With 22 turnovers and a porous defense to begin the second half, the Badgers got blown out of the water by the Waves of Pepperdine and embarrassed in a 14-point loss.
However, for the Badger players, the loss was a wake-up call for how the team needs to perform to be successful on the road.
"We're motivated. Motivated from the first loss," sophomore forward Alando Tucker said. "We can't be a team that wins every home game and loses on the road. Guys now realize that the road is tough to play on and everybody has to step up their intensity."
The Badgers get their next crack at their first road win Saturday as they take on Rutgers. Scarlet Knight coach Gary Waters' squad is coming off a tough 83-80 loss at home versus Penn State Wednesday.
"Penn State must have played pretty well, because that's a tough place to go in and win," Badger head coach Bo Ryan said.
Senior guard Sharif Chambliss agrees.
"Rutgers is really intense," Chambliss said. "I know coach [Gary] Waters is really an intense coach. We know we have to go in there and play our game and set the tempo."
Rutgers had fully anticipated heading into its matchup with Wisconsin as an unbeaten team. Now, they are looking to bounce back and will have a sold-out crowd to urge them on Saturday night.
Along with dictating the flow, UW must control the Scarlet Knights' offensive attack, which boasts three players averaging double-digit points and two who average more than 18 per contest.
Sophomore Quincy Douby, a member of the 2003 All-Big East Freshman Team, paces Rutgers in scoring with 20.3 per game. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native is also second on the team in assists and combined with senior guard Ricky Shields, the Scarlet Knights present two very heady, athletic players likely to be a handful for the Badgers' defense. As a duo, the two have accounted for nearly 53 percent (116 of 219) of the team's points this season.
"They're very good," Ryan said. "They can shoot from long range [and are] good with the ball—extremely athletic with the ball and with their eye-hand coordination. They've got both ends working."
As a group, Rutgers is shooting 44.5 percent from the field, 42.6 percent from downtown and a dismal 63 percent from the charity stripe. Overall, the team is averaging 73 points per game, and also nearly eight made three-pointers per contest, but the problem for the Scarlet Knights stems from inconsistencies on the defensive side of the ball.
On the year, Rutgers is allowing more than 70 points a game and letting opponents shoot better than 53 percent from the field. In addition to defense, rebounding has been a sore spot for the Scarlet Knight, with an even rebounding margin. On top of that, Rutgers is allowing opponents to grab 13.6 offensive rebounds a game.
This bodes real well for a Badger team that carries a plus-6.3 rebounding margin on the year.
While rebounding is a real cause for concern for Rutgers, their athleticism all over the floor has allowed them to make up for their inconsistencies on the glass.
One thing the Badger players remember about Rutgers from a year ago is their athleticism and how much they resemble a team they just beat—Maryland.
With that potential and ability existing, the Badgers feel they need to start off strong like they did versus Maryland. Also, they said they'll need to do a better job getting to the free-throw line in this game—something they did 23 times against Pepperdine (12 of which came from sophomore Kammron Taylor).
"I think a lot of guys just didn't bring as much intensity to Pepperdine, but I think they learned a lesson and are ready and willing to bring it now versus Rutgers," Tucker said.
What: Wisconsin (3-1) at Rutgers (2-1)
When: Saturday, Dec. 4, 2004, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Rutgers Athletic Center, Piscataway, N.J.
Broadcast: Game will not be televised but will be broadcast live on the 46-city Wisconsin Radio Network.
Series Notes: This will be third meeting between the two schools. UW has won both previous meetings including a 68-55 win in Madison last year.