The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team will face their in-state rivalry Saturday with Marquette at the Kohl Center. The Badgers are coming off a pair of Big Ten games against Ohio State and Penn State that they split 1-1, which featured a blowout loss at home to the Buckeyes and a tight road win at State College.
Wisconsin and Marquette have split their last two matchups, with the road team winning each time. But Wisconsin (4-5) currently holds the all time series record of 64-55. The Badgers have been struggling with inconsistency in the early season and had a tough time rising to the challenge against top competition. The matchup against the Golden Eagles will give the Badgers another opportunity to make up for their early season disappointments.
Head coach Greg Gard has been tinkering with his lineups recently to see what groups of players perform best together. A lot of those lineups have featured freshmen, giving the young team hope for future seasons. Four of their top eight players in minutes per game are freshmen, which means this team is inexperienced but with room to grow. Although the Badgers have endured challenges in the early season, they have time to prepare for January’s Big Ten play. Marquette will be another tough test for Wisconsin.
The focal point on each end of the floor so far this season has been 2017 Third Team All-American forward Ethan Happ, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding, as well as in assists and blocks. Happ has managed to be the anchor on defense while being main scoring option, which is no easy task.
The Golden Eagles are led in scoring by Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey, who average 22.4 and 21.6 points per game, respectively. They have been shooting the lights out so far this season with 3-point shooting percentages. Both players hover around an impressive 40 percent.
This will be a tough challenge for the perimeter defense of Wisconsin, who has had a lot of trouble with opposing 3-point shooters this season, particularly against Xavier and Ohio State. The Badgers will have to limit these two perimeter scorers in order to take down Marquette. It is likely that Coach Gard will play Brad Davison to log heavy minutes in an effort to limit their offensive production.
Tipoff for Saturday’s rivalry game will take place at 11 a.m. at the Kohl Center, and will be available to stream on FOX Sports 1.