Preview: No.20 Wisconsin vs. Green Bay

Finding themselves in the national rankings for the first time this season, No.20 Wisconsin will begin its annual three-game in-state competition on Wednesday, as the Badgers beat the snowstorm of the decade in order to make the rare road visit to Green Bay to take on the Phoenix.

No.20 AP/No.23 Coaches Wisconsin (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. Green Bay (8-2, 2-0 Horizon League)

Date/Time - Wednesday, December 9, at 7 p.m. Central

Arena – Resch Center (10,200)

Television - None

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

Series – Wisconsin leads 15-0

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 77-57, on Dec. 13, 2008 in Madison

Wisconsin Probable Starters

3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 16.7 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 11.0 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 3.6 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Junior Forward, 13.9 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 8.1 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 3.7 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 7.0 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Freshman Forward, 1.7 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 3.2 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Freshman Center, 2.0 ppg)

Green Bay Probable Starters

0 Bryquis Perine (Junior Guard, 12.8 ppg)

10 Troy Cotton (Senior Guard, 14.9 ppg)

20 Rahmon Fletcher (Junior Guard, 17.2 ppg)

23 Randy Berry (Senior Forward, 7.1 ppg)

43 Matt Smith (Freshman Forward, 3.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Rian Pearson (Freshman Guard, 5.1 ppg)

31 Seth Evans (Freshman Guard, 6.4 ppg)

34 Cordero Barkley (Senior Forward, 6.7 ppg)

Last Time Out:

The Badgers took control of the game early and remained in command for the rest of the contest, cruising to a 79–46 victory. Wisconsin was able to utilize superior strength, size, speed and skill to have their way with the Tigers throughout the entire contest. The Badgers seemed to have a mismatch at every position and it was simply a matter of what player was going to shoot.

Wisconsin jumped out to 41-27 halftime lead behind the strong play of senior guards Hughes and Bohannon. Bohannon was able to hit two threes near the start of the game and continued to shoot well throughout the contest in route to 11 points on 4-6 shooting. Meanwhile, Hughes started a bit slow but quickly picked it up and ended up leading the Badgers with 20 points on 6–11 from the field and 6–7 from the line. Leuer added 11 points from the post and Taylor contributed 11 points off the bench to round out a balanced Badger attack this afternoon.

On defense, the Badgers were able to suffocate the smaller Tigers with excellent on ball defense and a strong presence in the paint from the Badger big men. Wisconsin held the Tigers to 29% shooting, forced 11 turnovers and allowed only 13 assists for the game. Donald Qualls ended up with 15 points for the Tigers and was the only player from Grambling State in double figures.

Last Meeting

Coming off a tight game against Idaho State, Wisconsin was once again locked in a close game against UW-Green Bay. But, as UW head coach Bo Ryan knows all too well, basketball is a game of runs, and Wisconsin's run was more than due.

The Badgers capitalized off of a 12-0 late in the second half to put the Phoenix away, en route to a 77-57 victory.

"We took advantage of some opportunities," Ryan said. "It's the 3-point line, it's substituting, it's combos on the floor sometimes, there's a lot of things, but runs in basketball, they're just common."

And it was another run that UW-Green Bay head coach Tod Kowalczyk believed made the difference in the game.

While it appeared as if the game would go into halftime almost deadlocked, the Badgers (8-2) went on a 8-2 run to close out the first half with a score of 39-32. Three-pointers by Tim Jarmusz and Trevon Hughes aided this run, as well as some mistakes by the Phoenix.

Joe Krabbenhoft led Wisconsin with 15 points, while Marcus Landry added 14 points. Jason Bohannon and Jarmusz chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

But it was Hughes' play that made the difference for the Badgers. He scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. Hughes' ability to penetrate to the lane helped Wisconsin jumpstart its offense after a lackluster offensive night versus Idaho State earlier in the week and was evident by the Badgers' 26-12 point advantage in the paint.

Series Notes:

Wisconsin has a perfect 15-0 record vs. Green Bay, including a 2-0 mark in games played in Green Bay. The Badgers recorded a 69-52 win at Green Bay in Ryan's second season at UW (11/30/02). Ryan's eight wins vs. the Phoenix have come by an average of 16.4 points per game.

