Preview: Grambling State vs. Wisconsin

Less than 72 hours after Wisconsin made national headlines by beating No.6 Duke to help clinch the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, the Badgers head back to the hardwood to take on the Grambling State Tigers of the SWAC conference.

Grambling State (1-3, 0-0 SWAC) vs. Wisconsin (5-1, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, December 5, at 12 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)

Television - None (

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

Series – Wisconsin leads 1-0

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 103-83, on Dec. 29, 1993 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 16.2 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 11.0 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 3.8 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Junior Forward, 14.3 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 8.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 3.5 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 6.3 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Freshman Forward, 1.6 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 2.8 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Freshman Center, 1.4 ppg)

Grambling State Probable Starters

1 Ariece Perkins (Senior Guard, 15.5 ppg)

10 Torez Young (Freshman Guard, 7.8 ppg)

11 Kevin Loyd (Sophomore Guard, 4.8 ppg)

20 Lance Fuertado (Junior Guard, 13.8 ppg)

33 George Akpele (Senior Forward, 4.0 ppg)

Off the Bench

2 Donald Qualls (Junior Guard, 9.7 ppg)

3 Terdarin Bryson (Freshman Guard, 2.8 ppg)

4 Maurice Wilkerson (Senior Forward, 2.5 ppg)

Last Time Out:

Wisconsin wasn't supposed to compete with All-Americans and the prestige but not only did the Badgers compete against the Blue Devils, they never trailed, made the Blue Devils play their tempo and did what no other Big Ten team could do against them in the Challenge, beat them, registering a 73-69 victory Wednesday night.

Not bad for a team picked no higher than seventh in the Big Ten

"I am really happy for our guys, students, fans to get a game here like this and to deliver," UW coach Bo Ryan said. "Our guys delivered."

Nobody said it would come easy for the Badgers (5-1), and few things could be classified as such, especially against a Duke (6-1) team that led the ACC in scoring offense (84.5 points per game) and scoring margin (26.3 points) and hung its hat on defense, leading the nation in field goal percentage defense coming in and were allowing an average of 58.2 points in their first six games.

Although ranked tenth in the conference in scoring offense, the Badgers second-ranked scoring defense did a number on Duke players not named Kyle Singler. The Badgers limited Duke's other four starters to a combined 8-of-22 and 29 points and the Blue Devils couldn't make a field goal during an eight minutes, 45 seconds stretch in the second.

With the Blue Devils struggling, the Badgers built a lead thanks to Hughes, who scored 19 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and, at one point, eight straight UW points to build an 11-point UW lead to 5:08 remaining.

"He's just a really good player," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Hughes. "I thought he was good then. Now he's two years older and he's really good. He's a damn good player."

"They played a real veteran game. The last eight minutes, we put ourselves in position where we couldn't win."

Even then, it wasn't going to be that easy, especially when freshman Andre Dawkins starting heating up from the perimeter. Dawkins his three three-pointers in four possessions, bringing Duke to within two with 1:46 left on the clock.

But unlike so many times last season when the Badgers let a victory slip through their fingers in the final minutes, Wisconsin answered the bell.

After seniors Jason Bohannon and Jon Scheyer traded two free throws, Leuer made one of two free throws and Singler followed with a bucket to cut Wisconsin's lead to 70-69 with 5.7 seconds left.

Hughes, as he was all second half, was clutch, hitting two free throws after he was fouled to extend the lead to 72-69 with 4.9 seconds left and got a gift when the sure-handed Singler miss fired an inbounds pass out of bounds at mid-court. That allowed Jordan Taylor to sink one free throw to ice the game.

Series Notes:

The Badgers have faced Grambling State once, beating the Tigers in the UW Field House in 1993.

Wisconsin is a perfect 7-0 against the SWAC, holding a 2-0 record against Texas Southern and a 1-0 record against Alcorn State, Grambling, Mississippi Valley State and Southern.

Wisconsin Notes:

With the win over Duke, Wisconsin is now 62-5 (.925) in non-conference home games under Bo Ryan and have beaten four straight ACC opponents for the first time in school history (Virginia Tech 12/1/08, Florida State 3/20/09, Maryland 11/25/09 and Duke 12/2/09). The Badgers also own a 46-11 (.807) record in the month of December.

The victory was the first time Wisconsin has beaten an opponent ranked in the AP top 10 since winning at No. 9 Texas, 67-66 (12/29/07). The last time Wisconsin beat an opponent ranked in the AP top 5 was a 72-69 win over Ohio State (1/9/07).

The Badgers (5-1) have now started each of the last eight seasons with a record of 5-1 or better.

Leuer (illness) did not practice Thursday

With victories over Maryland and Duke, UW has consecutive victories over ranked teams for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. UW beat No. 4 Arizona, No. 10 LSU and No. 25 Purdue en route to the Final Four that season

Grambling State Notes:

The Tigers were picked to finish last (10th) in the SWAC.

Henry White, a native of Milwaukee, was a junior Criminal Justice major and a member of the university's basketball team passed away on August 26 after being hospitalized following participation in conditioning on Grambling's campus on Aug 14.

Worgull's Prediction

I have never been more happy to be wrong on a prediction. I also have never been happier to see a lively student section. Those fans lined up around the block more than 90 minutes prior to kickoff deserve a big hand, as the Grateful Red were a big reason UW got its revenge against Duke.

Trevon Hughes is a star and showed it against the Blue Devils, scoring 19 of his 26 points after halftime and hit countless tough, clutch shots in the second half when his team with scuffling. Ryan Evans is a hidden gem. His defense on Kyle Singler down the stretch was phenomenal and impressive. Who ever would have thought you'd see a school like Duke go into a zone to try and slow down the Wisconsin offense? That's a testament right there to how underrated these Badgers are and how good they can be this season.

Of course, lose to Grambling State and that ship sails out of the harbor as quick as it docked. Next week is a tough week for Wisconsin, who travel to in-state rival Green Bay on Wednesday and have a quick turn around to host hated-rival Marquette. Speaking of Marquette, the Golden Eagles beat the Tigers by 46 two weeks ago, so it will be an interesting gauge.

Now that we have got the horror stories and bad news out of the way, UW is much better than the Tigers, who are struggling out of the gates, and should beat them by 27.

Worgull's Record: 3-3

Points off Prediction: 59 (9.8 per game)

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