Chicago State (1-0, 0-0 WAC) vs. No.9 Wisconsin (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
Date/Time – Thursday, November 17, 7 p.m. central
Arena – Kohl Center (17,287)
Television – ESPN3 (Zach Zaidman and Homer Drew)
Radio –Badgers Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Wisconsin leads 1-0 (Wisconsin leads 1-0 in Madison)
Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 73-45, on January 4, 2003, in Madison
WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS
3 Zak Showalter (6-3 Senior Guard, 8.7 ppg)
10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Senior Forward, 15.0 ppg)
22 Ethan Happ (6-10 Sophomore Forward, 7.5 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-2 Senior Guard, 18.5 ppg)
30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Senior Forward, 3.5 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
0 D'Mitrik Trice (6-0 Freshman Guard, 5.5 ppg)
11 Jordan Hill (6-4 Junior Guard, 3.0 ppg)
15 Charles Thomas (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 3.5 ppg)
21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Sophomore Forward, 2.0 ppg)
25 Alex Illikainen (6-9 Sophomore Forward, 4.0 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Coming off a 21-point game at Creighton Tuesday, his fifth-career 20+ point game, Koenig has led UW in scoring in both games this season. The senior is now just 26 points away from becoming Wisconsin's 43rd member of the 1,000-point club.
CHICAGO STATE PROBABLE STARTERS
0 Glen Burns (6-3 Junior Guard, 7.0 ppg)
2 Clemmye Owens V (6-2 Senior Guard, 26.0 ppg)
3 Deionte Simmons (6-2 Junior Forward, 14.0 ppg)
14 Fred Sims Jr. (6-4 Sophomore Guard, 19.0 ppg)
15 Trayvon Palmer (6-6 Senior Forward, 9.0 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
11 Delundre Dixon (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 5.0 ppg)
21 Joshua Batson (6-0 Senior Guard 2.0 ppg)
35 Brian Greene Jr. (6-3 Senior Guard, 5.0 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Averaging 9.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game after joining the team following fall semester, Owens V scored a career-high26 points in the opener, going 9-for-12 from the field (5-for-6 from 3) and having a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 30 minutes
LAST TIME OUT
OMAHA, Neb. – The words “uncharacteristic” and “un-Wisconsinlike” were used by three different sources Tuesday night, one being the head coach, one being the senior point guard and the other being the preseason Big Ten player of the year.
Having one person admit it isn’t good. Having all three, well, it doesn’t take a genius to see how this ended up.
A program built on ball security, defense and touching the post did the opposite in all three areas, as No.9 Wisconsin couldn’t get out of its own way in a 79-67 defeat to No.22 Creighton that could best be described as sobering for such a veteran-laden team.
“We consider ourselves definitely a senior-laden, upperclassmen-heavy type of team, and we made mistakes you would not expect from upperclassmen, let alone players at the University of Wisconsin,” senior Nigel Hayes said. “The way we pride ourselves on taking care of the ball, three of our starters had four turnovers. That’s never a good recipe to win a game in a tough environment.”
Following a blowout victory in the season opener, head coach Greg Gard was hoping an early road test against one of the top teams in the Big East would gauge the program’s early season progress before a tough three-game road trip at the Maui Invitational next week – an island jaunt that could have the Badgers play a pair of teams currently ranked in the top-5.
What he learned was Wisconsin (1-1) is becoming too reliant on the 3-point shot, not aggressive enough in the low post, committed too many turnovers and had too many lapses defensively.
Bronson Koenig scored a game-high 21 points and Hayes added 16, but UW finished with 16 turnovers and shot 41.3 percent from the field. Of Wisconsin’s 63 shots, 39 came from 3-point range (61.9 percent), including 25 in the first half.
The 39 3-point attempts were second-most in school history behind the 40 UW attempted in a 70-67 double-overtime loss to Temple in 2001. In both instances, UW hit only 11 of them.
The Bluejays (2-0) put four players in double figures and shot 50 percent from the floor.
UW was at one point 8 for 14 from 3-point range and built a lead as big as eight with 7:26 remaining in the first half. That’s when things went south. The Badgers missed 22 of their final 25 3-point attempts, including the final 11 of the first half.
Even with the disjointed offense, things didn’t go haywire for Wisconsin until Creighton started getting into a flow with its transition offense in the final 7+ minutes.
After Berlin, Wis., native Toby Hegner hit a 3-pointer to make it 57-52, Khyri Thomas (team-high 18 points) delivered a pair of 3-point plays in transition, one the old-fashioned way another hit that was a back breaker, giving the Bluejays an 11-point lead. It was the largest of the game and it came with 6:37 remaining.
UW never got closer than five the rest of the way, as the Bluejays finished with a 13-0 edge on fast-break points, all coming in the second half.