Green Bay is 2-32 all time against schools out of the Big Ten Conference. The Phoenix victories have come against Purdue (12-7-91) and Northwestern (12-27-86).

UW is 76-22 against the Horizon League - 17-13 vs. Butler, 1-0 vs. Cleveland State, 3-0 vs. Detroit, 0-1 vs Illinois Chicago (UW will host UIC on Dec. 27), 10-7 vs. Loyola Chicago, 25-1 vs. Milwaukee (UW will host UWM on Dec. 23), 3-0 vs. Valparaiso and 2-0 vs. Wright State.

Wisconsin Notes:

The Badgers knocked off back-to-back teams ranked among the AP top 25 (No. 21 Maryland and No. 6 Duke) for the first time since beating three straight top-25 opponents in the 2000 NCAA tournament. In that run, the Badgers beat No. 4 Arizona, No. 10 LSU and No. 25 Purdue on their way to the Final Four. Wisconsin is one of just five teams with two wins over ranked opponents. Cincinnati is the only other team to have beaten a pair of ranked foes in back-to-back games.

Senior Trevon Hughes was named Big Ten Player of the Week for his performances in a pair of wins over No. 6 Duke and Grambling State. This is Hughes' first Player of the Week honor and Wisconsin's first since Joe Krabbenhoft took home the accolade on Feb. 16, 2009. He is the first UW guard to win the honor since Kammron Taylor on Jan. 15, 2007.

The Badgers are a perfect 6-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle. UW is averaging 4.4 (35.4 to 31.0) more rebounds per game than its opponents this season. Overall, UW is 145-22 when out-rebounding its foes in the Bo Ryan era.

The two members of Wisconsin's senior backcourt could both be poised to crack the 1,000-point barrier this season. Hughes has scored 951 career points and needs just 49 points to become the 34th member of UW's 1,000-point club. Bohannon (863 points) is 137 points shy of the milestone.

Green Bay Notes:

Through Monday, Green Bay is one of just 13 teams in the nation with at least eight wins. Green Bay has played 10 of its 31 games, meaning it is nearly one-third of the way through the regular season (32.3 percent) in just 23 calendar days. The only team in the nation to play more games than Green Bay is Florida International.

Green Bay is 8-2 for the first time since the 1995-96 campaign, a year the team went 25-4 and made its last NCAA Tournament appearance. Green Bay has been 8-2 in its first 10 games only five times in its Division I history, which started in 1981-82 (1987-88, 1989-90, 1991-92, 1995-96, 2009-10).

Green Bay features seven players from the state of Wisconsin, including three starters.

Green Bay is 3-27 all time against opponents ranked in the top 25 nationally. In its most recent game against a ranked team, the Phoenix defeated No. 11 Butler by a 75- 66 count in the Resch Center (Feb. 2, 2009).

The Badgers, ranked 20th by the Associated Press, are just the ninth top-25 opponent ever to play in Green Bay. The Phoenix has a 2-6 all-ti me mark in its eight previous home games against ranked schools.

Worgull's Prediction

I am still feeling the effects of the storm of the century, as flights from Denver to Milwaukee are canceled for the next several days. I guess I'll have to stay in Oahu for a little while longer :) I bring this up for two reasons 1) selfish reasons 2) UW has brought storm clouds with them wherever they've gone, making life very challenging on opponents. Although the Badgers (excluding the last game) haven't shot or scored the lights out, the Badgers are doing all the little things right - from defense to rebounding to assists. The Badgers have 35 assists and just 15 turnovers in the past two games, the highest two-game total for UW since posted a combined 45 assists in early 2007.

Notice Green Bay's starting lineup - four juniors and seniors that score a ton of points and have led the Phoenix to eight wins this early in the season. Notice the bench and the starting center - very young and something UW can exploit by getting the starters into foul trouble and crashing the boards.

One would assume that UW might look ahead to Saturday's match-up against Marquette, seeing as Wisconsin has never lost to Green Bay in 15 career meetings. This team has shown that it is literally one game at a time, not getting too high or too low regardless or the opponent. I predict the game will be close early on (especially with an arena-record crowd expected to brave the snowstorm), but the Badgers have too much fire power and will be Green Bay by 13. Ironically the same number as the number of inches of snow expected to be on the ground.

Worgull's Record: 4-3

Points off Prediction: 65 (9.3 per game)

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