North Dakota-Wisconsin Preview
Wisconsin hasn't had any of those early-season laughers typical of November college basketball.
Tuesday night's home game against North Dakota could provide such an opportunity.
The 12th-ranked Badgers (3-0) are 5-0 all-time against the Fighting Sioux and 84-4 at home against unranked non-conference opponents since Bo Ryan took over as coach in 2001-02. They've held such opponents to 52.0 points per game and outscored them by 23.6.
Their three games so far this season have been decided by a total of 20 points.
Wisconsin escaped Green Bay on Saturday with a 69-66 victory after trailing by seven in the second half.
Frank Kaminsky scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half to lead the Badgers' rally after he had a total of 10 points in the first two games.
"If you saw the start of the second half, I struggled," Kaminsky said. "I had a couple bad plays and a turnover. I just didn't want to let my teammates down. I came back off the bench with energy and just tried to do whatever I could to get a win."
Sam Dekker scored 13 and Josh Gasser added 11. Dekker is averaging a team-high 15.0 points, while Gasser bounced back from a scoreless 32 minutes against Florida.
"I'm learning things that they really need a lot of work on," Ryan said of his players. "And I'm learning some things that they've done pretty well that we have to continue to do well."
One thing they're doing is shooting well from beyond the arc. They're hitting 41.0 percent of their 3-point attempts, despite going 5 for 18 against Green Bay. The Badgers are also holding opponents to 22.2 percent from long range.
The Fighting Sioux (1-0) hit 10 of 20 from long range in Wednesday's 110-69 win over Minnesota Morris, but it was the other end of the court coach Brian Jones was most impressed with.
"I thought defensively is where we set the tone," Jones told the school's official website. "I thought we really defended their initial thrust and that allowed us to get some easy (baskets) in transition. I thought our guys came out in both halves with a sense of urgency and the right intensity, which is something we have been talking about a lot."
Aaron Anderson had a game-high 23 points in 25 minutes to lead five North Dakota players who scored at least 15.
Forward Jaron Nash debuted with 15 points and eight rebounds after transferring from Texas Tech and sitting out last season.
Anderson's backcourt mate, Troy Huff, scored 18. Huff led the Big Sky in scoring a season ago and is returning to his home state to face the Badgers for the second time. His mother, Theresa, graduated as Wisconsin's all-time leading scorer and rebounder in 1983.
The Badgers won 85-53 in Madison the last time the teams met on Nov. 16, 2010. Huff scored 21 points off the bench as a freshman.
North Dakota finished third during its inaugural season in the Big Sky in 2012-13, setting a league record for a newcomer with 12 conference wins.
The Fighting Sioux haven't faced a ranked team since an 84-58 loss at No. 17 Kansas on Dec. 31, 2011.