The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team will play their home opener this Friday at the Kohl Center against the Eastern Illinois Panthers. Both teams will be in search of their first win after each dropping the first game of the season to their respective opponents.

The Badgers are coming off a tough overtime loss in their season opener against No. 20 Saint Mary’s. The Gaels’ senior point guard Jordan Ford was just too much to handle with 26 points and three assists in their 65–63 defeat of the Badgers.

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There is reason for optimism after the Badgers’ first outing as their defense played strong and stingy, forcing the Gaels to shoot under 40 percent from the field. The only sight of concern for the Badgers was a stretch in the first half where they were unable to score a bucket for six consecutive minutes. This allowed the Gaels to go on a 21–3 as well as erase an eight point deficit and take a 10 point lead.

Nate Reuvers led the Badgers with 22 points and six rebounds and Brad Davison followed that up with 16 points and four rebounds. D’Mitrik Trice finished with 10 points and three assists.

The Eastern Illinois Panthers are currently 0-1 after a 25 point loss to No. 13 Texas Tech. The Panthers play a guard heavy lineup but that does mean that they are undersized. The average height of their starting lineup is still 6-foot-5 with a whole lot of speed to complement their height.

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George Dixon of Eastern Illinois led his team with 13 points in their season opener. The only other player scoring in double figures was Jordan Skipper-Brown with 10 points. The Panthers are prone to take the ball inside rather than shoot the three. They attempted 16 three-pointers and converted only six of those attempts in their first game.

Eastern Illinois plays with pressure defense and then gets out and runs in transition. During their game against Texas Tech, Dixon and Jordan Skipper-Brown both had multiple emphatic dunks in transition off steals from the defensive end.

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The Panthers play with tremendous amount of depth, 11 players saw the floor in their opener and nine received considerable minutes. Junior guard Deang Deang contributed nine points and five assists coming off the bench for the Panthers.

The Badgers will be looking to get back on track with an arguably easier matchup than their last contest. Tipoff from the Kohl Center is 7 p.m. this Friday. You can watch the action on Big Ten Plus or listen in live with the Badger Radio Network.