Even when Wisconsin uses his length and won the rebounding battle, 42-27, the Badgers only had 11 second-chance points.
In the only other meeting between the two schools, the Badgers rolled to a 73-45 win behind 19 points from Devin Harris.
Wisconsin has only played three games against the Western Athletic Conference. The Badgers have only played teams from the Atlantic Sun (one), America East (two), Colonial (two) and Northeast (two) fewer times.
The Badgers are 2-1 all-time against the WAC, having beat UMKC, 77-31, in 2011 at home and losing to New Mexico State, 66-52m in 1998 in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Even with UW's 79-67 setback at No. 22 Creighton on Tuesday, UW is 20-11 against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 over the last three seasons. Under Greg Gard, the Badgers are 6-6 in such games, with a quartet of top-10 wins.
Beginning the season No.9 in the AP poll, Wisconsin has made a habit of out producing its preseason ranking. In six of the past seven seasons, Wisconsin has finished the season equal or higher than its preseason ranking. Last year was the only exception, but the Badgers finished the year in the Sweet 16.
The Badgers have out-rebounded both of their first two opponents by an average of 43.5 to 28.0, including a 31 to 19 edge on the offensive glass.
Nigel Hayes (1,370) passed former teammate Sam Dekker (1.363) for 15th place on UW's all-time scoring list Tuesday. Jon Leuer (1,376) up next
CHICAGO STATE NOTES
The Cougars are playing their third season in the WAC after spending the last four season in the Great West.
Chicago State went 4-28 last season, losing its final 19 games and all 14 in conference play. It was the worst record in the country last season. Funny enough, the Cougars’ only division 1 victory last season was over Western Illinois, which beat Wisconsin in Madison in the season opener.
Picked to finish last in the WAC, CSU welcomes back 10 players from last season's team that includes three starters in Baton, Palmer and Sims, Jr.
Sims Jr. played in 31 games and earned 16 starts in freshman year at CSU, leading the team in scoring with an average of 10.9 points per game and shooting 83 percent (47-of-57) from the free throw line
When asked if it was turnovers that helped Creighton get out and run or the lack of 3-pointers over a long stretch of time, Koenig didn’t take long to pick the miscues.
“Especially in the second half,” he said. “That made the game get away from us a little bit. We were getting pretty good looks for 3-pointers in the first half because they were doubling the post every time. We just didn’t have our best shooting night. The turnovers in the second half really kind of got us when they converted off those as well.”
Wisconsin committed 16 turnovers Tuesday night (9 first half, 7 second half), resulting in the Bluejays scoring 13 points in each half off the miscues.
The high number of turnovers has become a troubling theme for the Badgers and their veterans. Last season ended with Wisconsin committing 17 turnovers in the Sweet 16 against Notre Dame, and a lot of them were unforced with sloppy entry passes and poor handling. Three turnovers came in the final 26 seconds, including critical ones by Koenig and Hayes.
The story line played out again Tuesday. Wisconsin had three starters commit four turnovers (including Koenig) and compounded the problem by shooting 41.3 percent.
“Never throwing anyone under the bus, but just to sum up the kind of mental mistakes we made, Ethan was called for a travel standing still,” Hayes said, who also pointed out Showalter’s foul with 89 seconds left and UW down five as a ‘silly mistake we wouldn’t expect a veteran to put the game out of reach.’ “That’s the type of things we have to eliminate if we want to have any type of success or what we want to do this year.
“We didn’t lose because they were the better team than us. We know that’s not the case. We gave them more chances to score, and we didn’t do a good job taking care of possessions.”
Hayes will draw plenty of criticism this year for a variety of reason, especially for his comments. But whether you agree with Hayes’ comments or his approach, it’s evident that Wisconsin will learn plenty by watching the Creighton film - not to mention getting their first taste this season of competing in a hostile environment - that will certainly be beneficial with some of the impressive challenges coming on their schedule in the next two weeks. Tonight shouldn’t be one of them.
Although the Cougars put up 97 in their opener, they played Illinois Tech, were picked last by both the coaches and the media in the WAC by a wide margin and have a losing record in 29 of the last 30 seasons, including the last seven. Off a 48-hour turnaround, Gard’s wish list is probably pretty simple – establish the post against a starting five that doesn’t start anyone over 6-8, attack the rim, get to the free throw line and hang on to the ball (Illinois Tech committed 20 turnovers last Saturday).
Again, this game shouldn’t be that competitive or exciting to watch, but the Badgers need to get back to their identity before heading to a loaded tournament field in the Maui Invitational.
Badgers by 33.
Worgull's Record: 1-1
Points off Prediction: 26 (13.0 per game)