Badgers Slam Eau Claire

Junior Joe Krabbenhoft and sophomore Trevon Hughes led the Badgers with 13 points and Wisconsin holds UW-Eau Claire to just 12 points in the second half in route to a 74-35 exhibition victory.

MADISON - After completing the exhibition season with a 74-35 win over UW-Eau Claire Wednesday, the University of Wisconsin basketball team feels as if it is ready for the regular season to begin.

"At the end of the game and the clock was winding down, we all kind of looked at each and said, ‘Now we're ready to go,'" said guard/forward Joe Krabbenhoft, who scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds Wednesday.

However, UW head coach Bo Ryan has a different take.

"It's a start," he said. "You have to like it because you don't have any other choice."

Either way, Wisconsin tips off the regular season Sunday against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. But it does appear as though the Badgers are ready to get the ball rolling.

Wisconsin came out with the same starting five as the exhibition opener — Krabbenhoft, Trevon Hughes, Marcus Landry, Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma - and there's no indication that will change once the regular season begins.

At a press conference Monday, Ryan said he is still looking at different line-ups, but that he plans on using a nine or 10-man rotation; a rotation that would likely include the starting five, Michael Flowers, Jason Bohannon, Morris Cain and freshmen Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil.

"I'm not going to put a guy on the floor that I don't feel is going to work hard and do what we ask," Ryan said. "I feel confident in all these guys; it's just that some are a little further ahead than others right now."

Junior forward Kevin Gullikson sat out for the second straight exhibition game with an ankle injury.

But establishing the rotation isn't even Wisconsin's biggest question heading into the regular season, it's who will step up and provide scoring with Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor gone.

Some might point the finger to junior forward Marcus Landry, but he has a different answer.

"Going into this year, we knew this team would be a team as to where we could have several guys scoring the same amount of points," he said. "It wouldn't be focused on two guys a great amount of points. This year, we have a several different guys that can score so it's to our advantage."

In the game against UW-Eau Claire Wednesday, Wisconsin displayed this sense of a well-balanced offense, as all players chipped in for the scoring load. Krabbenhoft and Hughes tied for a team-high 13 points, Landry had 11, Butch scored nine and Stiemsma and Bohannon each provided six.

Yet despite the balanced scoring, Wisconsin had a little bit of trouble breaking away from UW-Eau Claire, as the Blugolds cut the lead to 18-16 about midway through the first half. Also, the Badgers struggled a bit at the free-throw line (60 percent) and had some costly turnovers (10 for the game).

Still, the Badgers feel as though they are prepared for the regular season as they treated the exhibition games as real games.

"We treated it as a normal game," Hughes said. "Coming into the game we knew it was going to be a little lopsided with the score, but Coach had prepared us and wanted to make sure this was a learning experience."

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