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Tue, Dec 13, 2011 - 8:00 PM ET
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Wisconsin-Milwaukee Preview

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Aside from back-to-back defeats to two of the better teams in the country, Wisconsin has handled its opponents with relative ease.

It hasn't faced much difficulty in its series with in-state rival Milwaukee, either.

The No. 14 Badgers look for a 19th consecutive victory over the Panthers as the teams meet at US Cellular Arena on Tuesday night.

Three days after falling 60-57 at No. 5 North Carolina, Wisconsin (8-2) suffered a 61-54 defeat to then-No. 16 Marquette on Dec. 3. The Badgers, though, have outscored teams by an average of 30.3 points in their eight wins.

Much of Wisconsin's success can be attributed to its stellar defensive play. The Badgers rank first in the country with an average of 44.9 points allowed.

Wisconsin's defensive prowess was on display during Saturday's 62-51 victory over usually high-scoring UNLV. The Badgers held the Runnin' Rebels to nearly 30 points below their season average and limited them to a season-worst 39.1 percent from the floor.

"I'll tell you, they're working extremely hard (on defense)," coach Bo Ryan said. "... the guys stuck to our rules 90 percent of the time. Their recognition of the help-recover, they're doing some things that are making it tough for the other team to get comfortable. That's the main thing."

The Panthers (8-2) know all too well of the Badgers' ability to a control a game on their end of the court. Milwaukee, which has lost 27 of 28 all-time meetings in this series, has managed just 46.4 points per game on 37.2 percent shooting in its last five losses to Wisconsin.

While the Badgers' defensive efforts leave little to be desired, they'd surely love to see preseason All-American Jordan Taylor get going offensively.

Taylor averaged 18.1 points as a junior last season but is putting up just 11.6 per game on 36.0 percent shooting. He matched a season-low with four points while going a career-worst 0-for-10 from the floor Saturday.

"You just got to keep working, trying to improve every game," he said. "That's what I'm going to do, but as long as we're winning games. If we win the rest of our games, and I go 0 for 10 and we still win, that's cool with me, I guess."

With Taylor struggling, sophomore Ben Brust came through with a terrific effort off the bench, making all seven 3-point attempts in scoring a career-best 25 points. Brust, who leads the team with 12.6 points per game, has made 29 of 59 from beyond the arc this season (49.2 percent).

Wisconsin's 9.4 made 3's per game rank among the top 10 in the country. The Badgers, though, could be tested from long distance against a Panthers team holding opponents to just 25.0 percent from 3-point range.

Milwaukee had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 67-51 defeat Saturday at Northern Iowa. Senior Kaylon Williams scored 16 points while Kyle Kelm and James Haarsma added 12 and 10, respectively.

Junior Ja'Rob McCallum, averaging 10.0 points, missed his fourth straight game with a wrist injury. It's unknown if he'll be available in this one.

The Panthers have dropped 11 of 12 meetings versus Top-25 opponents, with their lone win coming 63-60 over then-No. 21 Butler on Feb. 18, 2009. Their last win over a ranked non-conference foe came against then-No. 24 Oklahoma in the first round of the 2006 NCAA tournament.

Tagged: Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Jordan Taylor, Ben Brust

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