Badgers. Dropping weight from his frame to increase his athleticism, Hayes now has the ability to put the ball on the floor and move effortlessly to the rim but still has the size to grind and muscle in the low post.

The Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year a year ago, Hayes averaged 2.8 rebounds per game. So far through three contests he is averaging 11.3 boards per game, trailing only Kaminsky among Big Ten players.

He is also averaging 15.3 points per game after scoring a career-high 25 points with 11 rebounds in the 24-point win over the Phoenix, thanks in large part to the 3-point shot he’s added to his game, which helps Wisconsin eliminate some of the void that Ben Brust took with him when he graduated.

Against Green Bay, Hayes went 8-for-11 from the field, made both his free throw attempts and 7-for-11 from the free throw line, likely making the 10 NBA scouts in attendance write some very positive notes.

“I was just trying to take what they gave me,” said Hayes following the Green Bay game. “They were playing off. They weren’t respecting the shot and rightfully so going off of last year’s film. It would be smart in their decision to play off me. Now with my new expanded game that I have, I just take what the defense gives me and that was a couple jump shots (and) got some layups.”

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan told a story of Hayes dribbling a basketball with one hand and a tennis ball with the other to improve his dexterity. He would work individual on his shot early in the morning and late into the evenings, putting in all the work in the offseason so he can relax and have fun during the season.

“He’s another year older, another year wiser,” said Ryan. “He’s another year better.”

His teammates took notice, too. Kaminsky joked that Hayes was pulling up at half court and hitting nothing but net. Dekker was a little more serious.

“I tend to get to the Kohl Center pretty early in the morning, and Nigel is already sitting on the chair, getting his break with a full sweat every day. To see him working like that and get better for this team is really cool. He’s got a lot of physical talent, a lot of God-given abilities and I don’t think he’s scratches the surface of what he can do.”

Wisconsin’s schedule continues to get a little bit harder as the Badgers approach this Bahamas trip and have No.4 Duke looming when they get back. Boise State has a good offense and some good players that will test the Broncos, but the program is 2-35 all-time on the road against schools currently in the power five conferences, a stretch of 13 straight games that dates back to December 2003.

Expect Hayes and Kaminsky to have another solid performance as the Badgers earn a 23-point win.

Worgull's Record:3-0

Points off Prediction: 21 (7.0 per game)


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