UNLV-Wisconsin Preview

Even when it was struggling with its own shot last week,

Wisconsin was still trying to make things as difficult as it could

for opponents offensively.

However, the 14th-ranked Badgers could have a tough time slowing

down Chase Stanback and UNLV on Saturday as they try to win their

44th consecutive home game against an unranked non-conference

opponent.

Wisconsin avoided a third straight loss with a 70-42 win over

Wisconsin-Green Bay on Wednesday. The Badgers (7-2) held the

Phoenix to 32.1 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers.

Jordan Taylor had 15 points, a season-high 10 assists and no

turnovers, while Jared Berggren had 13 points, four steals and

three blocked shots.

After shooting 34.2 percent in losses to North Carolina and

Marquette last week, Wisconsin went 12 of 33 (36.4 percent) from

the field in the first half Wednesday before shooting 57.7 percent

after the break. Among the Badgers that continue to struggle, Ben

Brust, averaging 11.2 points, was held to six points on 2-of-8

shooting, while Mike Bruesewitz scored four.

“Shots aren’t falling for some guys right now, but we’ve just

got to keep working, keep getting better every day and it will

come,” Taylor said. “It just comes with staying aggressive.”

While its offense may not be consistent, Wisconsin’s defense

continues to be stout, leading Division I in scoring defense (44.2)

and ranking fourth in field-goal percentage defense (32.9). It has

been particularly tough at home, limiting opponents to 39.8 points

on 29.6 percent shooting.

If the Badgers can’t get their shots to fall, particularly from

beyond the arc, where they are 16 of 64 (21.3 percent) the last

three games, they’ll need their defense to stay aggressive against

UNLV (9-1), which is averaging 83.0 points – 13th in the

nation.

The Rebels fell just outside this week’s poll after losing 89-70

to Wichita State on Sunday. They bounced back with a 94-50 rout of

Cal State San Marco, a first-year NAIA program, on Wednesday.

Justin Hawkins had 23 points, seven rebounds and five steals,

while Stanback added 16 points and six boards.

Stanback is having an outstanding senior season. He’s second on

the team with 15.1 points per game, averaging 19.8 in the last four

games.

UNLV is looking for its second win over a ranked team this

season. The Runnin’ Rebels stunned then-top-ranked North Carolina

90-80 on Nov. 26, shooting 13 of 32 from 3-point range.

However, they’ve struggled in their two true road games, losing

to the Shockers while needing double overtime to defeat UC Santa

Barbara 94-88 on Nov. 30.

UNLV has won its last two against Wisconsin, getting 25 points

from Stanback in a 68-65 victory last year. The Badgers won the

only home meeting in 2002.