Three Things To Watch: No.22 Wisconsin vs Rutgers

Three Things To Watch: No.22 Wisconsin vs Rutgers

Basketball

Three Things To Watch: No.22 Wisconsin vs Rutgers

Getting off on the right foot in Big Ten play with their road victory at Iowa Friday, Wisconsin will turn its attention to Rutgers to complete the early portion of the Big Ten schedule.

Wisconsin (7-1, 1-0 Big Ten) lost its lone matchup to the Scarlet Knights last year in New Jersey (64-60), but the Badgers have won three of the five matchups since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten. Coming off a nine-point home loss to No.9 Michigan State Friday, Rutgers (5-2, 0-1) is still looking for its first win in the Kohl Center but have a little confidence after beating Miami on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last week.

In this Badgers Insider feature, we will look at the three keys or questions for Wisconsin as they prepare to play Rutgers.

FREE THROW: ESTABLISHING AN OFFENSIVE RHYTHM

Rutgers has held its first seven opponents to an average of 59.6 points per game, 38.3 percent shooting from the field on an average of 59 field goal attempts and 31.5 percent (47-for-149) from three.

On the flip side, Wisconsin has found the bottom of the net rather consistently. As a team, the Badgers are shooting 47.9 percent (218-for-455) from the field and averaging 74.4 points per game. They are even better after halftime, shooting 50.8 percent (115-for-226) compared to just 44.9 percent (103-for-229) in the first half.

In order to make sure Rutgers doesn’t get the better of Wisconsin’s offense, it will start with the Badgers establishing their success in the paint to help open up the rest of the offense. Wisconsin is averaging 39.1 points in the lane through seven games this season, and the play of Ethan Happ down low is a large reason Wisconsin has established an offensive rhythm. Not only has Happ been effective on the low block but he leads Wisconsin in assists with 42, which is 21 more than what D’Mitrik Trice has registered this year.

The attention Happ commands when he has the basketball down low is well deserved but it also has helped create open looks for his teammates. Throw in Happ averaging 17 points on 58.7 percent shooting and three double-doubles in four meetings against the Knights, UW has a great chance to keep its momentum going.

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