When: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2004, 8:00 p.m. CST
Site: Kohl Center (17,142), Madison, Wis.
Broadcasts: ESPN Plus (WISC in Madison), Wisconsin Radio Network
Series Notes: Michigan leads all-time series 84-64
For No. 21 Wisconsin, home games seem to come at the most opportune times.
2-0 this season after losses, and 9-0 in coach Bo Ryan's three seasons at UW in home games after road losses, the Badgers will look to extend their conference-best 22-game home winning streak and rebound in Big Ten play Wednesday night in a matchup with Michigan.
Following a week off after their first loss in conference play last Wednesday at the hands of Purdue, and for the third time overall this season, the Badgers will look to get back to their winning ways in a place that appears to make all of UW's troubles disappear.
"They are really a team that is evident by their winning streak and confidence that not many people are able to hang with them at the Kohl Center," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. "They've shot the ball well and just played with a tremendous amount of confidence and poise at their court. Unbeatable at home over the past two years, that says a lot."
In order for UW to maintain its home court advantage, they will undoubtedly need to dictate the tempo of the game, which includes forcing turnovers and frequently making trips to the free throw line.
In addition, the Badgers will need to utilize their depth, especially when matching up with a very athletic and motivated Wolverines team, one that is now eligible for postseason play.
"They're talented, they're long and they're quick," Ryan said. "(Daniel) Horton is still one of the best point guards around. Sometimes your shooting goes up, your percentages will go up and down, but Michigan presents, with a freshman in (Dion) Harris….Believe me, every time we play somebody our players think this is the greatest team that has ever played, based on what we show them, because we show them their strengths."
Unfortunately for Amaker, his team has lost two of its first three Big Ten games thus far and both have been on the road.
Most recently losing on the road at Michigan State, the Wolverines continue to demonstrate a difficulty scoring on offense this season and are plagued by sloppy play on both sides of the ball.
With big wins on the road at Butler and at home versus UCLA, the Wolverines have the makings of a quality team, yet will need to find a spark on the road to dethrone the Big Ten's reigning champion.
Match up of the game
In light of recent injury to UW senior guard Freddie Owens, the key match up will be along the perimeter. The Badgers will need big minutes from reserve guard junior Clayton Hanson and sophomore forward Ray Nixon to compliment starters junior Devin Harris and sophomore Boo Wade. The Wolverines will counter with their young and athletic starting trio of sophomore guard Daniel Horton, senior wing Bernard Robinson, Jr. and sophomore wing Lester Abram and top reserve freshman guard Dion Harris.
By the Numbers:
2 – The number of UW games in the last 22 wins at home that were decided by 11 points or less.
9.1 – UW's nation-leading average in turnovers per game.
19.3 – The number of minutes sophomore guard Ray Nixon is averaging over the last four games, contributing in a variety of ways for UW.
13.6 – MU guard Bernard Robinson Jr.'s team leading points per game average.
5.5 – 3-pointers made per contest for Michigan.
17.4 – turnovers averaged per game by Michigan opponents
2.14 – the average blocks per game for Michigan center Courtney Sims.
|Bernard Robinson Jr.||6-6||Sr.||W||13.6||5.8||3.5|