E. Kentucky-Wisconsin Preview
Off to one of the best starts in school history, Wisconsin is doing many things well right now.
Coach Bo Ryan, though, still sees some issues, which he'll look to correct when the No. 4 Badgers host Eastern Kentucky on Saturday.
Wisconsin (11-0) has matched its record to open 1993-94, the program's best start since 1943. The Badgers are also ranked in top 5 for only the second time, with the 2006-07 squad reaching No. 1.
While their record is perfect, Ryan feels their play hasn't been, and with two games remaining before the Big Ten schedule starts, the coach wants to see a variety of problems addressed.
"So far to this point, they've found a way to get a lot of things done," Ryan said. "We've just got to find a way to keep developing players and keep developing our help-and-recover, our defensive reads. Offensively, better cuts. We're 11 games into it, but we've got a lot of work to do."
Ryan isn't the only one who think the Badgers have room to grow.
"We've gotten into a couple of those funks early this year. Granted they aren't real long ones, we snap out of them," forward Sam Decker said after a 78-52 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday. "We're trying to limit that as much as possible because we're going to be playing much better teams down the road here and we're not going to be able to luck out with some of the plays that have been happening."
Ben Brust scored a team-high 18 points against the Panthers while going 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
"We have a lot of different pieces on this team from freshmen to sophomores to juniors to a couple seniors," said Brust, the team's lone senior starter. "With that there's been some experience, but not as much as we've had in the past, so that means every day in practice we have to be out there working, ready to learn from each other, learn how to play off of each other because that's something you gradually get over time."
One area where the Badgers probably don't need improvement is in taking care of the ball. Wisconsin is averaging 8.9 turnovers, fewest in the nation, and it's committed 7.5 over its last six contests.
Eastern Kentucky (7-3) will try to push that turnover average up with its pressure defense. The Colonels force 18.2 giveaways a game, which ranks in the top 10 nationally.
Glenn Cosey is the team's top scorer at 19.3 points per game. The 6-foot point guard also leads Eastern Kentucky with 4.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds a contest.
These schools have met once, a 95-89 double-overtime victory by the Badgers in the 2005 Paradise Jam. The Colonels are 0-13 all-time against Big Ten opponents, and their 14 consecutive losses to ranked opponents since the start of the 1998-99 season have come by an average of 24.7 points.