After coming off an 81-62 win against Bradley Tuesday, the Wisconsin Badgers face Liberty in the second round of the NIT. A trip to the quarterfinals is on the line. The Flames are coming off a 62-57 win against Villanova. Tip time is 11 AM tomorrow on ESPN 2. Here is a preview of tomorrow’s game.
Containing Darius McGhee
Everything Liberty does on offense starts with senior Darius McGhee. He’s been the conference player of the year the last three seasons and averages almost 23 points a game. McGhee also shoots 40% from three and averages 21 points a game on the road.
I would imagine Max Klesmit will draw the primary assignment on McGhee. At only 5’9, both Klesmit and Chucky Hepburn could see their fair share of defending McGhee. No one on the Flames averages more than 11 points. I think Liberty is going to need their role players to step up and it could be the difference in this game.
Keep Flames Under 70 Points
70 points is the magic number for Liberty. Why? The are only 6-7 when they score less than 70 points They’re an efficient offense and can shoot well as a team. The Flames make 10 threes a game which is good for ninth in the country. They average 75 points a game and have the players to score early and often.
Wisconsin’s defense will have to be solid tomorrow. Right now, I don’t see Liberty scoring 70 points, but the Badgers will have to score their fair share.
Liberty’s offense can get hot and that should concern the Badgers. At the same time, Wisconsin should feel good about scoring 81 points Tuesday against Bradley. Steven Crowl had a career high 36 points. I think he has a good shot to have another solid game tomorrow. Look for the Badgers to try and get him going early.
When you look at the Flames schedule, they haven’t played many Power 5 teams. They lost to Alabama by 36, Northwestern by 14, but was able to beat a down Villanova team by five. When they have played these Power 5 teams, they haven’t scored more than 62 points.
I think Wisconsin’s defense proves to be too much for the Flames. The Badgers have been solid all year on the defensive side and seem to be taking the NIT seriously. Greg Gard has given out free tickets to a number of Wisconsin students so look for the Kohl Center to be much louder than it was Tuesday night.
I think McGhee gets his own, but I think Wisconsin pulls away in the second half and advances to the quarterfinals.
Wisconsin 68 Liberty 63
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