Date/Time – Saturday, January 9, 12 p.m. central
Arena – Kohl Center (17,472)
Television – ESPN (Bob Wischusen and Dan Dakich)
Radio – Badgers Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Wisconsin leads 5-3 (Wisconsin leads 2-0 in Madison)
Last Meeting – Maryland won, 59-53, on February 24, 2015, in College Park, MD
WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS
3 Zak Showalter (6-2 Junior Guard, 8.3 ppg)
10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Junior Forward, 15.7 ppg)
22 Ethan Happ (6-9 Freshman Forward, 11.1 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-4 Junior Guard, 13.9 ppg)
30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Junior Forward, 9.6 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
11 Jordan Hill (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 2.0 ppg)
15 Charlie Thomas (6-8 Freshman Forward, 3.7 ppg)
21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Freshman Forward, 2.4 ppg)
24 Alex Illikainen (6-9 Freshman Forward, 0.8 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Averaging 11.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, Happ is tied for the Big Ten lead with 5 doubles-doubles on the season
MARYLAND PROBABLE STARTERS
0 Rasheed Sulaimon (6-4 Senior Guard, 10.8 ppg)
2 Melo Trimble (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 14.4 ppg)
4 Robert Carter Jr. (6-9 Junior Forward, 12.5 ppg)
10 Jack Layman (6-9 Senior Forward, 11.1 ppg)
33 Diamond Stone (6-11 Freshman Center, 13.2 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
1 Jaylen Brantley (5-11 Sophomore Guard, 2.5 ppg)
11 Jared Nickens (6-7 Sophomore Forward, 6.7 ppg)
35 Damonte Dodd (6-11 Junior Forward, 3.5 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
The Preseason Big Ten Conference Player of the Year, Trimble leads the Terps in scoring (14.4 ppg), assists (5.7 apg), free throws made (60) and free throws attempted (69).
LAST TIME OUT
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Despite holding the conference’s best scoring offense in check, Wisconsin’s offense went into one of its usual scoring tailspins, making only three field goals in a 20 minute, 20 second stretch, and couldn’t recover in a 59-58 defeat to Indiana at Assembly Hall Tuesday.
It was the fourth one-possession loss for Wisconsin this season, which couldn’t take advantage of 19 Indiana turnovers and have only themselves to blame for a plethora of missed opportunities.
“Part of that falls back on me,” said junior Nigel Hayes. “Last year when we were in these close games, we had the older guys – Frank (Kaminsky), Josh (Gasser), Sam (Dekker), Duje (Dukan), Trae (Jackson) and those guys – always found a way and brought us along to win those games. I need to start doing a better job of that myself.”
Bronson Koenig scored seven of his 15 points in a 1:46 stretch in the second half to try to save Wisconsin (9-7, 1-2 Big Ten), but the Badgers shot 9-for-25 from the field and 2-for-10 from 3-point range in the second half.
After back-to-back double-digit scoring games, including a 24-point night against Green Bay when he shot 7-for-8, Hayes again struggled from the field, finishing 3-for-13 from the field, 1-for-5 from the 3-point line and 8-for-11 from the free-throw line. The only 3-pointer he made was at the buzzer.
Hayes has had 11 games this season missing at least eight shots, including six missing at least 10, and is shooting 37.4 percent this season after tweaking his shot.
Indiana (13-2, 3-0) started 6-for-6, but had six turnovers in first 12 possessions, leading to nine UW points and a 14-13 lead at 11:42 in the first half. The Hoosiers didn’t miss a shot until there was 11:32 remaining in the half but the misses started to snowball. IU went 6:39 without scoring, allowing Wisconsin to turn a 6-point deficit into a 9-point lead.
That’s when Wisconsin’s momentum stopped. After taking its 9-point lead – the largest lead of the game - with 7:58 left to the 7:38 of the second half, Wisconsin made only three baskets and had three shot-clock violations – a recipe for disaster no matter who UW plays and where.
