Max Siker/BadgerNation

No.14 Wisconsin returns from finals break to host Florida A&M in final nonconference tune-up

After eight days off for final exams, No.14 Wisconsin returns to the court tonight for its final nonconference game, hosting short-handed Florida A&M. BadgerNation breaks down the matchup,

Florida A&M (2-10, 0-0 MEAC) vs. No.14 Wisconsin (10-2, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time – Friday, December 23, 8 p.m. central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,287)

Television – Big Ten Network (Jeff Levering and Jon Crispin)

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

Series – Wisconsin leads 2-0 (Wisconsin leads 2-0 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 88-40, on November 16, 2007, in Madison

WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS

3 Zak Showalter (6-3 Senior Guard, 7.6 ppg)

10 Nigel Hayes (6-8 Senior Forward, 14.2 ppg)

22 Ethan Happ (6-10 Sophomore Forward, 13.3 ppg)

24 Bronson Koenig (6-2 Senior Guard, 15.2 ppg)

30 Vitto Brown (6-8 Senior Forward, 7.8 ppg)

OFF THE BENCH

0 D’Mitrik Trice (6-0 Freshman Guard, 6.1 ppg)

15 Charles Thomas (6-8 Sophomore Forward, 2.9 ppg)

21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Sophomore Forward, 5.3 ppg)

PLAYER TO WATCH

Nigel Hayes is one of only three players in the Big Ten averaging 14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 3.0 apg per game this season - Caleb Swanigan (PUR) and Tai Webster (NEB).

FLORIDA A&M PROBABLE STARTERS

0 Desmond Williams (6-5 Junior Forward, 16.3 ppg)

14 Derrick Dandridge (6-8 Junior Center, 6.0 ppg)

21 Justin Ravenel (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 6.9 ppg)

22 Marcus Barham (6-4 Junior Guard, 11.8 ppg)

32 K’Ja Johnson (6-1 Sophomore Guard, 6.2 ppg)

OFF THE BENCH

4 Elijah Mays (6-0 Junior Guard, 5.6 ppg)

5 Nasir Core (6-1 Freshman Guard, 4.4 ppg)

23 Leon Williams (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 5.3 ppg)

PLAYER TO WATCH

Desmond Williams was named MEAC Co-Player of the Week on Monday, after a 20-point, four-rebound, four blocks performance in Saturday’s 75-72 home loss to Jacksonville (Fla.) University. He leads the team in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots.

LAST TIME OUT

MADISON – Showalter tied his career-high with four 3-pointers and was one of three players in double figures in No.14 Wisconsin’s 73-59 victory over the Phoenix last Wednesday.

Hayes led all scorers with 24 points with Showalter (16) and Happ (14) also chipping in for Wisconsin (10-2), which won its sixth in a row.

The production of Hayes and Happ has been expected (the duo now have a combined 17 double-digit scoring games), but Showalter had been stuck in a shooting funk.

Of the four starters who had attempted at least one 3-point field goal this season, Showalter’s 28.6 percent was the lowest among the four. With Green Bay (4-6) paying attention to the low post, Showalter went 4-for-6 from 3-point range, including 3-for-4 in the first half to help the Badgers build a lead it never relinquished.

“They doubled down off of me pretty much every time Ethan caught it,” Showalter said. “It’s just good to see the ball go through and it felt really good tonight.”

While his 3-point marksmanship helped give Wisconsin an early lead, Showalter’s quick hands helped extend it in the second half. Subbed in with the Badgers on a 6-0 run, Showalter delivered a layup, a steal and a steal that turned into a fast-break layup on three straight possessions. The 12-0 run gave the Badgers a 57-36 lead with 8:41 left. UW led by double digits the rest of the way.

The last game before final exams featured a sharp contrast of styles. Green Bay’s 80.3 possessions per game ranked seventh in the country, while Wisconsin’s 67.8 possessions landed them 335th out of 347 division 1 teams.

The Badgers won that battle, holding Green Bay to 33 possessions in the first half and 36 in the second. Wisconsin hit its mark with 68 possessions and 1.04 points per possession.

The Wisconsin offense was at its best when they were sharing the ball. Guilty of over dribbling and not having much movement at times, Wisconsin finished with 18 assists on 27 field goals, including 11 assists on 12 first-half field goals.

Kerem Kanter (15.7 ppg). Charles Cooper (13.7 ppg), Trevor Anderson (10.7 ppg) and Jamar Hurdle (10.3 ppg) are were averaging double figures on the first three games of Green Bay’s current four game road trip.

