Date/Time – Saturday, December 5, 11:30 a.m. central
Arena – Kohl Center (17,287)
Television – CBS (Carter Blackburn and Bill Raftery)
Radio – Badgers Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Wisconsin leads 6-3 (Series tied 2-2 in Madison)
Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 80-67, on January 2, 2003, in Philadelphia
WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS
3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Junior Guard, 8.3 ppg)
10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Junior Forward, 14.9 ppg)
22 Ethan Happ (6-9 Freshman Forward, 11.0 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Junior Guard, 15.6 ppg)
30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Junior Forward, 10.6 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Freshman Forward, 4.4 ppg)
24 Alex Illikainen (6-9 Freshman Forward, 4.4 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
After setting career highs with 18 points and 15 rebounds at Syracuse, Happ leads the Big Ten with three double-doubles on the year. He is averaging 11.0 ppg on 52.3 percent shooting and ranks second in the Big Ten with 8.5 rebounds per game.
TEMPLE PROBABLE STARTERS
0 Obi Enechionyia (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 11.0 ppg)
1 Josh Brown (6-3 Junior Guard, 6.3 ppg)
15 Jaylen Bond (6-8 Senior Forward, 11.2 ppg)
25 Quenton DeCosey (6-5 Senior Guard, 15.5 ppg)
34 Devin Coleman (6-2 Senior Guard, 10.8 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
3 Levan Alston Jr. (6-4 Freshman Guard, 5.0 ppg)
4 Daniel Dingle (6-7 Junior Forward, 3.3 ppg)
11 Trey Lowe (6-6 Freshman Guard, 7.0 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Senior Quenton DeCosey was second on the Owls in scoring (12.3), rebounding (4.6) and assists (2.2) last season after averaging 15.4 points as a sophomore. He scored a team-high 22 points against Fairleigh Dickinson, while also grabbing a game-high eight rebounds.
LAST TIME OUT
SYRACUSE, NY – It took three weeks, but the University of Wisconsin finally has a win it can brag about in the month of March. And has fate would have it, it came three days after its biggest clunker of the season.
In an ugly offensive game for both teams, Wisconsin freshman Ethan Happ stood out, scoring a team-high 18 points and 15 rebounds in the 66-58 overtime victory over No.14 Syracuse in front of 22.360 at the Carrier Dome.
Three days after its worst shooting performance in nine years in a road loss at No.7 Oklahoma, Wisconsin shot 41.7 percent from the field and put four starters in double figures.
“People are going to start having contests, like, OK, how are they going to play tonight?” said Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan. “If we aren’t the biggest mystery in the country right now, I don’t know who is as far as trying to find some consistency, but we’re going to keep working.”
Happ led four starters in double figures for the Badgers (5-3), whose victory helped the Big Ten with the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, 8-6. The Big Ten hasn’t lost since 2008.
But more important than conference pride was Wisconsin redeeming itself on both ends of the court.
The Badgers held the Orange – coming off impressive shooting performances in the Bahamas - in-check all game. Syracuse (6-1) shot 35.7 percent from the field, 29.2 percent from the 3-point line and missed out on plenty of opportunities at the free-throw line, where they shot 55 percent (11-for-20).
But on those missed opportunities, the Badgers took advantage.
Wisconsin, who played its typical slow-style offense, controlled most of the second half. The burn offense, if you will, visibly frustrated Syracuse.
Leading from the midway point of the first half until Syracuse made a 14-3 run, spurred by 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions, to lead 41-35 with 11:10 remaining, Wisconsin pounded the low post to score its next 10 points inside.
Outscoring Syracuse, 30-14, in the paint for the game, Happ was UW’s biggest weapon, scoring all eight of his buckets from the paint.
He also showed a touch of determination, scoring eight of his points after being whistled for his fourth traveling call at 10:41.
Nigel Hayes scored 15 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had six assists in 44 minutes. He was critical in overtime, registering a 3-point play in the low post that give Wisconsin the lead for good at 58-55.
UW outscored the Orange, 13-5, in the extra session, while holding the Orange to 1-for-9 shooting.
PHILADELPHIA — Sophomore guard Devin Harris scored 23 points, leading four Wisconsin players in double figures, as the Badgers beat Temple 80-67.
Freddie Owens added 17 points and Kirk Penney had 16 for Wisconsin (9-2), which hit on 9 of 18 from three point range, paced by Harris, who was 5 of 10.
David Hawkins had 20 points and Alex Wesby 17 for the Owls (2-8), off to their worst start in coach John Chaney’s 21 years.
Trailing 12-11, Wisconsin hit six of its next seven shots during a 15-3 run to take a 26-14 advantage. Three consecutive three-pointers by Harris pushed the lead to 40-24 with 3:03 left in the first half.
