Wisconsin hasn’t fared well in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, particularly on the road.
Looking for their first road win in six tries in the Challenge, the No. 25 Badgers visit Virginia Tech on Monday.
Wisconsin (5-1) is in the midst of a tough stretch for its young team. After playing in the Paradise Jam Tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands last week, the Badgers will play their next two on the road, including visiting in-state rival Marquette on Saturday.
Wisconsin bounced back from its first loss of the season, beating Wisconsin-Milwaukee 67-46 at home on Saturday. Trevon Hughes scored 16 points and Joe Krabbenhoft added season highs of 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Badgers held a 10-point lead in the first half and shut down the Panthers after the break, holding them to 5-of-19 shooting.
“We talked about it in the locker room,” Krabbenhoft said. “We wanted to go out there and play hard … and the score will take care of itself and that’s what it did.”
The Badgers are holding opponents to 58.0 points and will look to that defense again Monday when they face the Hokies (4-2) at Cassell Coliseum in the first meeting between the teams.
Wisconsin is 3-6 all-time in the Challenge, with five of those losses coming on the road. This is the third time in four years they are facing an ACC opponent on the road. They lost 82-58 at No. 7 Duke last season.
Virginia Tech, meanwhile, is playing for only the third time in the Challenge, and also hasn’t been too successful, going 1-2, including a 66-61 loss at Penn State last season.
The Hokies hope to get back on track after they avoided a third straight loss last Wednesday with a 76-67 win over Elon.
After losing its previous two games in the Puerto Rico Tip Off by a combined five points, Virginia Tech used a 10-3 second-half run to take control before scoring its final 14 points at the foul line.
“I just told our guys that the two toughest games to play are the one before Thanksgiving and the one after Christmas,” coach Seth Greenberg told the Hokies’ official Web site. “So I was proud of my guys. We hung in there and finally went on a run at the end.”
Victor Davila and A.D. Vassallo each had 16 points. Davila was 7-of-9 from the floor and had four rebounds, but his coach is still expecting more from the 6-foot-8, 246-pound freshman, who had been held scoreless in the previous two contests.
“We got him the ball,” Greenberg said. “The guy can score. He understands how to score. But he’s got to rebound. He’s got to be a lot tougher rebounding the ball and defending the post. But he can score.”
Wisconsin is the first ranked team Virginia Tech has faced this season. The Hokies were 0-6 against Top 25 teams in 2007-08 and haven’t faced a ranked, non-conference opponent since Nov. 24, 2000 when they lost 64-48 to No. 25 Virginia while a member of the Big East.