Only Kanter (team-high 18 points) hit the average, as Cooper (four fouls), Anderson (1-for-6) and Hurdle (1-for-4) were neutralized by Wisconsin playing its tempo.

SERIES NOTES

Wisconsin has beaten the Rattlers by an average of 46 points.

The Badgers are 13-0 against current teams from the MEAC conference. The Badgers have not faced a team from the conference since beating Savannah State, 66-33, in 2011.

LAST MEETING

MADISON - Marcus Landry and Jason Bohannon scored 17 points each as Wisconsin routed Florida A&M, 88-40, on the second day of the America's Youth Classic tournament. It was a career high for Bohannon, who was 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Landry shot 7-for-9 from the floor, missing his career high by two points.

Trevon Hughes, who led the Badgers in scoring in each of their first two games, added 15 for Wisconsin (3-0).

Wisconsin's Brian Butch missed out on his third straight double-double of the season and shot only 4-for-13 from the floor, but scored 11 and had seven rebounds.

Larry Jackson scored eight points to lead Florida A&M (1-2). The Rattlers shot a miserable 30 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 48-21.

It was the 25th straight home victory for the Badgers, who came into the game tied for the fifth-longest home winning streak in the country. It was the 200th career game at Wisconsin for head coach Bo Ryan, who is 145-55 in seven seasons with the Badgers.

The Badgers defense held the Rattlers scoreless over the final 6:20 of the first half, and Florida A&M didn't score again until nearly two minutes into the second half.

Wisconsin ended the first half on a 12-0 run, taking a 39-14 lead into halftime.

WISCONSIN NOTES

Four of the eight longest home winning streaks in UW history have happened with Greg Gard on the bench (as an assistant), including the school-record 38-game winning streak from 2002 to 2005.

According to Ken Pomeroy's rankings, the Badgers have already registered two top-50 wins and five wins over teams in the top 100. Both are the highest marks in the Big Ten. In fact, only Baylor (6), Butler (6), Gonzaga (6) and Villanova (6) have more wins over the KenPom top 100.

Since 2001-02, UW is 161-38 (.809) in nonconference games, including a mark of 117-11 (.914) at the Kohl Center. Since 2003-04, Wisconsin is 100-5 (.952) at home vs. unranked non-con opponents.

The Badgers are out-scoring opponents 42.3 to 31.8 in the second half of games.

FLORIDA A&M NOTES

Prior to beating Jacksonville Trinity Baptist (Nov.15) and Johnson University (Nov.17), the Rattlers hadn’t won consecutive games in Byron Samuels’ first two seasons as head coach.

The Rattlers have had nine consecutive losing seasons since making the N.C.A.A. tournament in 2006-07 and were banned from postseason play last season because of a poor Academic Progress Rate.

Florida A&M ranked 351st (last) in adjusted offensive efficiency a year ago and are 339th this season, averaging 112.8 points per 100 possessions.

The Rattlers haven’t beaten a division 1 team since Feb.22 and haven’t won a game against a division 1 team in regulation since Jan.16.

PREDICTION

The first game back after finals has been a mixed bag for Wisconsin, usually the last nonconference tune-up before conference play begins. In the last six years the Badgers have won two games by at least 30 points, two games between 20-29, one game between 10-19 and won last year’s game by five. The team that swept the conference titles and went to the national championship game only beat Buffalo by 12, so the Badgers haven’t always looked crisp against teams they’re clearly better than.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of Wisconsin team we’ll see at the Kohl Center, but the Badgers could start Brevin Pritzl, T.J. Schlundt, Matt Ferris, Aaron Moesch and Andy Van Vliet and still be OK against what appears to be an awful Rattlers team.

Florida A&M has lost nine straight, is 0-10 against division-1 teams this year and have an RPI ranked No.345 in the country (out of 351 teams). It’s not like the Rattlers have played a challenging schedule either. Of their 10 d-1 losses, nine are to teams with RPI higher than 172, including nine higher than 225.

Oh yeah, the Rattlers also played last night. After losing 83-63 at Samford Thursday night (the game tipped off at 7:30 p.m.), the already short-handed Rattlers bused 145 miles to Atlanta in order to catch a commercial flight to Milwaukee this morning. If there are no hiccups, they’ll arrive in town by bus by noon in time for a shoot around. That’s a tough schedule for even the best mid-major teams.

Wisconsin hasn’t lost a December game with a week off in advance since 1996 when it lost by two at home to Providence. The Badgers won’t lose this one either. UW by 37.

Worgull's Record: 10-2

Points off Prediction: 111 (9.3 per game)

 


Badger Nation Top Stories