Date/Time -Thursday, November 27, 2:30 p.m. Central
Arena –Imperial Arena, Atlantis Resort
Television -ESPN (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Andy Katz)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Phil Dawson and Andy North)
Series – Series tied 1-1 (Series tied 1-1 on neutral courts)
Last Meeting – Georgetown won, 71-43, on December 28, 1982 in Los Angeles
Wisconsin Probable Starters
10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 14.0 ppg)
12 Traevon Jackson (6-3 Senior Guard, 8.8 ppg)
15 Sam Dekker (6-9 Junior Forward, 12.2 ppg)
21 Josh Gasser (6-4 Senior Guard, 7.0 ppg)
44 Frank Kaminsky (7-0 Senior Forward, 18.6 ppg)
Off the Bench
3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Sophomore Guard, 3.4 ppg)
13 Duje Dukan (6-10 Senior Forward, 7.0 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 2.8 ppg)
30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Sophomore Guard, 4.4 ppg)
Georgetown Probable Starters
0 L.J. Peak (6-5 Freshman Forward, 13.3 ppg)
3 Mikael Hopkins (6-9 Senior Forward, 7.0 ppg)
4 D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (6-3 Junior Guard, 11.0 ppg)
24 Joshua Smith (6-10 Senior Center, 15.0 ppg)
55 Jabril Trawick (6-5 Sophomore Guard, 8.5 ppg)
Off the Bench
1 Tre Campbell (6-2 Freshman Guard, 3.5 ppg)
11 Isaac Copeland (6-9 Freshman Forward, 3.0 ppg)
13 Paul White (6-8 Freshman Forward, 5.0 ppg)
23 Aaron Bowen (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 6.5 ppg)
Last Time Out
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas - In its first game away from the friendly confines of the Kohl Center, the University of Wisconsin didn’t miss a beat, thanks to its seniors.
Frank Kaminsky had 16 points and eight rebounds, Duje Dukan scored 11 points off the bench and Josh Gasser scored all 10 of his points in the first half as Wisconsin cruised to a 72-43 victory over UAB in the Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinals Wednesday night.
It had been a tough day for ranked teams in the early portion of the tournament. Butler upset No.5 North Carolina in the opening game and No.21 UCLA was beaten by Oklahoma, but the Badgers (5-0) controlled the game from the start, giving them a 5-0 start for the third time in the last four seasons.
Wisconsin utilized an 11-0 run in the first half while holding the Blazers scoreless for nearly seven minutes to lead 22-8. The Badgers shot 51.9 percent, turned 19 turnovers into 28 points and led by as many as 31 points.
Despite having only a 33-32 edge in rebounds, Wisconsin outscored UAB 38-22 in the paint.
“We knew it was going to be a key to the game, dominating the inside, going into it,” said Kaminsky, who added eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks. “We were able to set a tone early on and it kind of stayed through the rest of the game.”
Playing with 10 freshman or sophomores, UAB (2-3) relied on junior Robert Brown, who scored 16 points for the Blazers, including the first 11 points. Brown finished 7 for 15 from the field. The rest of his team: 11 for 36, including a banked in 3-pointer from midcourt before the halftime buzzer.
Wisconsin and Georgetown have played neutral site games in Milwaukee (Milwaukee Classic), Los Angeles (Winston Tire Classic) and now the Bahamas.
Wisconsin is 92-83 against current schools in the Big East, but 120 of those matchups have come against Marquette.
Wisconsin is off to a 5-0 start for the third time in the last four seasons having won by an average of 30.4 points per game. The Badgers have won all five games by at least 24 points. In fact, UW’s biggest deficit this season was two points when the Badgers trailed 2-0 to Green Bay (Nov. 19) and Boise State (Nov. 22).
The Badgers are 72-for-108 from the free throw line, while their opponents are just 24-for-50. UW has made 22 more FTs than its foes have attempted.
Gasser is 8-for-12 from behind the arc this season and has hit 116 of his 277 (.419) career attempts from long range. That mark of 41.9 percent from deep is tied as the sixth-best percentage in UW history.
