Preview: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

The time for walking the beach, going snorkeling and lounging by the pool is over for the Wisconsin men's basketball team. Playing the nightcap in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational Monday, the Badgers will play a young Arizona team that is led by one of the best point guards in the Pac 10.

Arizona (2-0, 0-0 Pac 10) vs. Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Monday, November 23, at 11 p.m. Central

Arena – Lahaina Civic Center (2,400) - Lahaiana, Hawaii

Television - ESPN2(Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas & Bill Raftery)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas)

Series – Tied 2-2

Last Meeting – Arizona won, 94-75, in 2006 NCAA Tournament

Wisconsin Probable Starters

3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 11.5 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 9.5 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 5.5 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Junior Forward, 15.5 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 9.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 5.0 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 4.0 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 5.5 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Freshman Center, 1.0 ppg)

Arizona Probable Starters

13 Nic Wise (Senior Guard, 15.0 ppg)

23 Derrick Williams (Freshman Forward, 9.0 ppg)

24 Brendan Lavender (Sophomore Guard, 5.0 ppg)

42 Jamelle Horne (Junior Forward, 13.5 ppg)

44 Solomon Hill (Freshman Forward, 14.5 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Kyryl Natyazhko (Freshman Center, 3.5 ppg)

12 Lamont Jones (Freshman Guard, 8.0 ppg)

21 Kyle Fogg (Sophomore Guard, 8.0 ppg)

Last Time Out:

Wisconsin (2-0) struggled from the floor, shooting only 41.5 percent for the game, and committed seven turnovers in the final six minutes and 15 for the game, but got plenty of second-half post production from junior Keaton Nankivil to dispatch a cold-shooting Oakland team, 58-42.

After being limited to only two points and four rebounds in the first half, Nankivil finished with 13 points, shooting 5-of-8 from the floor, with nine rebounds, four blocks, including back-to-back blocks on shots in the paint, and two steals, most of which coming after halftime.

"He got on the glass and he's trying to find his niche," said UW coach Bo Ryan. "He's obviously better this year than last year and he's more active … I think Keaton has a lot of areas he still needs to work on, but whatever he gives us we'll take."

Nankivil was key in helping UW's interior defense shut down all-league preseason selections Derick Nelson and Keith Benson, who shot a combined 8-of-23 shooting and 18 points. The UW guards also flustered the Golden Grizzlies perimeter game, as Oakland shot 3-of-19 from 3-point range.

Hughes led the Badgers with 15 points and registered a career-high seven rebounds.

Last Meeting

The Wildcats scored on their first eight possessions, jumped out to a 24-8 lead nine minutes in and cruised to the 94-75 win over Wisconsin in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in Philadelphia. In what could have been Arizona's best all-around performance of the season, the squad shot 59.3 percent from the field, posted a 36-27 rebound margin and had five players finish in double figures. Hassan Adams scored a game-high 21 points, while Ivan Radenovic tallied 18 points and Mustafa Shakur added 17 points and nine assists.

Series Notes:

The Badgers and Wildcats have met three times previously on neutral courts, with each of their last two meetings coming in the NCAA tournament. Wisconsin earned a 66-59 win on its way to the 2000 Final Four, while Arizona claimed a 94-75 victory in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

First-year head coach Sean Miller was an assistant at Wisconsin during the 1992-93 season. Miller is 1-0 against Wisconsin as a head coach, registering a 60-49 victory over the Badgers as the head coach of Xavier last season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Miller had four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Tournament appearance in five years at Xavier.

Arizona has a 31-29 (.517) record against current Big Ten Conference members and is 4-3 against the league over the previous five seasons. Wisconsin is 18-30 (.375) against the current Pac 10 members. UW hasn't won a game against a Pac 10 opponent since beating top-ranked Arizona, 66-59, in the second round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament. UW advanced to the only Final Four in school history.

The Badgers have only played two games against Pac 10 opponents since 1996, both against Arizona.

The Wildcats and Badgers traveled a combined 7,036 miles for this neutral-site match-up.

Wisconsin Notes:

Bo Ryan has taken his UW squad to Hawaii on one previous occasion, going 1-2 in the 2001 Big Island Invitational in his first season at the helm. The Badgers opened that season 1-4 but went on to win the Big Ten title.

The Badgers have made seven trips to Hawaii for tournaments, owning a 10-9 mark on the island. In UW's only other Maui Invitational appearance (1995), the Badgers lost back-to-back games vs. No. 3 Villanova and No. 4 UCLA before beating Chaminade in Dick Bennett's first three games at Wisconsin.

As a team, the Badgers are shooting a sizzling 80.0 percent (24-of-30) from the free throw line through two games. Trevon Hughes, Nankivil, Jason Bohannon and Rob Wilson have yet to miss.

Arizona Notes:

This marks the fifth appearance for Arizona in the Maui Invitational (1993, 1997, 2000, 2005). In 12 previous Maui Invitational games, UA averages 82.4 points per game and has broken the 90-point plateau four times. In addition to Arizona's history in the Maui Invitational, the Wildcats have played a total of 22 games in the Aloha State. All-time, UA is 15-7 (.682) in games played in Hawaii, including berths in the Rainbow Classic (1968, 1975), Hawaii-Pacific Classic (1984) and the Hawaii Tip-Off Tourney (1991).

Senior Nic Wise equaled a career high with five steals in Thursday's win to propel the Wildcats to 11 steals, a high to date. Obviously, the season is just 80 minutes old, so a season high isn't that newsworthy. But reaching double figures is. By comparison, Arizona collected 10 or more steals in a game just three times in 35 outings a year ago.

Despite having six players with four or more rebounds, Arizona was outrebounded for the first time this season vs. Rice, 41-39. Arizona's still carries a +3.0 rebound margin into the EA Sports Maui Invitational. Jamelle Horne leads the team with a 9.0 rebounds per game average, while Solomon Hill averages 5.5 rebounds per contest.

The Wildcat starting frontline of Derrick Williams, Jamelle Horne and Solomon Hill put forth a solid effort in Thursday's victory, combining for 35 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. The trio connected on 16-of-32 shots from the floor (.500). Incidentally, 20 of those 35 points came in the second half against Rice.

Worgull's Prediction

Before we all start flipping out about Wisconsin struggling to beat a mid-major from the Summit League, let us remember who the Badgers were dealing with. Oakland returned a boat-load of scoring and experience from a decent team last year and is picked to win the Summit League. So what you say? Former Badger assistant Saul Phillips will point to his North Dakota State team beating Kansas last season as proof that the Summit League is a pretty good league.

That having said, the Badgers need to improve from three-point range if they are going to effective this season. Wisconsin's 49 percent shooting overall is because 1) the Badgers have had their way in the paint against smaller opponents and 2) UW got Oakland's biggest threat - Keith Benson - in foul trouble early and made him a non-factor. There's no way around UW shooting 14.7 percent from the perimeter.

Arizona has a lot of weapons, but they have a lot of youth. Wisconsin has some weapons, but a lot of experience. It's the classic question - does talent trump experience? We're about to find out in what should be an exciting match-up. I'm going to go with Arizona in a close seven-point win.

Worgull's Record: 2-0

Points off Prediction:6


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