It’s a shame because it wasted another really good defensive effort by a team that continues to improve on that end of the floor. Indiana entered averaging 87.7 points, best in the conference and sixth in the N.C.A.A. The Hoosiers scored only 24 in the first half and their total points were a season low, but made the critical plays to beat UW for only the second time since January 2008.
After Hayes tied the game at 53, bringing UW back to even for the first time since the 13:35 mark of the second half, senior guard Yogi Ferrell took over. He hit a jumper with 37 seconds left to put Indiana back in front and made it a two possession game with 13.7 seconds left on a pair of free throws.
The free throws came after a lengthy review to check a timing issue and after Ethan Happ’s less-than-stellar pass was swiped out Zak Showalter’s hands by Robert Johnson, who made up for a quiet day offensively (3 points, 1-for-4) with the defensive play of the game.
After Happ (10 points, 8 rebounds) post bucket cut the lead back to two, Ferrell made two more free throws to ice the game.
COLLEGE PARK, MD - Having a chance to clinch a conference title for the first time since 2008, No.5 Wisconsin couldn’t contain hot-shooting Dez Wells and a Maryland team playing in front of a raucous sellout crowd, as the 14th-ranked Terrapins ended the Badgers 10-game winning streak with a 59-53 victory.
They can thank Wells, as the senior scored a game-high 26 points on 9-for-17 shooting. The senior also went a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line, grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and had four assists to zero turnovers.
Senior forward Frank Kaminsky led the Badgers with 18 points, junior forward Sam Dekker had 14 points and nine rebounds and sophomore forward Nigel Hayes contributed 10 points before fouling out near the end of the game.
The Badgers’ stone-cold shooting (1-for-11 from 3-point range in the first half) coupled with 13-for-24 shooting from the field by Maryland led to halftime score of 31-20, the Badgers’ biggest deficit of the season that proved too big to overcome.
“When you're on the road and dig yourself into an 11-point deficit at halftime, it's never going to be easy to overcome that,” said Kaminsky. “We were close but we just couldn't do it.”
Sophomore guard Bronson Koenig (2-for-12, 6 points) admitted the Badgers were “definitely settling” for perimeter shots instead of attacking the low post, as well as not getting back in transition or defending the paint on dribble drives in the opening 20 minutes. The results were the Badgers gave up 16 points in the paint in each half.
Wisconsin picked up the pace early in the second half by scoring 15 points on its first eight possessions, but as has happened in a number of games lately, the offense slowed a bit when reserves came onto the court. Although Kaminsky scored eight points in the first 6 minutes, 23 seconds of the second half, his last field goal came at the 13:37 mark to cut the deficit to 35-33.
Eventually tying the score at 47 off a Koenig 3-pointer, Wisconsin had a chance to take its first lead since opening minutes. Forcing one of only six Maryland turnovers on the defensive end, Duje Dukan registered an offensive rebound off a missed Koenig jumper, but he was called for traveling while trying to secure possession, with the outside official appearing to call a foul simultaneously with the baseline referee's travel call.
A 6-1 Maryland run ensued, and the Badgers never got closer than three the rest of the game.
In the two games in Madison, Wisconsin claimed a 32-30 decision in the first ever meeting in 1931 as well as a 69-64 win in 2004.
The Badgers and Terrapins have met in some noteworthy circumstances over the last 15 years. Wisconsin’s 78-75 overtime win in the 2000 Big Ten/ ACC Challenge marked Dick Bennett’s final game coaching at UW. The 2002 meeting, an 87-57 Terps win, came in the second round of the NCAA tournament en route to Maryland’s 2002 National Championship. The two teams also met in the 3rd-place game of the 2009 Maui Invitational as the Badgers pulled out a 78-69 win.
Highland, Md. native Charlie Thomas grew up just 17 miles from the Maryland campus. Thomas grew up a Duke and Kentucky fan, but attended several Terrapins home games.
