Game 9 Preview and Prediction: Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma

Ben Thorson (@benjthorson): The Badgers will face off against their third 2016 Final Four opponent of the young season as they play host to the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin is coming off their most impressive victory of the year as they dominated against the Syracuse zone en route to a 77-60 win.

As for their opponent, Oklahoma is currently on a three game win streak after suffering their only loss of the season against Northern Iowa. The Sooners are led by senior guard Jordan Woodard, who is averaging 17.0 points per game and has 1250 points in his career. Woodard is also fourth on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game, and leads the Sooners with 4.7 assists and 2.7 steals per game.

Oklahoma is a sound rebounding team; averaging 41.2 rebounds per game which ranks 35th in the country.  And the Sooners rank 17th in the nation with 9.5 steals per game.

This brings me to the two key factors for the Badgers thus far in the 2016-2017 season. Wisconsin has dominated opposing teams on the boards with a +14.6 rebounding margin (4th in the country) but have struggled holding on to the basketball as they average 13.1 turnovers per game.

Last season the Badgers and Sooners squared off in Norman, with Oklahoma dominating 65-48. The Sooners were led in this contest by Ryan Spangler, Isaiah Collins, and Buddy Hield; this trio is not part of this 2016-17 team. In the loss, Nigel Hayes was the only Badger to finish with double-digit scoring. Hayes finished the game with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Sooners limited Ethan Happ to 5 points and 7 rebounds on 2-for-7 shooting, but the departure of Spangler should allow Happ to have his way in this meeting.

Koenig was 3-for-18 shooting last season against Oklahoma; including 3-for-14 from behind the arc. I look for a big bounce back today from Bronson, as he gets that Koenig Kounter started early!

Verdict: The Badgers will face off against a very different Sooners team than they saw a year ago, and Wisconsin will benefit from playing on their home floor.

Thorson’s Prediction: BADGERS 73 Oklahoma 64

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