The 14th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers will try to 0 on the young season as they entertain the Wofford Terriers tonight at the Kohl Center in Madison. This game is part of the Chicago Invitational Classic.
Wofford has split its first two games, dropping a 62-49 decision at Georgia in the opener, and taking a 70-55 verdict at home against Emory & Henry last Sunday. The Terriers are the defending Southern Conference champions, but they lost four starters from last year's team. They do however, have five seniors on the roster and the hope is that experience will serve the team well as it sets it sights on another successful campaign under veteran head coach Mike Young.
Wisconsin opened the 2011-12 slate with a pair of wins over inferior opponents -- Kennesaw State (85-31) and Colgate (68-41). Additionally, following this clash with Wofford, the Badgers will host UMKC on Tuesday before battling Bradley and either BYU or Nevada next week as this event continues. A November 30 clash at No. 1 North Carolina will certainly be a better measuring stick for just how good coach Bo Ryan's club is this year, and whether or not it has the goods to challenge a team like Ohio State for the Big Ten Conference crown.
Wisconsin has won 21 straight home games, and is 38-1 in its last 39 at the Kohl Center. During their current 21-game skein, the Badgers average margin of victory is more than 20 points per game.
This bout marks the third all-time meeting between Wofford and Wisconsin in men's basketball, and the Badgers have won both previous matchups, the most recent of which was a 53-49 decision in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
Wofford had complete control of its home opener against Emory & Henry, putting three players in double figures and shooting 45.6 percent from the field. Defensively, the Terriers held the Wasps to 38.2 percent success while taking advantage of 20 turnovers and claiming a 14-7 edge in points from the foul line. Karl Cochran came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points, while Lee Skinner contributed a line of 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Drew Crowell was the only starter to reach double digits, netting 10 points, and he produced seven boards and three blocks as well. Brad Loesing handed out nine assists for Wofford, which bounced back from a shoddy effort in the opener against Georgia as the team shot a mere 34.6 percent from the field and missed 12 of its 15 three-point attempts. Loesing was high man for the Terriers in that bout, dropping 13 points despite going just 5-of-15 from the floor.
Ben Brust has made the most of his opportunities in the first two games, as he leads the Badgers in scoring (15.5 ppg) on the strength of his team-best eight three-pointers. Brust, who comes off the bench for coach Ryan's club, scored a career-high 17 points to help lead Wisconsin to its 27-point win over Colgate earlier in the week. The Badgers drained 10 three-pointers as part of 27 made field goals in that tilt, and they allowed the Raiders to shoot just 34.8 percent from the floor, which included a 3-of-11 showing from beyond the arc. Wisconsin easily won the battle on the boards (43-29), and the team committed just five turnovers. Ryan Evans, Jared Berggren and Jordan Taylor are all averaging 10.0 ppg after the first two games, and UW is hitting its field goals 50.9 percent of the time in putting up 76.5 ppg. The team's stifling defensive effort has resulted in the opposition netting a measly 36.0 ppg.