When: Tuesday, Dec. 30, 8:06 p.m.
Site: Coleman Coliseum (15,316), Tuscaloosa, AL
Broadcasts: Wisconsin Radio Network, ESPN Plus (WISC in Madison)
Series Notes: UW leads all-time series 8-2
Carrying the longest winning streak in the Big Ten, the No. 15 Badgers look for number six in a row as they head down south to take on Alabama Tuesday night. In what will be UW's final non-conference road game of the season; the Badgers will look to finish 2003 strong and enter 2004 on a positive note.
Coach Bo Ryan's Badgers are coming off a dominating win versus Ohio on Saturday in the Rock-n-Roll Shootout in Cleveland. En route to the 71-48 victory, four Badgers notched double-digit scoring with sophomore forward Alando Tucker leading the way with 22. Junior guard Devin Harris added 14 along with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals, junior forward Zach Morley pitched in 14 while junior forward Mike Wilkinson also added 10 points.
The Badgers came out red hot and connected on five of their first eight three-point attempts. Wisconsin also came with its customary tough defensive effort forcing 18 turnovers in proving to be too much for Ohio to handle.
However, up next for UW is a very athletic and unfamiliar SEC opponent. The Crimson Tide are rolling off of one of the biggest victories in school history as they destroyed Mercer last Saturday 101-44, the largest margin of victory ever in the Coliseum. Alabama recorded season highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals and enters its matchup with Wisconsin seeking its fourth victory in a row.
Six Alabama players notched double figures in points versus Mercer, including all five starters, led by junior guard Earnest Shelton with 20. Shelton paces the team averaging 17.3 points per contest but like UW the key to their success depends on the contributions of the entire team and the bench support.
Three keys for UW:
- Free Throws – The Badgers are outscoring their opponents by an average of 10.6 points per game from the charity stripe.
- Playing clean – UW averages the fewest turnovers per game in the nation with 9.2 per contest. The combination of strong ball control and solid free throw shooting makes the Badgers tough to beat.
- Seven – The Badgers are 7-0 this season when they lead at halftime and 7-0 this season when they outrebound their opponent.
Three Keys for Alabama:
Pouring it on – ‘Bama fans hope that last Saturday's 100-point explosion is a sign that their team is capable of pouring it on offensively. In order to beat the Badgers, they'll need to find ways to score in every way, shape and form
Paint presence – In their last outing, the Crimson Tide outscored Mercer 56-18 in the paint along with blocking five shots. Those kind of statistics will be tough to match, but Alabama must win the battles in the paint in order to contend with Wisconsin.
Boards –The Crimson Tide have corralled about four more rebounds per game than their opponents, while Wisconsin has a plus-5.2 rebound margin. Whichever team does the best job limiting second-chance opportunities will have a significant advantage.