After a disappointing loss in Omaha on Tuesday night, the Badgers will look to bounce back at home tonight against Chicago State. Creighton found a way to expose Wisconsin by double teaming any entry into the post forcing the Badgers to attempt 39 shots from behind the arc; resulting in a 79-67 defeat.
Wisconsin has to anticipate seeing a similar defensive game plan from Chicago State on Thursday, as the Badgers look for ways to get easier looks at the basket in preparation for the Maui Invitational next week.
Ben Thorson (@benjthorson): I want to keep things simple for tonight’s prediction. The Badgers will be heavy favorites on their home floor Thursday night, but there are some key areas I will be watching closely throughout the game. The first is TURNOVERS; Wisconsin prides itself on not turning the ball over. In their loss against Creighton, the Badgers turned the ball over 16 times. Quite frankly, this is unacceptable for a team thinking about making a deep run in March. Wisconsin must do a better job protecting the basketball tonight; I am looking for a single digit turnover night before heading to Maui. The other thing I will be looking at is the Badgers ability to get to the free throw line. Under Bo Ryan, Wisconsin was noted for making more free throws than their opponent attempted. On Tuesday, the Badgers only attempted five free throws (4-5), while the Blue Jays attempted 22 freebies (15-22).
These keys are not necessary tonight for the Badgers to win, but they are a necessity to gain confidence before a tough stretch of non-conference games.
Thorson’s Prediction: BADGERS 79 Chicago State 60
Caleb King (@calebking_2): After a disappointing defeat at Creighton on Tuesday, this veteran Badgers team has the opportunity to show early in the season that they can bounce back from a tough. Granted, Chicago State may not be the toughest team to play, especially at home, but the Badgers can still prove that one loss doesn’t determine how they continue to play this game. Tonight the bottom line is that a lot needs to go wrong for the Badgers to drop this game to a less than stellar Chicago State team. Tonight you will see Gard’s side get back to true Wisconsin Basketball, working the ball inside, stretching the defense, slowing the tempo, good shot selection, and tough, gritty defense. In their season opener, Chicago State shot 12-23 behind the arc in an 97-89 victory over Illinois Tech. That’s obviously an impressive percentage no matter the competition, but you can bet these Badgers will not let that happen tonight on their floor. These guys are experienced and determined to get back on track tonight and post a convincing win over Chicago State, and that’s exactly what will happen.
My player-to-watch tonight is the same as at Creighton: Ethan Happ. It’s no secret that Happ struggled on Tuesdaywhere he arguably should have had an advantage. But Happ is tough and smart and skilled, you won’t see him have another game tonight like Tuesday. He’s just too good, look for Happ to be aggressive on the glass and dominant in the post and get back to his double-double days, and maybe we’ll see some of his signature reverse lay-ins.
King’s Prediction: BADGERS 87 Chicago State 51