Date/Time - Saturday, December 12, at 4 p.m. Central
Arena – Kohl Center (17,220)
Television - ESPN (Dave O'Brien and Steve Lavin)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas)
Series – Wisconsin leads 62-53
Last Meeting – Marquette won, 61-58, on Dec. 6, 2008 in Milwaukee
Wisconsin Probable Starters
3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 18.0 ppg)
12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 10.3 ppg)
24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 4.3 ppg)
30 Jon Leuer (Junior Forward, 15.4 ppg)
52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 7.4 ppg)
Off the Bench
5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 4.6 ppg)
11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 6.5 ppg)
31 Mike Bruesewitz (Freshman Forward, 1.7 ppg)
33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 2.9 ppg)
40 Jared Berggren (Freshman Center, 2.0 ppg)
Marquette Probable Starters
2 Maurice Acker (Senior Guard, 8.7 ppg)
10 David Cubillan (Senior Guard, 6.2 ppg)
21 Joseph Fulce (Junior Forward, 2.4 ppg)
32 Lazar Hayward (Senior Forward, 18.6 ppg)
33 Jimmy Butler (Junior Guard, 16.4 ppg)
Off the Bench
1 Darius Johnson-Odom (Sophomore Guard, 12.1 ppg)
23 Dwight Buycks (Junior Guard, 6.7 ppg)
25 Jeronne Maymon (Freshman Forward, 4.0 ppg)
Last Time Out:
It was a surprising setback for the Badgers, who had just jumped into the rankings with a victory over the Blue Devils last week and hadn't lost in 15 previous meetings with the in-state rival Phoenix.
"It's a basketball game," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. "You play it, try to learn from it."
Rahmon Fletcher added 18 points for the Phoenix (9-2), who held off second-half surges by the Badgers and took control in overtime. But Fletcher hurt his knee near the end of regulation and wasn't able to play the rest of the way.
"I was upset I couldn't play, but I wasn't worried we were going to lose," Fletcher said.
Trevon Hughes scored a career-high 27 points for the Badgers (6-2) but fouled out in overtime.
Green Bay students swarmed in the middle of the court to celebrate - but left their seats a little too early, as referees were putting a second back on the clock. After returning to their seats in surprisingly orderly fashion, students retook the court to celebrate after the final horn.
It was even bigger for Green Bay players.
"A lot of our guys think they should be playing for (Wisconsin), and they want to prove them wrong," GB coach Tod Kowalczyk said.
The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team knew what to do.
After all, Wisconsin was just coming off a hard-earned victory in a hostile environment at Virgina Tech earlier this week, so Saturday night's game at Marquette wasn't much different.
This game, however, the Badgers didn't have an answer for Golden Eagles guard Jerel McNeal.
McNeal scored 26 points as Marquette (7-1) defeated Wisconsin (6-2) 61-58 on Saturday. However, it wasn't just McNeal's sheer point total that made a difference for the Eagles, but more so the timeliness of his scoring.
The Eagles' senior guard scored 14 straight points to help pull Marquette ahead in the second half. While Wisconsin had led by as many as 10 points in the first half, the second half became, as Marquette head coach Buzz Williams described it, a Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali-like battle.
McNeal started his scoring barrage with just under 17 minutes remaining in the second half by hitting a 3-pointer to pull Marquette within four points at 41-37. When he was finished, Marquette was down only 49-48 with six minutes remaining. McNeal then hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:26 remaining, as the Eagles then went on a 10-point run to grab the lead for good.
When it was all said and done, McNeal scored 14-straight Marquette points to put his team in control.
Wisconsin also suffered from a six-minute scoreless streak during this time as well, not scoring until Marcus Landry put in a lay-up with 2:18 remaining.
Most of McNeal's bucket came off of a double ball screen at the top of the key, allowing him to get into open space and make plays for himself.
"It looked like we were running the same play because it was," McNeal said, laughing. "But that's how coach is if something's working."
Added Krabbenhoft: "He was definitely feeling it. … You've got to give credit to him, he was making tough shots."
But even with their scoreless streak and not being able to contain McNeal, the Badgers still had their chances. After Landry scored with 2:18 left, Wisconsin quickly came back.
Trevon Hughes, who led the Badgers with 14 points, hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to pull within four pointers and Wisconsin closed it in to as little as 59-56 with 25.9 seconds remaining.
However, Wisconsin turned it over on a costly possession as Joe Krabbenhoft stepped out of bounds and Hughes would airballed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining, as he was trying to force a foul.
