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Wisconsin vs Minnesota: UW Badger Basketball Preview

UW Badger Basketball
Wisconsin vs Minnesota
Thursday 2/18/2010
TV: ESPN
Time: Sunday, 8:00 PM CT
Location: Williams Arena, Minneapolis,MN



Badger Game Preview - First Easy Trey:
1. The Badgers are 19-6 and ranked 16th in the nation,Minnesota is not ranked and is 14-10 overall and 5-7 in the conference. Minnesota has wins against Penn State twice,Northwestern,Ohio State (no Turner), and at Iowa. Minnesota has lost to Purdue,Michigan State twice,Indiana,Ohio State,Michigan, and Northwestern. The road is always tough in the Big Ten but the Gophers did loose their last home game to Michigan 71 to 63, so find hope there.

2. Minnesota will start Ralph Samspson III and Colton Iverson at the front court positions, and Lawrence Westbrook,Devoe Joseph,Blake Hoffarber at the guards. Colton Iverson is a new addition to the starting lineup for this game as the Gophers are going big to try and beat the Badgers. Lawrence Westbrook scores 13.4 points per game, Hoffarber 11.6, Damian Johnson 10, Joseph 8.5,Sampson 8.2 and Colton Iverson is only scoring 4 points per game this year. The Gophers shoot .472% from the field, .394% from 3 and  .684% from the line.

3. The Badgers are looking to avenge to losses to the Gophers last season including a 51-46 loss at Williams Arena. Of course there are a number of key Badgers on the roster who are from Minnesota including returning Jon Leuer,Jordan Taylor,Mike B. and Jared Bergrren, hopefully they don't get a case of nerves going home.

Badger Game Preview - Fast Break Keys to the Game:

1. The Gophers are making the switch to an even bigger lineup in hopes their height gives them the same advantage the Illini had against the Badgers with a taller lineup. We don't see the same problems as against the Illini on the defensive end of the floor because Tisdale is a much better shooter than Sampson and Iverson but on the offensive end the Badgers could run into the same problems with dribble drive penetration. In particular we are worried how Taylor will do with the dribble drive as he has been struggling with finishing his runners and could be rattled from returning home. That said we think it is important that Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon are persistent in driving to the hoop and that they draw fouls or finish the runner on 30% of their drives, this is a game for the senior leaders to step up.

2. Jon Leuer is at a point in his conditioning that he can play most of the game and he doesn't get himself into foul trouble. The Badgers really had problems with the dribble penetration against the Illini because Tisdale didn't have to leave the paint much because there was nobody to draw him out. Leuer makes the Gopher game an entire different scenario as he can take Sampson or Iverson away from the paint giving the dribble drive significantly more success. We don't need Leuer to come out on fire on offense we just need him to stay in the game.

3. The Badgers need to be able to battle on the boards and not have a big deficit to the Gophers in rebounding. Sampson pulls down 6.4 boards per game and Iverson adds 4.3 the Badgers can't let these to become to dominant on the boards when the Badgers starters are in the game. If the Gophers are getting to many rebounds look for a quick switch to more playing time for Mike B. as he played 18 minutes against Indiana and you have to think that was to access what he could contribute against the Gophers if needed. If Mike B. needs to play we look for the Badgers to go big and take Taylor out of the game especially if he isn't playing well.

Badger Game Preview Prediction:
The Badgers will avenge the two losses to the Gophers last year with a 65-55 road win that will give them 20 wins for the fourth consecutive season. Jason Bohannon will keep scorching the nets and the rest of the Badgers will add very balanced scoring in powering this team to a big road victory down the stretch.

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