When the No. 4 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (2-0) welcomes the Green Bay Phoenix (0-1) to the Kohl Center Tuesday afternoon, it will be just the 11th matchup all-time between these two programs.
History on the court between Wisconsin and Green Bay started in the 2009-10 season when Green Bay defeated Wisconsin in overtime. Tuesday’s affair will be the 11th consecutive year with a meeting between the teams, and the Badgers will be looking to take their 10th straight game in the series to move to 10-1 all-time against the Phoenix.
Green Bay does boast a new head coach this year, however, one that Badgers basketball fans are all too familiar with.
Will Ryan, son of longtime Badgers head coach Bo Ryan, will be opposite his former colleague Greg Gard Tuesday afternoon. Will Ryan and Gard served together on Bo Ryan’s staff from 2002 to 2007.
Men’s Basketball: How Wisconsin stacks up against Marquette and LouisvilleAfter the University of Wisconsin football team’s loss Saturday to Northwestern, the eyes of Madison are now turned to UW Read…
Ryan made his debut with the Phoenix in Minneapolis against Minnesota in last Wednesday’s season opener. The Gophers didn’t take too kindly to Ryan’s squad, dominating them in a 30-point blowout.
The Badgers have had their way so far in two home games against Eastern Illinois and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Their performance in these two games, combined with early upsets and losses suffered by a few top-ranked programs, has propelled Wisconsin three spots to a No. 4 ranking in Monday’s latest AP poll. The Badgers are sandwiched in the polls by Big Ten foes Iowa (No. 3) and Illinois (No. 5). Wisconsin’s new ranking is the highest for the program since 2015 and is just the fourth season ever that the Badgers have appeared in the top five of the rankings.
Wisconsin is a 24.5-point favorite in this game against Green Bay. The recipe — start fast and finish strong. The Badgers have dominated the first half, building over-20 point leads in each of their first two games. They will need to continue this trend today.
A first-half gut punch in the form of a sizable lead tends to go a long way in securing a confident win. The Badgers will need to be much more focused in the second half today, however, working toward playing a complete basketball game with Marquette and Louisville scheduled as the next two games.
Men’s Basketball: Badgers take down Green Bay in second straight in-state matchupThe University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team took care of business for the fourth consecutive game after dropping their season Read…
Wisconsin will look to use their talent and size inside to establish points in the paint early today. Big men Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter have been the offensive stars thus far in 2020, and if Wisconsin is going to live up to high expectations this year, they must continue to be stars. Playing inside out, the Badgers will be able to spread the floor and open up shots on the perimeter for the likes of Aleem Ford, Brad Davison, D’Mitrik Trice, Jonathan Davis and others.
Wisconsin’s all-senior starting five will threaten a young Phoenix team that features only one true senior in their program. Point guard PJ Pipes is the only player to spend four years at Green Bay. The only other senior on the roster, forward Joshua Jefferson, is in his first year with the program after transferring from Illinois State.
Ryan will heavily depend on his two seniors, lone junior forward Paris Taylor and sophomore scoring machine Amari Davis, to guide his young team against the Badgers. Expect a lot of minutes and volume from Taylor, Jefferson, Pipes and Davis in Tuesday’s game. The remaining eight players who saw the court in Green Bay’s opener against Minnesota are all freshmen.
It will take some time, but Ryan is beginning to build a program at Green Bay. Unfortunately for him and the Phoenix, the early stages of a rebuild don’t usually correlate with wins against top-ranked, experienced teams like the Badgers. If Wisconsin plays to their capabilities, we should be looking at a 3-0 team heading into Fiserv Forum against Marquette Friday.