Preview: Milwaukee vs. Wisconsin

After a week away from competition to concentrate on final exams, Wisconsin basketball heads back to the floor to take on Milwaukee, an in-state rival that is starting to gain momentum after two strong wins ... and looking to end a decade-plus of losing against the top program in the state.

Milwaukee (8-4, 1-1 Horizon) vs. Wisconsin (8-2, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Wednesday, December 23, at 8 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,220)

Television - Big Ten Network (Brent Stover and Shon Morris)

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

Series – Wisconsin Leads 25-1

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 67-46, Nov. 29, 2008

Wisconsin Probable Starters

3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 17.7 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 10.2 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 4.2 ppg)

30 Jon Leuer (Junior Forward, 16.2 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 7.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 4.9 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 7.4 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Freshman Forward, 1.4 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 3.0 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Freshman Center, 2.4 ppg)

Milwaukee Probable Starters

5 Ricky Franklin (Senior Guard, 14.6 ppg)

21 Tony Meier (Sophomore Forward, 6.8 ppg)

30 Jerad Ajami (Junior Guard, 2.8 ppg)

32 Lonnie Boga (Freshman Guard, 6.9 ppg)

55 James Eayrs (Senior Forward, 13.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

1 Ja'Rob McCallum (Freshman Guard, 6.6 ppg)

2 Deonte Roberts (Junior Guard, 7.8 ppg)

15 Patrick Souter (Freshman Guard, 3.9 ppg)

23 Anthony Hill (Junior Forward, 5.1 ppg)

Last Meeting:

Averaging only 5.8 points in UW's first five games, senior Joe Krabbenhoft scored a season-high 12 points, including a vital nine first-half points, and added 10 rebounds to help No.25 Wisconsin pull away in the second half, beating in-state rival Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 67-46, Saturday afternoon.

"We did a great job playing Wisconsin basketball," Krabbenhoft said. "We wanted to go out there, play hard and do those (little) things and the score will take care of itself, which it did."

Krabbenhoft, who fell one point short of his career high, had been providing for Wisconsin (5-1) in a variety of areas in the early weeks of the season, except on the scoreboard. Leading the team in both assists and rebounds by a solid margin, Krabbenhoft season high entering the game was a quiet seven points.

But with his teammates starting the game 3-for-10 shooting and struggling from the floor, Krabbenhoft picked up the void, scoring nine of his 12 points in the game's first 10 minutes and all as opportune times.

"My teammates did a great job of finding me down low," said Krabbenhoft, who also had three assists with no turnovers. "I had a height advantage of some of the guys guarding me and they were just easy buckets. I tried to get my hands on some offensive rebounds that went my way and I did my best job of trying to finish."

UW-Milwaukee (3-4) didn't go away though, which was evident by the Panthers being within three points at 26-23 with four minutes, 40 seconds left in the first half. From there, however, it was all Wisconsin, as the Badgers closed the first half on an 11-4 run and kept their foot on the accelerator after halftime, rattling off a 23-8 run to open the half that silenced the Panthers.

Last Time Out:

Senior Trevon Hughes scored nine points in the first 5 minutes, 36 seconds to enter the exclusive 1,000-point fraternity and Wisconsin blazed out of the gates on a 33-6 run to cruise by Cal Poly, 90-48, Wednesday night at the Kohl Center.

Playing a day before finals start on Madison's campus, Wisconsin (8-2) had no trouble passing what on paper was an easy test. The Badgers saw four players reach double figures – Hughes (20 points), Leuer (15), Nankivil (12) and Bohannon (12) – and shot 60.8 percent from the floor as a team.

"It was fun because our offense was clicking tonight," Hughes said. "We just played as a team and I feel like everybody was moving well and playing great defense. I think everybody was just on point, even with finals week coming. Once the jump ball game, everybody was real focused."

Wisconsin's five starters shot 62.9 percent compared to Cal Poly entire team shooting 36.2 percent, whose 2-0 led didn't last, while Nankivil made 4 of 6 field-goal attempts in the first half for 10 of his 12 points in 15 minutes; Bohannon made 4-of-6 three-pointers after entered the night 14-of-40 from three-point range and Taylor registered a career-high seven assists coupled with no turnovers.

Shooting 33 percent from three-point range entering the contest, Wisconsin made 13 of its 24 three-point attempts (54.2 percent), tying the Kohl Center record for most made three-point baskets (accomplished three times).

Series Notes:

UW owns a 25-1 overall record vs. Milwaukee and has won each of the last 16 meetings. UW is 16-1 at home vs. the Panthers.

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, who served as head coach at Milwaukee for two seasons (2000-2001), is a perfect 8-0 vs. the Panthers, including a 6-0 mark at the Kohl Center. Under Ryan, the Badgers have outscored Milwaukee by an average margin of 16.0 points per game.

UWM's only win against the Badgers came in the 1992-93 season at the UW Fieldhouse. In the last six meetings between the two schools at the Kohl Center, the Badgers have won by an average of 17.3 points. UWM has also scored just 44.7 points per game in its last three meetings with the Badgers.

Wisconsin Notes:

Wisconsin has turned the ball over 10.9 times per game this season, which ranks 13th in the nation. UW is 7-0 when turning it over fewer times than its opponent this season. The Badgers coughed it up just five times in a win over Duke, marking the fewest turnovers for a Blue Devil opponent in at least the last three seasons (the previous low for a Duke opponent since 2007-08 was 11).

Hughes (17.7) and Leuer (16.2) 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.

Hughes ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game. That is the highest scoring average for a Badger player since Alando Tucker averaged 19.9 points per game in 2006-07.

Milwaukee Notes:

Milwaukee is shooting just 39.9 percent from the floor in five regular season home games, including just 22.4 percent (28-of-125) from three-point range. Away from home, UWM is shooting 43.4 percent from the floor overall and 37.7 percent (61-of-162) from beyond the arc.

UWM's victory over Miami Saturday marked Milwaukee's eighth win in 12 tries this season. That is the best record for a Panther team after 12 games since the 2005-06 season, when Milwaukee was 9-3.

Worgull's Prediction

Nothing like a 48-point blowout to ruin my prediction average. Cal Poly was in a tough spot, playing its second game in less than 24 hours, and UW was on fire from the floor.

The Badgers are winning games this year with a combination of solid offense (averaging 73.5 ppg) and stifling defense, limiting opponents to a 39.5 percent shooting and just 60 points per game.

UWM has some momentum heading into tonight's contest after two solid victories, meaning UW will need to shake off the post-final exam rust and match the intensity the Panthers will bring and not get sucked into the potential quietness of the crowd, which could be thin with the students on Winter Break and a big snowstorm on the way.

The game will be close throughout the first half, but the Badgers should pull away and earn a 16-point victory.

Worgull's Record: 6-4

Points off Prediction: 134 (13.4 per game)

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