Date/Time – Saturday, December 10, 1 p.m. central
Arena – Bradley Center (18,600)
Television – Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher and Stephen Bardo)
Radio –Badgers Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Wisconsin leads 66-56 (Marquette leads 39-28 in Milwaukee)
Last Meeting – Marquette won, 57-55, on December 12, 2015, in Madison
WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS
3 Zak Showalter (6-3 Senior Guard, 6.4 ppg)
10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Senior Forward, 12.9 ppg)
22 Ethan Happ (6-10 Sophomore Forward, 13.5 ppg)
24 Bronson Koenig (6-2 Senior Guard, 15.8 ppg)
30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Senior Forward, 7.6 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
0 D'Mitrik Trice (6-0 Freshman Guard, 6.4 ppg)
15 Charles Thomas (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 3.1 ppg)
21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Sophomore Forward, 4.5 ppg)
25 Alex Illikainen (6-9 Sophomore Forward, 1.7 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Hayes has been the catalyst for UW's four-game win streak. Including a season-high 28 points vs. Oklahoma, Hayes is shooting 58.3 percent from the field, 2-for-2 on 3-point field goals and averaging 8.0 free throw attempts during the four-game stretch.
MARQUETTE PROBABLE STARTERS
0 Markus Howard (5-11 Freshman Guard, 8.9 ppg)
10 Sam Hauser (6-6 Freshman Forward, 10.3 ppg)
23 Jajuan Johnson (6-5 Senior Guard, 14.4 ppg)
25 Haanif Cheatham (6-5 Sophomore Guard, 11.7 ppg)
40 Luke Fischer (6-11 Senior Center, 13.9 ppg)
OFF THE BENCH
1 Duane Wilson (6-2 Junior Guard, 6.2 ppg)
21 Traci Carter (6-0 Sophomore Guard, 4.3 ppg)
22 Katin Reinhardt (6-6 Senior Forward, 8.8 ppg)
30 Andrew Rowsey (5-10 Junior Guard, 7.1 ppg)
PLAYER TO WATCH
In his last two outings, both of which resulted in personal-best 19-point efforts, Hauser has combined to shoot 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the field and 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from long distance. In a pair of starting assignments, he also chipped in 5.5 rebounds per game in an average of 27.0 minutes per night.
LAST TIME OUT
MADISON – No.17 Wisconsin jumped out to a 21-3 lead and never looked back in a 78-44 thumping of Idaho State Wednesday at the Kohl Center.
Bronson Koenig (game-high 21) Ethan Happ (12) and Nigel Hayes (11) all reached double figures for Wisconsin (8-2), which finished a perfect 4-0 on its homestand.
The Badgers never looked perfectly in sync from an offensive standpoint, in part because of fouls and rotating in a bevy of players (UW played 15 players and none more than 26 minutes), but did shoot 51.3 percent by dominating the low post. Wisconsin scored 44 points in the paint, shot 24-for-38 (63.2 percent) on 2-point shots and turned 13 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.
The real strength was Wisconsin’s defense, a trait that has been growing for the Badgers over the last several weeks.
After giving up 70 points to Oklahoma Saturday, Wisconsin’s positioning, cutting off scoring lanes and being active off the ball held the Bengals (1-8) to .629 points per possession.
Holding Idaho State to 33.3 percent, including 28.6 in the first half, the Badgers didn’t allow their first points until the 13:58 mark and successfully defended 10 of Idaho State’s first 11 shots.
Idaho State committed 12 of its 17 turnovers in the first half, and UW cashed in 23 points on all the miscues.
Separated by just 75 miles, the Badgers and Golden Eagles meet for the 123rd time in a series that began in 1917. UW and MU have played every year but one since the 1958-59 season (did not play in 1984-85).
Marquette is the Badgers’ most played nonconference rival. MU has met Wisconsin more times than any other opponent in program history.
In UW's last visit to the Bradley Center, the Badgers grinded out a 49-38 win behind 15 points and 10 rebounds from Frank Kaminsky. Josh Gasser contributed 12 points on four 3-pointers. UW shot just 32.7 percent from the floor in that game, while MU was held to only 28.9 percent field goal shooting.
Wisconsin has a good history in the Bradley Center. The Badgers won a pair of N.C.A.A. tournament games there on their way to the 2014 Final Four. The Badgers are 11-8 all-time in the BMO Harris Bradley Center. UW is 7-7 against Marquette in that building, including wins in three of the last five visits to MU.
Including this Saturday's meeting, at least one of the two teams has been ranked in 13 of the last 16 encounters.
UW junior Zak Showalter and MU’s Luke Fischer were teammates on Germantown HS’s 2012 state championship team. T.J. Schlundt’s father, Terrell, played at MU (1980-83) and was team co-captain with Doc Rivers in 1983.
MADISON – Battling back from a 14-point deficit to tie the game twice in the final 90 seconds, a valiant late effort by the Badgers couldn’t clean up all the problems that ultimately led to a 57-55 defeat at the hands of in-state rival Marquette.
