The 11th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers wrap up their opening four-game homestand tonight, as they entertain the UMKC Kangaroos at the Kohl Center in Madison. The game is part of the Chicago Invitational Challenge, which concludes this weekend in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
UMKC has had a rough go of it here in the early part of the season, dropping three of its first four games, including both of its road tilts. The Kangaroos were most recently in action this past Saturday, losing at Utah Valley in a 58-54 final. UMKC, a member of the Summit League, is 0-10 all-time against ranked foes, and just 1-13 against current teams from the Big Ten Conference.
Wisconsin is 3-0 after beating up on the likes of Kennesaw State, Colgate and Wofford, doing so by nearly 40 ppg on average. The Badgers, who have won 18 straight non-conference home games and will likely be one of the teams to challenge for the Big Ten title this year, will face their first real test of the season at No. 1 North Carolina on November 30 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between UMKC and Wisconsin on the hardwood.
Despite averaging just 62.8 ppg, the Kangaroos have one of the Summit League's top scorers in senior guard Reggie Chamberlain. A 50 percent shooter who has dropped 10-of-23 three-pointers thus far, Chamberlain is netting 17.8 ppg. Trinity Hall is the team's only other double-digit scorer at the moment, chipping in 12.5 ppg, and he is UMKC's top glass cleaner with 5.5 rpg. As a team, the 'Roos are shooting just 39.5 percent from the floor and only 59.7 percent from the foul line. Defensively, they are yielding 66.5 ppg on 48.3 percent field goal efficiency. Chamberlain poured in 19 points and Hall added 11 in the recent loss at Utah Valley, and the team as a whole made good on only 5-of-22 long-range tries in what was another disappointing effort.
Wisconsin has had its way at both ends of the court here in the early going, scoring 74.0 ppg while giving up just 35.0 ppg (lowest yield in the country). The Badgers are hitting their field goals at a 50.6 percent clip, while opponents do so just 28.3 percent of the time (also the lowest figure nationally). Additionally, coach Bo Ryan's club owns an eye-popping +18.7 rebounding margin and commits only 7.7 turnovers per outing. Despite coming off the bench in each contest, Ben Brust is the team's leading scorer (13.3 ppg), while three others (Josh Gasser, Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren) average at least 11.0 ppg. Gasser was high man for the Badgers in their recent rout of Wofford, scoring 16 points on the strength of a perfect 4-of-4 effort from three-point range, while Berggren and Evans pitched in with 13 points apiece and combined for 13 rebounds. The Badgers drained half of their 56 field goal attempts, and held the Terriers to just 26.5 percent success. UW easily won the rebounding battle, 43-22.