GAME NOTES: Instate rivals clash at the Bradley Center on Saturday, as the
Marquette Golden Eagles play host to the Wisconsin Badgers.
Bo Ryan's Badgers come in at 6-3 on the young season and enter this contest
coming off back-to-back lopsided home wins over California (81-56) and most
recently, Nebraska-Omaha (86-40).
Buzz Williams' Golden Eagles have won five of their first seven games on the
docket. The team is looking to put an ugly loss to nationally-ranked Florida
in its rearview mirror though, falling 82-49 to the Gators in last week's Big
East/SEC Challenge. It marked the lowest scoring output by Marquette since
Marquette has played Wisconsin more times than any other opponent in program
history. This marks the 119th all-time meeting between these two teams, with
Wisconsin holding a 64-54 series advantage. Marquette won last year's meeting
in Madison, 61-54.
The Badgers have posted two straight dominant performances, going over 80
points in each game. In the win over the Mavericks, Wisconsin used a strong
performance at both ends in the first half to lead 42-13 at the half and never
looked back. Ben Brust and Ryan Evans led the way with double-doubles. Brust
finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Evans added 10 points and 11
boards. Jared Berggren (13 pts), Frank Kaminsky (11 pts) and Sam Dekker (10
pts) added to the scoring deluge, as the Badgers shot a solid .486 from the
floor in the rout.
Always known for its defense, Wisconsin has actually been solid at both ends
of the floor this season and as a result, is enjoying a +18.0 scoring margin,
averaging 75.1 ppg, while allowing just 57.1. The team also boasts of a +7.2
rebounding margin and is forcing just under 15 turnovers per game. Berggren
leads four players in double-figure scoring at 14.9 ppg. Brust follows at 13.7
ppg, while Evans and Dekker chip in with 10.4 ppg each.
Marquette would like nothing more than to forget its time in Gainesville, as
the Golden Eagles had their worst offensive showing of the season. The team
shot just .411 from the floor overall, including a mere 3-of-12 from behind
the arc. Vander Blue seemed to be the only Golden Eagle that didn't fall
victim to poor shooting, hitting 8-of-14 from the floor to finish with a game-
high 20 points.
Marquette isn't exactly an offensive juggernaut this season at a modest 72.1
ppg, but the team is efficient for the most part, delivering on 48.1 percent
from the floor overall. Davante Gardner currently leads the team in scoring,
averaging 12.9 ppg exclusively off the bench. Blue is a close second at 12.8
ppg and rounds out the team's double-digit performers. Jamil Wilson is just
under that mark at 9.9 ppg.
The Golden Eagles are 3-0 at home this season, but the Badgers will represent
the stiffest challenge to date at the Bradley Center. Wisconsin is on a bit of
a role right now and with brimming confidence, should be able to do enough to
earn a road win here.