Wisconsin challenge, round two

The Badgers face their second consecutive in-state foe with UW-Milwaukee in town for an 11:04 a.m. tip

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What:  UW Milwaukee Panthers (4-2) at UW Badgers (5-1)

When:  Saturday, Dec. 13, 2003, 11:04 a.m.

Site:  Kohl Center Madison, Wis.

Broadcasts:  Live broadcasts on ESPN Plus, WISC-TV in Madison; 43-city Wisconsin Radio Network

Series Notes: UW leads all-time series 19-1


Wisconsin takes on the second of three-straight in-state rivals as they host the UW-Milwaukee Panthers Saturday morning at the Kohl Center. More than the intensity from an intrastate rivalry is the fact that UW head coach Bo Ryan gets to compete versus the team he helped build just a few seasons ago.


The Horizon league team is coming off a 2002-03 season in which it made its first ever trip to the NCAA tournament and lost a heartbreaker to Notre Dame in one of the most memorable games of the year.


Current Milwaukee coach Bruce Pearl, who took over for Ryan, sports a 44-23 record in his third year with the Panthers and has done a remarkable job keeping talent in Milwaukee and continuing to build the program.


UWM enters Saturday's contest coming off an 86-82 road win over Valparaiso Wednesday night. Leading the way for the Panthers was senior forward Dylan Page, who scored 20 points and was one of three UWM players to score in double figures.  


Milwaukee is currently 2-1 on a four-game road trip that concludes against Wisconsin.


Coming off a solid 73-57 victory Wednesday night versus UW-Green Bay, Badger fans got their first taste of sophomore forward Alando Tucker as he returned to action after a foot injury, playing 12 minutes and tallying five points.


Tucker's return adds to an already deep and athletic UW squad, one that shot over 40 percent for only the second time this year. Leading the way for the Badgers was junior guard Devin Harris, who scored 18 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists. Also contributing for the Badgers was senior guard Freddie Owens with 16 points and five rebounds.


Three Keys for UW

1.                  Rebounding – The Badgers outrebounded the Phoenix Wednesday night. They are 4-0 this season when they hit the glass more times than their opponent.


2.                  Aggressive D – The Badgers forced an impressive 17 turnovers versus UWGB. Continuing to play aggressive defense and forcing opponent's mistakes will play a major factor in Wisconsin's games this season.


3.                  Home Court – Milwaukee plays well on the road so the Badgers will have to work to keep the crowd involved.


Three keys for UWM

1.                  Offensive rebounding – As much as rebounding is a key for UW, the same can be said for UWM. The Panthers grabbed a season-high 20 offensive boards versus the Crusaders. More of the same would definitely put the Panthers in good shape.


2.                  Foul line – Free throw shooting must be the key to winning basketball games in the state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee may be as good as the Badgers are at getting to the line. In route to their last victory, the Panthers connected on 24 of 35 free throw attempts, a statistic that will need to be in their favor in order to upset the Badgers.


3.                  Operation Quick Start – The Panthers have done a very nice job of getting off to strong starts. Double-digit first half leads in four of six games is the mark of a very good and dangerous basketball team. A quick beginning that quiets the crowd is what Pearl and his guys need to have the best shot at winning.

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