What: Detroit Titans (2-1) at UW Badgers (3-1
When: Saturday, December 6, 2003, 7:00 p.m.
Site: Kohl Center Madison, WI
Broadcasts: No TV broadcast, 43-city Wisconsin Radio Network
Series Notes: UW leads all-time series 2-0
With a 2-0 home record this season, the No. 15 UW men's basketball team (3-1) return to the Kohl Center to play host to the Detroit Titans (2-1) of the Horizon League Saturday night.
Home is definitely where coach Bo Ryan's Badgers want to be after a disheartening loss on the road at No. 25 Maryland Tuesday in which the Badgers were controlled from the get-go by a smaller, faster, less-experienced Terrapin squad. Led by junior guard Devin Harris' 24 points and seven assists, the Badgers mounted a strong second half comeback capped by a three-pointer by junior forward Mike Wilkinson with 12.5 seconds left in regulation to put UW up by one. Wilkinson also finished the game with 14 points and nine rebounds. However, overtime ensued and the Badgers were outscored 12-6 in the extra session and handed their first loss of the season.
"There were a lot of things we didn't do the way we wanted to or the way we could've," Wilkinson said. "We're just going to try and come out and do what we did there, all the good things, and try and fix some of the bad things. We are always trying to come out and play our best game possible."
Up next and not to be overlooked is coach Perry Watson's Detroit Titans, a very solid team whose only loss this season came against Duke.
An experienced team that is strong enough to go eight or nine men deep, Detroit has seven players that averaged 20 minutes or more over their first three games, with no one player averaging more than 30 minutes per contest.
Even with this depth, the Titans are still paced by their experienced backcourt. The combination of junior guard James Thues and senior guard Rulon Harris has played well in the Titan's first three games. Thues, a transfer from Syracuse University leads the team in assists at 4.7 per game and is the Titan's most reliable three-point threat while Harris is second on the team in scoring average, pitching in just over ten points a game.
"We know they're going to push it at us and play us tough and physical like any other team we're going to play against for the rest of the year," senior guard Freddie Owens said. "We are just going to try and come out and run good offense and (play) solid defense, rebound, you know just be scrappy and just try and pull out a win."
Three keys to victory for UW:
- Hitting the glass – The Badgers will need to do a better job offensively and defensively when it comes to rebounding the basketball. Although they out-rebounded Maryland, the number of second chance opportunities given up by UW was one of the major keys for Terps' victory on Tuesday.
- Mr. Clean – UW coughed up the ball a season-high 14 times in their last outing with nine coming in the first half. To defeat a tough Detroit team, they'll need to go back to playing the clean game fans have become accustomed to under coach Ryan.
- Starting strong – UW is 34-5 under Coach Ryan when they are leading at the half. Starting strong will be a huge key to getting the home crowd involved early and therefore giving the team a better chance at tallying another victory.
Three keys to victory for Detroit
- D-Fence – The Titans are holding opponents to an incredible .322 percent shooting from the field. A lot of that has to do with the tough man-to-man defense they play to force bad perimeter shots, something they can easily bait the Badgers into doing.
- Foul play – The Titans are averaging a mind-numbing 24.0 fouls per game through three contests. To beat the Badgers, an excellent foul shooting team, Detroit will need to play smart and limit the number of fouls they entice.
- Early risers – As much as it is an importance for UW to get off to a good start early, as is the same for Detroit. Versus Duke, Western Michigan and Oakland, the Titans went on early runs of 12-0, 11-0 and 11-2, respectively, to get off to a solid start and set the tempo.