Badgers Breakdown: No.16 Wisconsin vs. Grambling State

Badgers Breakdown: No.16 Wisconsin vs. Grambling State

Basketball

Badgers Breakdown: No.16 Wisconsin vs. Grambling State

Grambling State (6-6, 0-0 SWAC) vs. No.16 Wisconsin (9-2, 2-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time – Saturday, December 22, 11 a.m.

Arena – Kohl Center (17,287)

Television – Big Ten Network (Chris Vosters and Ben Brust)

Online – BTN2GO

Radio – Badgers Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)

Series – Wisconsin leads 2-0 (Wisconsin leads 2-0 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin won, 79-46, on Dec. 5, 2009, in Madison

Point Spread – No Line

WISCONSIN PROBABLE STARTERS

0 D’Mitrik Trice (6-0 Sophomore Guard, 16.1 ppg)

22 Ethan Happ (6-10 Senior Forward, 19.2 ppg)

23 Kobe King (6-3 Freshman Guard, 5.6 ppg)

34 Brad Davison (6-3 Sophomore Guard, 9.4 ppg)

35 Nate Reuvers (6-11 Sophomore Forward, 7.2 ppg)

OFF THE BENCH

1 Brevin Pritzl (6-3 Junior Guard, 5.7 ppg)

2 Aleem Ford (6-6 Sophomore Forward, 3.4 ppg)

21 Khalil Iverson (6-5 Senior Forward, 5.1 ppg)

PLAYER TO WATCH

In Wisconsin’s 41-point win last Thursday, King made his first career start in place of Khalil Iverson (left leg) and scored 10 points, one of five Badgers in double figures.

GRAMBLING STATE PROBABLE STARTERS

1 Ivy Smith Jr. (6-0 Junior Guard, 10.3 ppg)

3 Dallas Polk-Hillard (6-7 Junior Forward, 13.3 ppg)

21 Zavier Peart (6-10 Senior Forward, 5.1 ppg)

22 Prince Moss (6-7 Sophomore Guard, 5.5 ppg)

24 Travon Bunch (7-1 Junior Center 5.5 ppg)

OFF THE BENCH

4 Anthony Gaston (6-4 Junior Guard, 5.4 ppg)

5 Lasani Johnson (6-3 Junior Guard, 10.1 ppg)

25 Devante Jackson (6-3 Junior Guard, 8.2 ppg)

PLAYER TO WATCH

The son of former UNLV and Charlotte Hornets star Larry Johnson, Lasani Johnson became the first Grambling State player to score 30 points this season, hitting the number by going 11-for-15 from the floor (7-for-10 from 3-point range) in a 81-57 win over Centenary Dec.4.

SERIES NOTES

The 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference Champions, Grambling State was picked to defend its title and once again win the SWAC in 2018-19. The Tigers went 13-5 in conference play last season but was unable to participate in the SWAC tournament due to APR results. GSU’s SWAC Regular Season Championship was the first for the school in 30 years (1988- 89)

UW is a perfect 12-0 all-time vs. teams in the SWAC. Most recently, the Badgers defeated Prairie View A&M in back-to-back seasons, winning 85-67 in 2015 and 95-50 in 2016.

WISCONSIN NOTES

The Badgers have started the season 9-2 or better in 14 of the last 17 seasons.

With Greg Gard on the bench as either an assistant coach or head coach, Wisconsin has won 69.3 percent of their conference games (since 2000-01).

Wisconsin leads the Big Ten and ranks 17th in the NCAA shooting 40.2 percent from 3-point range. That figure is up from 33.5 percent a year ago. Defensively, UW is allowing opponents to shoot just 29.0% from long range and hit a mere 6.2 3FGs per game.

UW doesn’t beat itself, ranking 24th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 62.4 ppg and ranking 5th in the NCAA with just 9.3 turnovers per game.

GRAMBLING STATE NOTES

Located in Grambling, Louisiana, (northwest part of the state), Grambling State leads the SWAC in eight categories (blocked shots per game, defensive rebounds per game, field-goal percentage, field-goal percentage defense, three-point field-goal percentage, total blocks, total re- bounds per game and win-loss percentage).

Polk-Hillard and Jackson are Milwaukee natives while Bunch grew up in Racine.

The Tigers are 1-5 on the road this season.

PREDICTION

This appears to be a much stronger test for Wisconsin than the one it faced last week against Savannah State, but I use that term loosely. These Tigers have some veterans back from last year’s conference championship team and some Wisconsin natives who will likely be motivated to show the Badgers staff what they missed during the recruiting process. GSU also will have some confidence after rallying from a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat Southeastern Louisiana at home Wednesday night. However, these Tigers haven’t beaten a team more than a game over .500 all season and lost by 21 at LSU, the only Power-Five opponent they have faced.

UW is rested and likely refreshed after its grind through November and early December. I expect a little bit of sloppiness early, but the Badgers should easily pull away and win by 26.

Worgull’s Record: 9-2

Points off Prediction: 93 (8.4 per game)

 

 

 

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