Wisconsin held a 42-31 edge at halftime, connecting on 14 of 21, including 7 of 10 from beyond the arc.
The lead reached 69-52 with 5:02 remaining before consecutive threes by Brian Polk and Hawkins enabled Temple to close to 71-61 at the 3:20 mark, the closest they came in the second half.
UW and Temple met for eight consecutive seasons from 1995-2003, where the visiting team posted a mark of 6-2. Three of the last eight meetings have gone to overtime, including a double-OT thriller in the last Kohl Center contest. In that game, Temple’s Lynn Greer scored a Kohl Center-record 47 points.
Wisconsin is 18-17 against teams currently in the American Athletic Conference. The Badgers haven’t played a team currently in the conference since playing Connecticut in a neutral site contest in 2008.
UW head coach Bo Ryan is a native of Chester, Pa., which is located approximately 20 miles south of the Temple campus. The two teams have met twice in the Bo Ryan era, splitting a home-and-home series in 2001 and 2003, with each team winning on the opponent’s home floor.
Ryan and Temple coach Fran Dunphy have met on two occasions while Dunphy was the head coach at the University of Pennsylvania. Ryan’s Badgers won both meetings, claiming a 64-53 win in Philadelphia (11/21/03) and a 77-44 win in Madison (11/20/04).
After playing a Syracuse program with the sixth most wins in N.C.A.A history (1,818), Wisconsin plays the program with the fifth most wins (1,852).
Wisconsin has out-rebounded all eight of its opponents and leads the Big Ten with 15.6 offensive boards per game.
Dating back to February of 2011, UW is 122-4 (.968) when leading or tied with 5:00 left, including a mark of 5-0 this season.
Hayes is 40-for-56 (.714) from the free throw line this season, leading the Big Ten in both FTs and FTAs. His 56 FTAs are also tied for 25th nationally.
Koenig leads the Badgers and ranks 9th in the Big Ten averaging 15.6 ppg while shooting 42.6% from the field and 35.1 percent (20-57) from 3-point range. Koenig is also tallying 3.5 rpg, 2.6 apg with a 1.8 assist-to-TO ratio (21a, 12to).
The Owls are coming off a 26-11 season that marked the best turnaround in NCAA Division I, as they won 17 more games than in the previous season.
For a second year in a row, Temple has been picked to finish sixth of 11 teams in the American Athletic Conference Preseason Poll. Last year, the Owls finished three spots higher in a tie for third.
The Owls are third in the nation in fewest turnovers per game at 8.3. They have only reached double digits in turnovers twice and have recorded as few as five (vs. Delaware on 11/29).
Three of the Owls’ first four games were against Top 25 teams for the first time in program history. They had twice before played ranked teams in three of their first five games?(1990-91 and 1993-94).
There’s a funny thing about momentum and confidence, it is sometimes hard to grasp and very easy to lose. Wisconsin certainly has both in its corner after Wednesday’s momentous victory over Syracuse on the road, but the Badgers can easily lose it against a good Temple team later today.
The Owls are a challenge on a quick turnaround – a veteran team, well-coached and a group that plays hard. Don’t let the Owls’ record fool you, as all three losses have come to ranked teams and two by six points or less. They are competitive because they don’t beat themselves, meaning UW’s young squad – suddenly injected with some confidence – will have to beat them instead of letting the Owls beat themselves.
I’ve said it before and will say it again, this team will be hard to predict on many nights, especially against the better teams on their schedule. What we do know is that a number of players took big steps forward in the overtime win against Syracuse – mainly Happ with his low-post scoring and rebounding and Brown with his mid-range and perimeter jumper.
Both will have to work just as hard, if not harder, against Temple, which mainly goes with a man-to-man defense (zone and full-court press is sprinkled in) and plays physical, meaning Happ, Brown, Hayes and company will have to score against contact instead of hitting the open zones.
UW will also have to be aware of DeCosey, who has been through the battles and is easily labeled a slasher. He’s scored 1,000 points in his career with that label, and UW’s post defense has been – well – inconsistent. That could also be damaging against the 6-8 Bond (the leading returning rebounder in the AAC and first solo captain in the last 10 years at Temple) and the 6-8 Enechionyia.
Despite all of Temple’s talents, I believe this Badgers’ team can build upon the momentum and confidence it generated in upstate New York this week, a victory in which neither Hayes nor Koenig shot the ball extremely well. Happ continues his development, Koenig gets back on track and UW winning the rebounding battle again will make the difference in a 10-point win.
Worgull's Record: 5-3
Points off Prediction: 114 (14.3 per game)