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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 12, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kohl Center (17,230) -- Madison, Wisconsin. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Green Bay 2-0, Wisconsin 5-1. Away Record: Green Bay 0-4, Wisconsin 0-2. Neutral Record: Green Bay 1-1, Wisconsin 1-1. Conference Record: Green Bay 0-0, Wisconsin 0-0. Series Record: Wisconsin leads, 17-1.
GAME NOTES: The Wisconsin Badgers begin a four-game homestand on Wednesday night when they take on intrastate rivals the Green Bay Phoenix at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Green Bay started the season off promising enough with wins in each of its first two games, but since then it has dropped five of its last six, including all four of its road tilts. The Phoenix most recently fell at Tennessee Tech last Thursday, 74-68.
For a team that began the season ranked No. 23 in the AP poll, Wisconsin's 6-4 start has been a disappointment. The silver lining for the Badgers is that all of their defeats have come against good teams -- Florida (74-56), Creighton (84-74), Virginia (60-54), and in their latest bout last Saturday, at Marquette (60-50).
Wisconsin has dominated the all-time series with Green Bay, winning 17 of the 18 previous matchups. The teams have played each another every year since 1999.
Green Bay has been a modest shooting team through eight games, scoring 68 ppg, but it has found itself with a losing record by allowing its opponents to knock down 44.4 percent from the field, including nearly 40 percent from three-point range. The Phoenix were able to battle back from a nine-point, second-half deficit against Tennessee Tech to tie the game at 61-61 with just over four minutes to play, but they could not pull off the comeback. Keifer Sykes and Brennan Cougill did all they could to keep their team in contention, scoring 18 and 17 points, respectively, combining to shoot 14-of-24 from the floor. Sykes is the team's leading scorer on the season, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 87.5 percent from the foul line en route to 16.0 ppg. Cougill (12.8 ppg) and Brown (11.3 ppg) are also valuable assets, as each grabs more than six boards per contest. Jordan Fouse averages just 5.0 ppg, but he leads the team in rebounding (7.5 rpg), steals (1.4 spg) and blocks (1.4 bpg).
Wisconsin put forth its worst offensive performance of the season in the 10- point loss to Marquette, shooting a meager 17-of-52 from the field (.327) and a woeful 9-of-23 from the foul line (.391), which spoiled a solid effort at the defensive end. The Badgers failed to have a scorer reach double figures in the loss. Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren each scored nine points, with Berggren adding a team-high seven rebounds. Ben Brust chipped in eight points and six assists, but he had a very poor showing from the field (3-of-13). They have been a much better shooting team on the season, making 44 percent of their field goal attempts in netting 72.6 ppg, 15 ppg more than their opponents on average. Berggren (14.3 ppg), Brust (13.1 ppg), and Ryan Evans (10.3 ppg) are all multi-faceted performers, with each also grabbing at least 6.7 rpg. Brust also adds team-highs in three-pointers (25), assists (2.6 pg) and steals (1.6 pg). Sam Dekker rounds out the unit's double-digits scorers with 10.0 ppg.
Despite Wisconsin's struggles, it has averaged an incredible plus-29.3 scoring margin in its six wins, and it has played very well at home. Expect the Badgers to bounce back from a tough loss and log a convincing victory over the struggling Phoenix.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 80, Green Bay 60
12/12 10:36:28 ET
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