UW holds a 62-53 record in the all-time series vs. Marquette, but the Golden Eagles have won the two most recent outings. The Badgers own a 36-15 (.706) mark against Marquette at home.
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan has split his eight decisions with Marquette, going 3-1 at the Kohl Center. Overall, UW has won 11 of its last 13 home games vs. the I-94 rivals.
Under Ryan, the Badgers have a 20-4 record in the in-state round-robin with Marquette, Milwaukee and Green Bay. Ryan's teams have never finished worse than 2-1 in the state series.
UW all-time series with Marquette dates back to 1917. MU has met Wisconsin more times (115) in men's basketball than any other opponent in program history.
In Bo Ryan's nine years as head coach, the Badgers have amassed a 124- 10 (.925) record at home. That ranks as the fourth-best home winning percentage in the country during that span (records through 12/6/09).
UW is averaging 71.6 points per game in 2009-10, having topped the 70-point plateau five times. That is an increase of 7.8 points per game over last season's 63.8 scoring average. If Wisconsin can keep up this scoring pace, it would record its highest seasonal point total since the 1994-95 team averaged 73.0 points per game.
Both Trevon Hughes (27) and Jon Leuer (26) topped the 20-point mark at Green Bay. That marked the first time Wisconsin had two players over 20 points since Hughes (25) and Brian Butch (24) turned the trick vs. IPFW (11/11/07). Hughes (18.0) and Leuer (15.4) are each averaging over 15 points per game. The last UW duo to post scoring averages of 15 points or higher was Danny Jones (20.4) and Trent Jackson (19.1) in the 1988-89 season.
Freshman forward Jeronne Maymon, a Madison native and the reigning state high school player of the year, will make the first trip to his hometown on Saturday as a member of the Marquette men's basketball team.
A nationally ranked prospect out of Madison's Memorial High School, Maymon was a two-time Associated Press Player of the year with the Spartans.
Hayward will find himself in a unique situation for the second time this week when the Golden Eagles face Wisconsin. This past summer, he competed in the World University Games, helping the United States to the bronze medal. The squad was coached by UW's Bo Ryan and his staff included former Badger assistant and current Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter, who Hayward an the Golden Eagles faced on Tuesday night. Hayward finished third on the roster in scoring and rebounding in Serbia, contributing 9.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Entering the 2009-10 campaign, senior guard Maurice Acker knocked down 37.9 percent of his field goal attempts (35.2 percent from behind the 3-point line) in his two years with the Golden Eagles. Through the team's first nine games this year, however, Acker has made an impressive 48.2 percent (27-of-56) of his shots from the field. That clip also includes a 44.0 percent (11-of-25) effort from long distance. Acker has chipped in at least eight points in all but one game this year and has drained at least one trey in six of the squad's nine contests.
MU is currently averaging 17.2 assists per game to rank 15th in the nation through games of Dec. 9. The team has dished out at least 15 assists in all but two games this year and owns a season-high 26 helpers in the victory over South Dakota.
Well ... how do I begin after what few of us witnessed on Wednesday. The Green Bay game had all the makings of a trap game. UW comes off a win over Duke that puts them on the national map, gets a win over Grambling State that boosts its confidence even higher and has the 'Warriors' coming in on Saturday. The Phoenix aren't a bad team and my staff can attest that I thought about picking Green Bay, until I realized that UW doesn't lose to Green Bay. Never. Ever. That be the lesson, always go with the first instinct.
Losing at Green Bay isn't a bad loss per se (especially if GB wins the Horizon League) but man, it sure isn't a good loss. If UW wants to be considered a top team in the country, they can't lose to mid-majors, no matter where the game is played. Now, the ranking and some of the progress gain look to be lost for the time being.
If UW can't rebound against Marquette, the Badgers are going to have a serious problem. The Golden Eagles aren't as good as they have been in years past, but are beating teams with the talent of Acker at the point and the strength of Hayward in the block. Neutralize one or both of those players and you have a recipe for success.
But my goodness, allowing UWGB of all teams to score 88 points, the most since the 2006 NCAA Tournament, when you were winning games based on your stingy defense? It just goes to show that the Badgers still have a lot of work left to do. I wish I could figure this team out (and so do my predictions).
MU has some great wins this year around its usual cupcake schedule, but heading to UW for its first and only true non-conference road game is a tough pill to swallow. It will take another solid effort by UW, but I think the Badgers will win by five ... they better, or my MU buddies (I'm talking about you John Murray) will continue chirping for the third straight year.
Worgull's Record: 4-4
Points off Prediction: 82 (10.3 per game)