In four games under Gard, the Badgers are shooting 45.8 percent and averaging 69.0 ppg. UW shot 41.2 percent and averaged 65.7 ppg in the 12 contests prior to Gard taking over.
The Badgers’ four home losses have come by a total of 11 points. UW has been tied or within one possession in the final 2:00 of all four games
Wisconsin has won six of its last eight games against teams ranked in the AP top five, including going 2-2 last season.
After averaging 7.4 turnovers last season, a N.C.A.A. record, the Badgers rank seventh in the Big Ten, turning it over 11.6 times per game.
Maryland is the only team in the Big Ten to have five players averaging 10 or more points per game.
Maryland has won 11 consecutive conference regular season games dating back to last season (Feb. 11, 2015). This marks the longest such streak since the 2001-02 team posted 13 wins en route to winning 32 games and a national championship.
With the win over Rutgers, Maryland opened up conference play with three consecutive wins for the first time since 2001-02 season
Seniors Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman have made a big impact on the Terps the last two games. The two have combined for 58 points, 23 rebounds and 11 assists in wins over Northwestern and Rutgers. The duo is a combined 15-of- 24 from the beyond the arc (.625). Maryland is 14-0 the past two seasons when Layman scores 15 or more points.
Here we go.
This game has been circled on the calendars of many Wisconsin fans since March, and it’s not because the Terrapins were projected to have a top ten team or because Mark Turgeon’s team was one of only three schools to knock off Wisconsin last season. No, it’s because the freshman center for Maryland spurred Wisconsin and then rubbed UW’s national championship loss in the face of its fans.
Needless to say, Diamond Stone will not be warmly received by the Kohl Center crowd for a number of reasons. One of the big ones is Stone is putting up the stats that many people thought he would, especially the coaches at Wisconsin.
Stone - the reigning Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Week - racked up his second career double-double, posting 15 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Rutgers Wednesday. This comes after a week in which he averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in leading the Terrapins to wins over Penn State and Northwestern. Against the Nittany Lions, he set a Maryland single-game freshman record with 39 points. For the week, he shot 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the floor and 77.8 percent (21-of-27) from the free throw line.
“He’s becoming a complete basketball player,” said Turgeon, “which is making us a complete basketball team.”
Stone is averaging a league-high 21.3 points per game and is fourth in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and field goal percentage (.690) in conference play. He has scored in double figures in eight consecutive games and 10 of his past 11 contests.
This is Stone’s first trip to Madison since he won four state championships at the Kohl Center while starring at Dominican High School. He set a Wisconsin state record with 14 blocked shots in the 2012 state semifinal and also finished the game with a triple-double, notching 15 points, 15 rebounds and 14 blocks. He has every intention of doing it again to stick it to UW fans.
“He’s very talented, there’s no doubt,” said Gard, who recruited Stone. “It’s not a surprise … He’s a pretty quick learner and a hungry kid who wants to be good.”
It will be critical for Hayes and Happ to attack the low post and develop an aggressiveness, a trait that has been missing throughout large portions of this season. The inconsistency was expected of Happ, who is going through the conference ringer as a player for the first time and is looking for a better performance after he was eaten up by Purdue’s length (1-for-8 shooting). Hayes on the other hand has played poorly thoughout most of the season and his shooting touch – or lack thereof – has cost UW games. In UW’s seven losses, Hayes is 38-for-110 (34.5 percent) and has missed at least eight shots in every game. Hayes has to be aggressive and draw fouls against Stone and the front court, or UW will get blown out of its own gym from a very balanced scoring team.
“It’s not just Diamond, it’s not just Melo,” said Gard. “There’s a lot of other players who are very good in that program. It’s an experienced team. It’s a talented team. It’s a team that is very similar to how ours was built last year.”
I think UW will keep things competitive, but the Badgers haven’t proved to be a consistent shooting team through two halves this season. That will be their downfall once again, as the Terps interior size will be hard to crack and Trimble's ability will be hard to slow. Maryland by 14.
Worgull's Record: 11-5
Points off Prediction: 178 (11.1 per game)