The losses are starting to pile up for Wisconsin. Instead of enhancing their resume, the Badgers (6-5) have lost consecutive nonconference games for the first time since 2011, lost at least two games to in-state opponents under Ryan and dropped consecutive nonconference home games for the first time since 1990-91.
UW put four players in double figures, including the first career double-double by Zak Showalter (10 points, 10 rebounds), but the key cogs of UW’s lineup were off its marks.
Three days after scoring a career-high 32 points, Nigel Hayes – plagued by the Golden Eagles’ best perimeter defender in Sandy Cohen - scored just 10 points. Finishing 4-for-18, it’s the fifth straight game the junior preseason All-American has missed at least nine shots.
Bronson Koenig was no better, scoring only eight points on 3-for-11 shooting. In UW’s six wins this season, the junior is 38-for-70 (54.3 percent). In the five losses he’s 20-for-72 (27.8 percent).
After coming undone in the second half in its loss to Milwaukee, Wisconsin was thoroughly dominated, although the final score didn’t always indicate it.
Marquette out ran Wisconsin in transition (17-2 in fast-break points), crushed them in low-post production (36-16) and locked the Badgers down offensively.
Wisconsin hit 2 of its final 14 shots in the first half, including only one point on its final seven possessions of the first half, and came out punch less in the second half by misfiring on 13 of its first 17 shots.
Marquette’s young squad, with three freshmen in the starting lineup, was fairly steady throughout, using its length inside with the 6-11 Ellenson (15 points, 11 rebounds) and the 6-11 Fischer (11 points, 8 rebounds) to shoot 52.2 percent.
Despite shooting 20 more field goal attempts, Wisconsin shot just 36.4 percent and went only 1-for-4 from the free throw line.
UW scored nine points on in five possessions to tie the game at 53 with 1:29 left. Ellenson’s paint jumper swung the lead back to Marquette until Hayes’ jumper tied the score at 55 with 51 seconds left.
The Badgers would get no closer. The Badgers failed to box out Fischer following an Ellenson miss, allowing him the easy tip-in with 27 seconds left.
And to perfectly encapsulate the day, Hayes airballed a layup and a 3-pointer on the next possession and the Badgers failed to box out Fischer after Haanif Cheatham missed the front end of the bonus when UW was forced to foul, allowing the Golden Eagles to practically bleed out the rest of the clock.
Over the last four seasons, Wisconsin has the nation's fourth-highest road/neutral win percentage in college basketball. UW has won six of its last eight nonconference true road games.
Wisconsin has been closing out defensive possessions with the best in the country. UW leads the N.C.A.A. in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 80.7 percent of opponent missed shots. The Badgers are allowing an average of just 5.8 second-chance points per game.
In his fifth year in the program, Showalter is averaging 6.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg with a team-best 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio (23 assists to 9 turnovers).
Trice is UW's top reserve in terms of points (6.4 ppg), assists (1.6 apg) and minutes (17.4) per game.
During their five game winning streak, the Golden Eagles are averaging 93.6 points per game during the current run and shooting 53.5 percent from the field overall, 42.2 percent from long distance and 81.8 percent from the charity stripe.
Through games of Dec. 7, Fischer is ranked second in the Big East and fourth in the nation in field goal percentage (.761). He has also collected enough career field goal attempts to qualify for the program’s career mark in that category and right now would own the top position all-time in field goal percentage (.629).
Sophomore guard Haanif Cheatham is ranked among the top 30 in the league in six different categories: 27th in scoring (11.7 ppg.), 30th in rebounding (4.2 rpg.), eighth in assists (3.4 apg.), ninth in free throw percentage (.862), second in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.5) and 14th in steals (1.3 spg.)
Defensively since Nov. 22, MU opponents are shooting just 43.3 percent from the floor overall and have turned it over an average of 14 times per game. Marquette last won five-in-a-row in 2015-16 during a run that saw the team earn nine-straight wins.
Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski’s analysis of Wisconsin was flattering.
"What I've seen is one of the best teams in the United States," he said. "The very first thing you recognize with them is they have a tremendous amount of winning experience. They have guys who are in supremely key roles that are accustomed to winning. Koenig and Hayes have been a part of I don't know how many wins there, Showalter's the same.”
Wisconsin was out toughed at home last year in what turned out to be the final loss under former head coach Bo Ryan. The Badgers are vastly different from that team a year ago.
Marquette’s M.O. is to get out and run with its guard-oriented lineup, create turnovers and get into fast-tempo games. It sounds familiar in a lot of ways to what Creighton wanted to do to the Badgers and succeeded in UW’s only true road game to date. UW fell into that trap, didn’t play its brand of basketball and delivered a clunker. Gard, Hayes and Koenig all said they would learn from that game. It appears they have, as the kind of basketball UW has played the last week is an encouraging step in the right direction.
Another encouraging sign? After being outplayed at the Kohl Center a year ago, expect Wisconsin’s veteran lineup to really be taking this one personally. Badgers by 8.
Worgull's Record: 8-2
Points off Prediction: 106 (11.4 per game)