Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports

No.16 Wisconsin meets Georgetown for the third straight year in a nonconference tournament

Breaking down No.16 Wisconsin's semifinal match-up in the Maui Invitational against Georgetown. Here's what you need to know.

Georgetown (2-2, 0-0 Big East) vs. No.16 Wisconsin (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time – Tuesday, November 22, 7 p.m. central

Arena – Lahaina Civic Center (2,400)

Television – ESPN2 (Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas)

Radio –Badgers Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Series tied 2-2 (Series tied 2-2 in neutral sites)

Last Meeting – Georgetown won, 71-66, on November 20, 2015, in New York City

WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS

3 Zak Showalter (6-3 Senior Guard, 6.5 ppg)

10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Senior Forward, 12.5 ppg)

22 Ethan Happ (6-10 Sophomore Forward, 9.8 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-2 Senior Guard, 17.0 ppg)

30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Senior Forward, 5.8 ppg)

OFF THE BENCH

0 D'Mitrik Trice (6-0 Freshman Guard, 4.8 ppg)

11 Jordan Hill (6-4 Junior Guard, 2.3 ppg)

15 Charles Thomas (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 3.5 ppg)

21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Sophomore Forward, 4.3 ppg)

25 Alex Illikainen (6-9 Sophomore Forward, 4.0 ppg)

PLAYER TO WATCH

For the third time this season, Koenig led Wisconsin in scoring with 21 points against Tennessee. In doing so, Koenig now has 1,005 career points, becoming the 43rd player in school history to reach the century club. Of Wisconsin's 43 players with at least 1,000 career points, 17 have come in the 16 seasons with Greg Gard on the Wisconsin bench.

GEORGETOWN PROBABLE STARTERS

0 L. J. Peak (6-5 Junior Guard, 17.5 ppg)

4 Jahan Mosely (6-3 Freshman Guard, 3.5 ppg)

11 Isaac Copeland (6-9 Junior Forward, 9.0 ppg)

15 Jessie Govan (6-10 Sophomore Center, 13.0 ppg)

23 Rodney Pryor (6-5 Senior Guard, 19.8 ppg)

OFF THE BENCH

1 Tre Campbell (6-2 Junior Guard, 5.0 ppg)

2 Jonathan Mulmore (6-4 Junior Guard, 3.5 ppg)

22 Akoy Agau (6-8 Junior Forward, 2.5 ppg)

PLAYER TO WATCH

Pryor is proving to be a great pick up for head coach John Thompson III. The graduate transfer from Robert Morris scored a game-high 26 points, including 18 in the first half, and had 10 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Hoyas. He is only the second player under Thompson (13 years) to record at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in a game,

LAST TIME OUT

LAHAINA, Hawaii – Starting the game on a 12-0 run and leading by as many as 17 points early on, Wisconsin saw a young and hungry Tennessee team throw two runs at them in the second half to erase the early hole and take a one-possession lead.

This time away from home, Wisconsin was able to turn the tables.

“I'm proud of our guys how they battled back,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said, as No.16 Wisconsin used a 12-2 run in the second half to dispatch Tennessee, 74-62, in the opening round of the Maui Invitational Monday.

“Obviously we've got a lot of things to clean up and a lot of things to get better at. But the resiliency and the fortitude that these guys play with obviously makes them who they are.

Bronson Koenig scored 21 points, Nigel Hayes had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Ethan Happ had 16 for the Badgers (3-1), who survived 18 turnovers to advance to the semifinals for the second time in their three trips to Maui.

Wisconsin shot 56 percent and used its size advantage inside to pull down 11 more rebounds and shoot 69 percent (20 of 27) from 2-point range, although the teams tied in points in the paint and Tennessee (1-2) outscored the Badgers, 10-7, in second-chance points.

“It's early in the year and it was a good test for us, and it's just kind of showed us what we need to work on," said Koenig, who made 9 of 15 shots and became the 43rd player in school history to go over 1,000 career points. “We need to slow down not let them speed us up. And play at our pace and control the tempo more so.”

Tennessee had a pair of 10-0 runs yet were unable to sustain their momentum after Wisconsin answered. Hayes – who had been struggling with his shot through the early season – made two fouls shots to make it 48-46 after recovering an offensive rebound and then hit a 3-pointer on UW’s next possession.

In the next three minutes Hayes delivered two blocks and two defensive rebounds on his way to his eighth career double-double.

“That's the type of impact he can have,” Gard said of Hayes. “And that's what we've talked about a lot. He needs to continue to be an everyday player. He's working on that. But I thought he impacted the game in a lot of different ways on both ends of the floor.”

