Preview: Michigan vs. No.18 Wisconsin

Fresh off its toughest road stretch of the season, No.18 Wisconsin will play three of the next four games at the Kohl Center, starting with a Wednesday tip-off against up-and-down Michigan and its dynamic duo of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims.

Michigan (10-7, 3-2 Big Ten) vs. No.18 Wisconsin (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Wednesday, January 20, at 7:30 p.m. Central

Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)

Television - Big Ten Network (Wayne Larrivee, Shon Morrie and Charissa Thompson)

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

Series – Michigan Leads 86-63 (UW Leads 43-32 in Madison)

Last Meeting – UW won, 60-55, on March 1, 2009 in Madison.

Wisconsin Probable Starters

3 Trevon Hughes (Senior Guard, 15.9 ppg)

11 Jordan Taylor (Sophomore Guard, 9.1 ppg)

12 Jason Bohannon (Senior Guard, 11.1 ppg)

24 Tim Jarmusz (Junior Forward, 3.2 ppg)

52 Keaton Nankivil (Junior Forward, 7.3 ppg)

Off the Bench

5 Ryan Evans (Freshman Forward, 4.6 ppg)

31 Mike Bruesewitz (Freshman Forward, 1.2 ppg)

33 Rob Wilson (Sophomore Forward, 2.4 ppg)

40 Jared Berggren (Freshman Forward, 1.4 ppg)

Michigan Probable Starters

0 Zack Novak (Sophomore Forward, 7.6 ppg)

1 Stu Douglass (Sophomore Guard, 7.1 ppg)

3 Manny Harris (Junior Guard, 19.6 ppg)

31 Laval Lucas-Perry (Sophomore Guard, 6.4 ppg)

34 DeShawn Sims (Senior Forward, 16.9 ppg)

Off the Bench

4 Darius Morris (Freshman Guard, 4.2 ppg)

12 Anthony Wright (Junior Forward, 1.8 ppg)

13 Matt Vogrich (Freshman Guard, 2.0 ppg)

32 Zack Gibson (Senior Forward, 4.1 ppg)

Last Meeting:

Despite sloppy play, missed free throws and prolonged scoring droughts, Wisconsin survived its must-win game by out lasting a feisty Michigan squad, 60-55, on Sunday.

"These are the games that in the past, we lost," said senior Marcus Landry, who chipped in with 13 points. "These are the games that got down to the wire and we didn't finish them out. It's important for us to finish out these close games down the stretch."

Junior guard Trevon Hughes paced Wisconsin (18-10, 9-7 Big Ten) with a game-high 19 points, as the Badgers moved into a fourth-place tie with Penn State in the Big Ten. Hughes scored 10 of his points in the second half, finishing 7-for-11 from the field and 3-for-4 from three-point range.

Although the Badgers never trailed in the final minutes, Wisconsin was far from regaining its killer instinct. The Badgers didn't make a single field goal in the game's final 4:57 and committed two of their 11 turnovers down the stretch while holding a four-point lead or less.

The Wolverines, on the hand, were just as poor. After Manny Harris (15 points) made a driving layup to cut the score to 54-52 with 2:51 left, Michigan didn't make another bucket until C.J. Lee's uncontested layup with seven seconds remaining to cut the UW lead to three.

In the final 30 seconds and Michigan down three, junior DeShawn Sims, a 29 percent three-point shooter, barely drew iron on two three-point attempts. Even with the door open, Wisconsin couldn't fully close the door, going 6-for-10 on free throws in the final 1:33, but were able to hold on.

Last Time Out:

Junior guard David Lighty picked up the slack with Evan Turner on the bench with foul trouble, scoring 12 of his team-high 18 points in the first half to help Ohio State not only tread water, but pull away from No.13 Wisconsin in a 60-51 victory Saturday night in front of 18,402 at Value City Arena.

The look on the faces of the Badgers (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) as they slowly jogged to the locker room said it all. They looked like a team that got only two points from their front court, watched the Buckeyes (13-5, 3-3) shoot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) with Turner spending most of it as a spectator and registered one assist to nine turnovers.

