Marquette-Wisconsin Preview

The Associated Press

Wisconsin has lost a total of seven home games to non-conference opponents since Bo Ryan's arrival in 2001.

Marquette is the only team that's done it twice.

The eighth-ranked Badgers will try to avoid a third straight loss to the Golden Eagles on Saturday as they look to continue their best start in 20 years.

Ryan is 94-7 in non-conference home games at Wisconsin, but he and the Badgers have lost two of the past three times they have hosted Marquette.

Wisconsin (9-0) has also lost the past two overall in the series, shooting 32.0 percent in a 61-54 loss at the Kohl Center two seasons ago before making just 32.7 percent from the field in a 60-50 defeat in Milwaukee last year.

This season's Badgers, however, are off to their best start since opening 11-0 in 1993-94 - and they're again showing they can do it with defense. Wisconsin held Virginia to 23.4 percent shooting Wednesday and didn't allow the Cavaliers to hit a field goal for the game's final 9:03 in a 48-38 victory - Ryan's 300th at the school.

''I'm glad we won like this,'' guard Josh Gasser said. ''It's about time we played that way defensively.''

Wisconsin wasn't much better than Virginia offensively, hitting just 28.8 percent of its shots - the worst shooting percentage in a win since Ryan took over.

"There are games sometimes, both ways, we both shot it poorly and not because we are inefficient offenses," Ryan said. "Look at our offenses coming in and we played some pretty good teams. These kind of games happen and you just have to survive."

Prior to the Virginia game, the Badgers were shooting 48.0 percent overall and a Big Ten-best 43.6 percent from 3-point range.

Marquette (5-3) fell out of the Top 25 after losing two games to unranked teams last week. The second of those was in the finals of the Wooden Legacy in Anaheim, where the Golden Eagles fell to now-No. 24 San Diego State 67-59.

"I don't think we have earned the right to be ranked," coach Buzz Williams said after the loss.

Marquette has struggled shooting the ball this season, especially from long range. The Golden Eagles are shooting just 27.2 percent from behind the 3-point line, among the 30 worst teams in the nation. Against the Aztecs on Sunday, Marquette made just 1 of 11 from beyond the arc and was outscored 14-6 in the final 3 1/2 minutes after tying the score at 53.

"I think we have to learn how to close out and how to finish," Williams said.

Forward Davante Gardner, who leads Marquette with 14.0 points per game, had just six against San Diego State. He had 10 points, eight boards and three blocks off the bench in the win over Wisconsin last season.

Frank Kaminsky had seven points in nine foul-plagued minutes off the bench in that loss for the Badgers, but the big man is coming into his own as a junior. After averaging 4.2 points in just over 10 minutes a game as a sophomore, the 7-footer is averaging team highs of 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest.

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