Wisconsin has a big week coming up on the road. The Badgers, though, must first take care of business at home on Saturday when they meet intrastate rival Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the Kohl Center.
The 25th-ranked Badgers (4-1) play at Virginia Tech on Monday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge before their annual clash with archrival and No. 15 Marquette next Saturday at Milwaukee. Wisconsin will be looking to regroup after a 77-58 loss to second-ranked Connecticut in the championship game of the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands last Monday, uncharacteristically committing 22 turnovers that led to 31 points for the Huskies.
“Just guys not moving to the ball, making hard cuts. (Connecticut is) a very difficult team to come from behind against,” Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. “Three or four turnovers can quickly change a game. We’re not immune.”
The 22 turnovers matched the most in any game Ryan has coached at Wisconsin since he arrived from Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-3) in 2001, and just the eighth time in 238 games during his tenure the Badgers committed 20 or more.
Wisconsin has seven players scoring at least 5.6 points per game, led by Trevon Hughes (13.8) and Marcus Landry (12.6). Jon Leuer has provided a lift off the bench, averaging 8.6 points while shooting 53.8 percent (14-for-26). He scored nine points against Connecticut, hitting both his 3-point attempts to make him 5-for-6 from beyond the arc this season.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee has dropped consecutive games, including 82-69 to Ball State on Tuesday. Anthony Hill had 17 points for the Panthers, who allowed the Cardinals to shoot 57.7 percent and post a 38-26 edge in rebounds.
“I thought they were very efficient,” said Panthers coach Rob Jeter, who was an assistant under Ryan at Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Division III Wisconsin-Platteville. “They got the basketball where they needed to get it to in order to score the basketball and that’s why they shot such a high percentage. We just can’t try to outscore people - we have to get stops.”
Tone Boyle, who leads the Panthers in scoring at 14.7 points per game, was held to a season-low seven Tuesday on 2-for-11 shooting.
This will be Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s second game this season against an intrastate rival, and its track record against such opponents has been abysmal. The Panthers fell to 0-36 against intracity rival Marquette with a 100-80 loss on Nov. 22, and are 1-24 versus the Badgers - losing 15 in a row since a 77-72 victory Dec. 12, 1992.
The Badgers, who are 7-0 against the Panthers under Ryan, cruised to a 61-39 victory last season as Landry scored 16 points and Hughes added 12.