"I felt like we were fighting an uphill battle right out of the gate," said Nankivil (nine points). "It's hard to do that, especially on the road. It's never fun to play a game when you never feel like you have full control of any of it."

After committing only five turnovers in its Wednesday win over Northwestern, the Badgers finished with a 7-to-14 assist to turnover ratio, leading to 11 Ohio State points.

Wisconsin took its biggest lead as soon as Turner headed to the bench, getting a driving lay-up from Taylor to make it 12-9. Wisconsin continued to stick with the Buckeyes late into the first half, trailing 23-20 with five minutes left, but could not account for Lighty. After shooting just 2-of-7 in the team's first meeting, Lighty scored nine points in the final 4:09 of the first half that give Ohio State the lift it needed with Turner on the bench.

Series Notes:

Wednesday's game marks the 150th meeting between Wisconsin and Michigan

UW has won 13 of the last 17 meetings with the Wolverines, including six in a row

UW is 7-0 vs. Michigan at home under Bo Ryan and has won eight straight home games vs. the Maize and Blue overall

Ryan owns a 5-0 career record vs. John Beilein.

Wisconsin Notes:

According to realtimeRPI.com and the Sagarin ratings, UW has played the 7th-toughest schedule in the nation.

Before the injury to Jon Leuer, Wisconsin was averaging 18.8 points per game off the bench. In the two games with Leuer out and Jordan Taylor starting, UW's bench production has dipped to 3.0 points per game.

At home this season, the Badgers have MADE more free throws than their opponents have ATTEMPTED. UW is 157-of-206 at the line, while opposing teams are just 98-of-142 at the Kohl Center.

Bohannon ranks second in the Big Ten making 89.8 percent from the free throw line. That figure would be the second-best single-season mark in UW history behind Brian Good's .905 in 1989-90. Bohannon has made his last 14 FTs. Bohannon is also 15 points away from becoming UW's 35th 1,000-point scorer.

Michigan Notes:

After the upset 68-63 victory over 15/15 UConn, the schedule doesn't get a rest for Michigan. The Wolverines face three straight ranked Big Ten foes starting at 18/19 Wisconsin at the Kohl Center. U-M will stay on the road heading to West Lafayette, Ind., to face 13/15 before getting back to Crisler Arena for the interstate battle with 6/7 Michigan State.

Manny Harris is closing in, or has already reached several milestones at U-M, but he is just 11 rebounds away from becoming just the 27th U-M player to join the exclusive U-M 1,000 point/500 rebound club. He currently has 1,440 points and 489 rebounds. Teammate DeShawn Sims is also part of the exclusive listing with 1,335 points and 610 rebounds.

So far this season Michigan has forced its opponents into double-digit turnovers in 15 games -- with nine games of 15-or-more and two games with 20-plus. On the fl ip side, the Wolverines have cut down on their mistakes in games averaging 11.1 turnovers per game, which puts them ninth in the country.

Worgull's Prediction

There are two simple keys to the game for the Badgers match-up against Michigan. First, can the Badgers get some production from their bench? The injury to Leuer has shot down the energy off the bench. Without Leuer's 28 minutes in the lineup the last two games, UW coach Bo Ryan has used only four players – Jared Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz, Ryan Evans and Rob Wilson – and the group has combined for only six points and 13 rebounds. That's a statistic that needs to change.

The other key is which Wolverines team is going to show up? Are we going to see the team that stunk in the first half against Penn State and blew a double-digit lead at home to Northwestern or the team that just upset UConn at home? Harris and Sims will have a lot to do with the end result, as they are the two dominant players Michigan has right on its roster.

Wisconsin's guards have been shouldering the load without Leuer in the lineup and that's only going to last so long, especially when the Badgers match-up against Purdue and Michigan State in the coming weeks. That having said, I think Keaton Nankivil is due for a breakout game in the paint. He may not score a bunch against Michigan, but he'll definitely be a factor on the boards and on Sims. If Nankivil can do his job and UW's guards continue on the pace they are on, Wisconsin will win by 10.

Worgull's Record: 13-5

Points off Prediction: 196 (10.9 per game)


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