Michigan-Wisconsin Preview

The Associated Press

Wisconsin hasn't had much time to recover after uncharacteristic defensive struggles halted the best start in school history.

Now Michigan will try to keep the third-ranked Badgers on their heels as it attempts to remain undefeated in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin looks to bounce back from its first loss while extending an 11-game home winning streak over the Wolverines on Saturday night.

Although coach Bo Ryan urged his squad to clamp down, Wisconsin (16-1, 3-1) experienced a rare slump defensively when it allowed Indiana to shoot 51.6 percent from the field and score 52 points in the paint in Tuesday's 75-72 road loss.

The Badgers, who led by as many as 10 in the second half, had limited their opponents to 58.3 points per game and a 34.4 field-goal percentage over their previous four.

"I think our guys were worrying about fouls. The way it was being called, our guys became so tentative," Ryan said. "It really surprised me that our guys were not playing the way we normally play."

Wisconsin will try to get its defense back on track against the Wolverines (12-4, 4-0), who have shot 56.0 percent over their last three contests and are averaging 77.3 points on the season.

Michigan extended its winning streak to six, finishing with a 53.8 field-goal percentage in an 80-67 victory over visiting Penn State on Tuesday. The Wolverines have gone on their run without Mitch McGary, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season following back surgery.

The sophomore forward averaged 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds during the 2013 NCAA tournament and put up 9.5 and 8.3, respectively, over eight games this season.

Nik Stauskas has picked up the scoring with a team-high 17.7 points per game. The sophomore guard finished with 21 on Tuesday to help Michigan match rival Michigan State as the only remaining unbeaten teams in Big Ten play.

Now the Wolverines seek their first road win in this series since a 51-39 victory over No. 16 Wisconsin on Feb. 27, 1999, that was later vacated by the NCAA. They've averaged just 54.7 points while dropping the last 11 by an average of 13.7.

"We've got our work cut out for us," coach John Beilein said. "We've come very close (to beating Wisconsin), but we've just got to keep working and working and working."

Beilein's squad came close to ending the skid before Wisconsin's Ben Brust hit a tying 3-pointer with less than three seconds left in regulation and a go-ahead 3 with 40 seconds remaining in overtime in a 65-62 victory Feb. 9.

Brust has totaled 28 points while shooting 8 for 14 from 3-point range in his last two meetings, which includes a 68-59 win over the then-sixth-ranked Wolverines in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on March 15.

Traevon Jackson had 16 points to lead Wisconsin in that contest, and he's totaled 36 in his last two games overall after finishing with a career-high 21 at Indiana.

Though the Badgers scuffled down the stretch against the Hoosiers, they've shot a combined 51.4 percent over their last two. With 76.1 points per game, they're on pace for their highest scoring average since the 1993-94 season.

The Wolverines are 0-2 against ranked opponents this season, including a 10-point loss at then-No. 10 Duke on Dec. 3.

Wisconsin has won 12 of the last 13 meetings overall.

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