In the end it was the veterans who carried UW to the finish line. After getting 36 points from the bench on Thursday, Wisconsin’s starters scored 65 points.

Starting with Happ’s layup to tie the score at 46, the trio of Hayes, Happ and Koenig scored 28 of the team’s final 30 points.

SERIES NOTES

Wisconsin and Georgetown have now played in the Bahamas, Lahaina (Maui), Los Angeles, Milwaukee and New York City.

This will be the unofficial rubber match between the two schools. UW pulled out a 68-65 win over the Hoyas in the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament but GU got revenge in the 2015 2K Classic, pulling out a 71-61 win in Madison Square Garden.

Prior to the two recent meetings, the teams hadn’t met since 1982 when they played in the Winston Tire Classic in Los Angeles. The schools also squared off at the Mecca during the Milwaukee Classic.

In two meetings vs. GU, Nigel Hayes has averaged 18.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg while Bronson Koenig is averaging 11.5 ppg and 3.5 apg in 2 outings against the Hoyas.

Wisconsin is 95-86 against teams currently in the Big East. The Badgers lost at Creighton one week ago today.

Georgetown has an all-time record of 31-39 against teams from the Big Ten conference.

LAST MEETING

NEW YORK – The first game away from the Kohl Center against the first legitimate opponent on its schedule did not go well for Wisconsin.

Mired in a long shooting slump that lasted throughout the first half, the Badgers never could dig themselves out from their self-imposed hole in a 71-61 defeat to Georgetown at Madison Square Garden Friday afternoon.

Nigel Hayes did his part, scoring a game-high 22 points, but Wisconsin (2-2) didn’t get much help from anyone else.

Vitto Brown was the only other player to make more than four shots but it took him 13 attempts to get there. He finished with nine points before fouling out in the final minute. Ethan Happ finished with 12 points but Bronson Koenig struggled mightily, finished with nine points (five in the final 45 seconds) on 2-for-12 shooting, including 1-for-6 from 3.

Four players scored in double figures for Georgetown (1-2), who avenged a loss to UW in the semifinals of the Paradise Jam tournament last season. Isaac Copeland led the quartet with 14 points.

Georgetown led throughout the entire first half because Wisconsin couldn’t make a shot. The Badgers started 2-for-14, including missing their first nine shots to start the game. UW didn’t get on the board until Hayes delivered a put-back dunk after 6 minutes, 29 seconds had elapsed.

UW finished the first half 9-for-30 from the floor, including 1-for-10 from 3-point range, and only strung points on consecutive possessions twice.

Wisconsin seemingly found a rhythm coming out of the locker room, scoring nine points on its first five possessions and going 4-for-4 from the floor, but the Badgers couldn’t get closer than two in the second half because the Hoyas would immediately answer with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.

Eventually Wisconsin went cold again, shooting 11-for-33 in the second half (31.7 percent for the game).

WISCONSIN NOTES

A year after leading the Big Ten in scoring defense (63.8 ppg), Wisconsin is allowing just 59.8 ppg this season as opponents are shooting only 38.7 percent from the field. The Badgers are also dominating the glass, out-rebounding all four of their opponents by an average of 16.8 boards per game. UW is grabbing 13.5 offensive boards per game, rebounding 45.8 percent of its offensive misses.

In one of his most balanced games as a Badger, Hayes tallied his 8th-career double-double against Tennessee (17 pts, 10 rebs), his first since posting 18 points and 12 rebounds against Temple a year ago (Dec. 5, 2015). Hayes now has 1,387 career points, passing Jon Leuer (2008-11) for 14th place on the school's all-time scoring chart.

Wisconsin freshman D'Mitrik Trice has seen his role expand with every game this season, including a career-high 24 minutes of action Monday vs. Tennessee. Against the Vols, Trice scored 5 points with 4 rebounds and 3 assists (1 turnover). Over his last 3 games, Trice has 11 assists with just 1 turnover. He has also made 4-of-6 3FGs and is a perfect 5-for-5 at the FT line.

Happ has 39 points on just 22 shots this season, shooting 77.3 percent from the field. He also leads the team with 8.0 rebounds per game and a team-high 9 offensive boards. A year after leading the Big Ten with 1.8 steals per game, he again leads the Badgers with 7 total steals, an average of 1.8 per game.

GEORGETOWN NOTES

Georgetown was picked to finish tied for fourth place in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ poll.

