After suffering a huge upset loss on their home court at the hands of the UW-Milwaukee Panthers, the Wisconsin Badgers have a chance to get back on track when they host a hot Marquette Golden Eagles team looking to steal a win inside the Kohl Center for the first time in four years.
Wisconsin looked as if they were going to run away with their game against the Panthers, holding a 15 point lead with just under six minutes to go. But the Badgers cooled off heading into and coming out of halftime and could not hold onto the lead down the stretch. Nigel Hayes had a big night, scoring a career high 32 points and grabbing eight boards. But even with the star of the team putting up a career night, Wisconsin’s defense failed to hold onto a lead-something that has plagued this young team all season.
Hayes is the go-to guy on this team, averaging 16.9 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game. Point guard Bronson Koenig is averaging 15.8 points per game on the season but expect him to get more scoring chances as the season goes on. Redshirt freshman Ethan Happ has had a great start to his Badger career, averaging just under 11 points per game but leads the team with a game average of 8.7 rebounds.
Marquette is coming into the Kohl Center red hot, having won six straight games that began with a win over then No. 22 LSU. True freshman Henry Ellenson leads the team with 16.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game. But the big man from Rice Lake, WI has a strong supporting cast playing next to him. Luke Fischer, Duane Wilson and Haanif Cheatham are all averaging double figures on the season with Fischer right behind Ellenson in rebounds with 7.8 per game.
An interesting fact about this Marquette team is they rank eighth in the country is assists with a 19.4 average. A big reason for that is freshman guard Traci Carter, who leads the team in assists with 49 total on the season and has done a nice job of getting the ball in the hands of the play makers.
As the Golden Eagles and Badgers gear up for their 122nd all-time meeting, it features two teams heading in opposite directions right now. Wisconsin is a very young team that is still trying to find their way and going through many growing pains. Marquette on the other hand is an exciting, up start team that is trending upwards with plenty of talent up and down the roster.
Location: Madison, WI
Arena: Kohl Center
Time: 12:30 CT
TV Channel: ESPN2
Odds: WISC -7.5; O/U 136.5