Three Things To Watch: Wisconsin vs. Xavier

Three Things To Watch: Wisconsin vs. Xavier

Basketball

Three Things To Watch: Wisconsin vs. Xavier

Wisconsin took care of business in its season opener with a 22-point win over Coppin State last week. Although Wisconsin did a lot of good things in the win, head coach Greg Gard will learn a lot more about his team when Wisconsin travels to play Xavier Tuesday as part of the Gavitt Games.

The last two matchups between the schools have provided some spectacular games, including Bronson Koenig’s game-winning 3-pointer with no time left and Xavier’s gritty win in Madison last year. Like Wisconsin, Xavier (2-0) has yet to be fully tested, beating IUPUI by 13 and Evansville by six.

In this Badgers Insider feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin as they prepare to play Xavier in its first road game of the season

FREE THROW: CAN WISCONSIN CONTINUE PROTECTING THE BALL?

It is only one game but Wisconsin started off the season on the right foot by protecting the basketball, committing over five turnovers against Coppin State. The question is can Wisconsin string together two consecutive games where they are able to protect the ball at a high rate.

The Badgers will receive more of a challenge on Tuesday night against a Xavier team that forced its first two opponents into an average of 12 turnovers a game. Wisconsin certainly has capable ball handlers in D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison to make sure Xavier can’t create extra offensive possessions and get easy points in transition. Through two games, Xavier has had seven different players register a steal.

Tyrique Jones leads the team with five steals and guard Paul Scruggs is second on the team with three steals, and the two have worked well together. Scruggs has the ability to force either Trice or Davison to pick up the ball and Jones has the ability to front the low post to register a takeaway. Both Wisconsin guards need to make sure they have a passing lane in order to get rid of the ball. If Wisconsin can continue to protect the ball, they should be able to establish an offensive rhythm to keep pace with a Xavier team that’s averaging 86.5 points per game.

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