This is Georgetown’s third time playing in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, the second under Head Coach John Thompson III. The Hoyas finished in fifth-place in 2011, losing to Kansas (67-63) before beating Chaminade and Memphis. The Hoyas went 1-2 in 1999, beating Memphis (71-55) and then losing to North Carolina (85-79) and Florida (72-62).

Georgetown has gone to the free throw line early and often this season, averaging 33.6 trips to the line after four games. The Hoyas have taken advantage as well, connecting on 78.9 percent of their shots.

The Hoyas were 18-1 during the 2006-07 season when scoring at least 69 points.

PREDICTION

After 15 seasons of going along with his mentor’s defensive plan, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard finally broke free – the Badgers went zone.

Wanting to try to break Tennessee’s tempo after the Vols had charged back into the game, Gard unleashed the zone defense, something Bo Ryan was strongly against (almost to a fault) and something the staff had been working on in practice and did briefly against Chicago State Thursday.

It’s still a work in progress, but the Badgers went with a 3-2 zone for nine possessions in the second half and the results speak for themselves – no more easy interior bucks for the Vols off dribble penetration, disrupt flow and score only 11 points

“It's hard to defend when you turn it over, taking some bad shots and not getting good looks, and when we have to play a transition defense in transition,” Gard said. “So I just thought it was going to give a look for a while and see what the response was.  And I thought we did a pretty good job.”

Gard still believes half of those points should not have occurred if Wisconsin stuck to its rules, fine-tuned its close outs and cleaned up some loose balls. And while man-to-man defense is still Wisconsin’s best defense, the Badgers adding a new wrinkle could pay dividends.

“We're not really used to playing zone in the past year, so it's a work in progress right now,” Koenig said. “I thought it was a good change of pace for us to throw it at them and give them a different look. I thought it shook things up a little bit, but we still, like I said, some of our closeouts weren't as sharp as they needed to be and some other things that we'll clean up in the future.”

It’ll be interesting to see what Wisconsin decides to do tonight against a more familiar, older opponent, as the Badgers will be meeting a familiar-looking Georgetown team for the third straight season.

Georgetown got a much needed confidence boost after consecutive home losses to Maryland and Arkansas State with its 65-61 win over No.15 Oregon. The Hoyas opened up a 17-point lead at the half, fell behind in the second half and then used a late run in the second half to take the lead back and hit key free throws in the final two minutes.

The Hoyas have been wildly inconsistent over the last two seasons, either looking like sharp or losing at home to mid-majors (Radford, Monmouth and UNC-Asheville all beat them last year). Heck, they were wildly inconsistent last night. In the first half the Hoyas used its physical defense to limit the Ducks’ offense (24.1 percent shooting) and an efficient, unselfish offense (46.9 percent shooting) to lead 38-21 at halftime.

The second half was the complete opposite. The Ducks found ways to get to the rhythm (38 points in the paint overall) and shoot over 50 percent while the Hoyas made only 6 of 29 shots to erase the deficit and lead by one.

And to complete the roller coaster, Georgetown delivered a fast-break block, made plays in transition and hit 9 of 10 free throws in the final 1:45.

Wisconsin will have its hands full tonight with another talented guard combination in Pryor (19.8 points per game) and Peak (17.5 ppg). Through four games, Pryor leads the team in scoring with 19.8 points per game, which ranks sixth in the Big East. Peak is second on the in scoring with 17.5 points per game, which ranks 10th in the Big East.

A week ago UW let Creighton’s backcourt trio scored 40 of the Bluejays 79 points, including going 6-for-10 from 3-point range.

The Hoyas are also going to get healthy in the front court with the return of senior center Bradley Hayes, who averaged 8.7 ppg and 6.7 rpg last year but had to sit out the first four games of the year because of a waiver issue.

Like Wisconsin, Georgetown returns 77.0 percent of team’s scoring (1,870 of 2,430 points), 84.3 percent of its rebounding (729 of 865) and 66.1 percent of its assists (327 of 492) from last season. The fact that they added Pryor makes them all that better.

This is a tough match-up for Wisconsin considering the Badgers haven’t shown to be dominant in the paint yet and the Hoyas are getting reinforcements. Wisconsin continues to struggle shooting from the perimeter (32.1 percent), commit 14.5 turnovers per game and don’t get to the free throw line enough (16.5 attempts). For whatever reason, the experience hasn’t yielded big dividends yet.

All of this has the makings of the Hoyas winning by six tonight.

Worgull's Record: 3-1

Points off Prediction: 45 (11.3 per game)


Badger Nation Top Stories