Senior Duje Dukan tallied a season-high 11 points vs. UAB, reaching double figures for just the second time in his career (scored 15 against St. John’s on Nov. 8, 2013). Dukan played a career-high 27 minutes Wednesday night, going 4-for-7 from the field and adding 3 rebounds and a blocked shot. At one point during the second half, Dukan scored seven straight points for the Badgers.
Wisconsin is 53-9 all-time when Dukan plays in a game. Dukan entered the day as 1 of only 7 active Division I players to appear in at least 50 wins and fewer than 10 losses.
Georgetown plays 11 games against non-league opponents before starting BIG EAST Conference play. Since 2004-05, the Hoyas have a 92-17 record against teams outside of the BIG EAST.
Georgetown has played one of the toughest schedules in the country in each of the last eight years. The 2014-15 slate is no different, with games against Florida, Kansas and Wisconsin dotting the slate before and after BIG EAST Conference play started. Georgetown was 6-2 against ranked teams in 2012-13. The Hoyas were 3-4 against ranked teams last year.
The Hoyas were picked to finish second in the league with one first place vote and 67 points overall. Villanova, with nine first place votes and 81 points, was selected to win the BIG EAST in a vote of the league’s coaches.
Freshman forward L.J. Peak has been one of five Georgetown freshmen to see extensive playing time in the first two games, joined by freshman guard Tre Campbell, forward Isaac Copeland, Trey Mourning and Paul White. That group combined to score 42 points, grab six rebounds and hand out five assists in the season opener.
Entering the tournament, the group of freshmen have accounted for 33.6 percent of the team’s points scored (81 of 241) and for 35.8 percent of the team’s minutes played.
The Battle for Atlantis was more so a death trap for teams that came in with a ranking before their name. It started the night with No.5 North Carolina falling to Butler, continued with No.21 (and underdog) UCLA losing to Oklahoma and ended with No.18 Florida losing in overtime to the Hoyas.
Amidst the chaos, however, Wisconsin basketball kept humming along. Allowing just 46.6 points per game this season, the top mark in the Big Ten, no team has scored more than 60 points on the Badgers or shot better than 43 percent from the field. Overall, UW opponents are shooting just 34.3 percent from the field and a mere 26.3 percent (21-80) behind the 3-point arc.
“You always take note when you see the quote-unquote underdog wins a game,” said Kaminsky, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the win over UAB in the quarterfinals. “But any team in this tournament can beat anyone. So we take no one for granted. We prepare the same way for everybody we play…We know how to take care of business in these situations.”
Through five games in this early season, Wisconsin has utilized its size by taking care of business on the glass. On the year, UW is grabbing 12.2 more boards than its opponents. In 14 seasons under Bo Ryan, the Badgers are 231-32 (.878) when out-rebounding their opponent.
That kind of sustained success is unlikely against a Hoyas team with solid size in the frontcourt. Both Mikael Hopkins (8.3 boards and 13 blocks) and Joshua Smith (7.3) have tremendous size and both Trawick and Smith-Rivera can pull down boards with the best of them.
In reality Smith-Rivera can do a lot of things for Georgetown. The conference’s preseason player of the year, the junior led the Hoyas with 17.6 points per game a year ago. This season he remains clutch, hitting a jumper with 3.4 seconds left in overtime to give Georgetown the win late Wednesday.
The Hoyas did not shoot well from 3-point range (3-for-13), the free throw line (15-for-22) and committed 19 turnovers, but Georgetown won because it shot a good percentage from two (21-for-36) and held Florida to 35.9 percent. The Hoyas will look familiar to some Wisconsin fans because of the Princeton-style offense, a staple that Bill Carmody ran for years at Northwestern and one that Georgetown coach John Thompson III employs.
This is a tough tournament with quick turnarounds, and Georgetown got the short end of the stick. After an emotionally draining overtime game that had 21 lead changes, the Hoyas have less than 16 hours to rest and prepare for Wisconsin. UW gets some more time, but not many, which was why UW’s blowout victory over UAB was so important. With the Badgers up and cruising, only three players played more than 20 minutes, a good sign for UW’s legs moving forward.
A competitive game should give Wisconsin an edge based on experience, rest and talent, so I’m picking Wisconsin by 10.
Points off Prediction: 31 (6.2 per game)