Wisconsin has a couple of highly anticipated games coming next week, but junior forward Mike Bruesewitz insists his team’s immediate focus is on improving.
The 11th-ranked Badgers will try to do that while getting off to their best start in four seasons Friday night against Bradley at the Chicago Invitational Challenge.
Wisconsin (4-0) has displayed one of the best defenses in the nation with opponents managing a meager 34.0 points per game. That might help the Badgers during their trip to No. 1 North Carolina on Wednesday and their return home to face No. 16 Marquette on Dec. 3.
Wisconsin, though, will first travel to Hoffman Estates, Ill., for games on back-to-back nights. The Badgers will wrap up their stay there by facing BYU or Nevada.
“I don’t know the date of the North Carolina game and I don’t know the date of the Marquette game. That’s an honest answer,” Bruesewitz said. “We just need to make sure we’re getting better every day and making sure we’re doing the stuff to get where we want to be.”
Wisconsin couldn’t get much better defensively than in a 77-31 win over Missouri-Kansas City on Tuesday. In addition to matching their season low for points allowed, the Badgers limited the Kangaroos to 20.8 percent shooting for their best such performance in four seasons.
Wisconsin also made 13 shots from 3-point range, with Jared Berggren converting all four of his attempts en route to a career-high 21 points.
Bradley, meanwhile, missed two late opportunities to tie Wofford in a 70-66 defeat Tuesday. The Braves (3-1) trailed by 12 points with 5:59 remaining, but Dyricus Simms-Edwards and leading scorer Taylor Brown couldn’t help complete the rally in the final minute.
Simms-Edwards scored a season-high 22 points, and Brown had his second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The duo will next try to lead Bradley to its third win over a Top 25 team in four tries. The Braves knocked off Big Ten opponent Illinois 72-68 on Nov. 28, 2009, and Northern Iowa 68-59 on Feb. 13, 2010, but fell 83-48 at then-No. 1 Duke on Dec. 8 in their only matchup with a ranked team last season.
Wisconsin is trying to help Bo Ryan move into second place on the school’s all-time wins list with his 247th. The Badgers are also seeking the lead in a series that’s tied at two wins apiece.
Wisconsin and Bradley are meeting for the first time since the 1989 San Juan Sunshine Shootout, a game the Badgers won 63-57.