The Wisconsin Badgers conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule tomorrow night. They will play host Western Michigan Basketball at 7:30. Here’s what the Badgers need to do before Big Ten play resumes next week.
Knock The Rust Off
Tomorrow will be 15 days since the Badgers last played. They were supposed to play last Friday against Grambling State. However, the game was called off because of a winter storm that impacted a chunk of the country and will not be rescheduled.
I have to imagine Greg Gard and his players are getting antsy and just want to play. And who can blame them? They have yet to lose in December and are looking like one of the better teams in the Big Ten.
I would not be surprised if the Badgers play a little fast and have some early turnovers against Western Michigan Basketball. There is no momentum coming into this game. Wisconsin also has struggled against mid-major teams, especially in the first half. They have to be able to knock the rust off early.
Take Advantage Of Your Bigs vs. Western Michigan Basketball
This should be a game Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl dominate. Western Michigan Basketball will only have bigs 6’7 and 6’8 playing most of the game. Wahl has had the tendency this year to struggle in the first half. While he’s getting good shots and just about whatever he wants at the rim, the ball has been coming off the glass a little hard. This is resulting in rollouts and missed opportunities.
If Crowl and Wahl can get going early and establish the paint, it will open up the guards for high-percentage jump shots against Western Michigan Basketball. Wisconsin was also really bad in the first half against Lehigh defending the paint. I would imagine that came up again this week. Look for the Badgers to control the paint on both sides.
Western Michigan Basketball vs. Wisconsin Basketball Prediction
This should be a game Wisconsin should handle early. With the Big Ten schedule resuming Jan. 3, the Badgers can’t look ahead. Look what happened to Iowa against Eastern Illinois. I think the Badgers found something in the last 10 minutes of the Lehigh game. They ended up dominating in the second half.
Wisconsin needs to be able to defend the paint against Western Michigan Basketball. The forwards and centers will only get better as the season goes along. This is the last chance to clean up some little things before the thick of the schedule is upon them.
15 days between games is tough for any opponent. I would be surprised if Wisconsin comes out on fire. This is a good chance for the defense to establish the tempo early, as Western Michigan Basketball only shoots 32% from three and 69% from the free throw line.
Look for the beginning of this game to be slow, but I think this is a game Wisconsin wins fairly easily. Give me the Badgers at home and a 10-2 start coming into the new year.
Wisconsin Badgers 77 Western Michigan Basketball 54
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