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Michigan Opponent Preview: Wisconsin

 

How They Are Doing So Far:

Losing four of their last five, Wisconsin needs a big win. And there is no bigger possible win then against Michigan. The Badgers started off 8-1 with the only loss coming against Virginia. That included wins against the likes of Xavier, Stanford, Oklahoma, North Carolina State and Iowa. But since their overtime loss to Marquette, this has been a disappointing Wisconsin team. A loss at Western Kentucky was not the way Coach Greg Gard wanted to head into the heart of Big Ten play. They have since lost to Minnesota, Purdue and Maryland with a victory at Penn State in the middle.

 

Last Time Out:

On Monday night the Badgers lost a tough game at Maryland, 64-60. The Terrapins took a huge 18-point lead into halftime and were up by as many as 19 early in the second half, but Wisconsin did a superb job getting back into the game. They managed to fight their way back into the contest and even took a one-point lead with about two minutes left in the game. Of course it did not work out in the end, but Wisconsin does deserve credit for getting back into the game. For the first time this season, forward Nate Reuvers led the team in scoring. He netted 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Superstar Ethan Happ tied his season low with just ten points. And the last time he scored ten points in the season opener, he recorded a triple-double. This time he added just eight points and three assists.

Who To Watch:

It is tough for Wisconsin to win a game when Happ is contained as well as he was against Maryland. The previous contest, an overtime loss against Purdue, Happ scored 31 points and added 13 rebounds. It was the third time this year that the 6-10 senior scored at least 30 points. He is certainly capable of dominating the interior and even in less than great performances, Happ will make his presence felt. But if Michigan can keep his numbers similar to what he did against Maryland, the Wolverines will find a trip to Madison much more pleasant.

 

Who Else To Watch:

Wisconsin boasts a couple of point guards who can score and handle the ball. D’Mitrik Trice is the team’s second leading scorer at 14.4 points per game and he leads the squad with 2.8 assists. Trice has been prolific shooting the basketball, making 45.6 percent of his 103 attempts from beyond the arc. That is a lot of three-pointers through 17 games. Brad Davison can shoot too and is hitting 43.8 percent of his long range shots.

 

Prediction:

It is never easy to play at Wisconsin. Many times a highly ranked team has gone to Madison and come away with a loss. Michigan could be the next in line. If D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison are knocking down shots and Ethan Happ is a force on both ends of the floor, Michigan will be seriously tested. The Badgers are slipping right now though and this could be the best time for a road trip to Wisconsin.

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