Wisconsin-Nebraska Preview

Aside from tough defeats to two of the top teams in the country,

Wisconsin looked mostly dominant through its non-conference


The 11th-ranked Badgers, though, aren’t sure what to expect as

they begin Big Ten play against the conference’s newest member.

Looking to win a ninth consecutive conference opener, Wisconsin

visits a Nebraska program set to make its Big Ten debut Tuesday


The Badgers (11-2) concluded non-conference play with Friday’s

79-45 rout of Mississippi Valley State, and only one of their

victories hasn’t been by double digits. Their only losses came in

back-to-back games, 60-57 at No. 5 North Carolina on Nov. 30 and

61-54 to then-No. 16 Marquette three days later.

“I think we expected to be 13-0, thought we were going to be

13-0,” said preseason All-American Jordan Taylor, whose 17 points

Friday were one shy of a season high. “The two games we lost

obviously tough games, but I think we responded to that tough week

in a good way and learned some new things that were positive and


Wisconsin has won five in a row since those defeats but now

faces an unfamiliar foe. Tuesday marks the first meeting between

these teams since the Badgers defeated the Cornhuskers 78-41 on

Nov. 22, 1998, to snap an eight-game skid in the series.

Coach Bo Ryan’s team has gone just 12-15 versus conference

opponents on the road over the previous three seasons and must

overcome what is sure to be a spirited crowd at the Bob Devaney

Sports Center.

“The first (Big Ten) game you have is at a place where you

haven’t been, so it’s just like a non-conference game basically,”

Ryan said.

“Kind of unfamiliar with the team. It’s not like you have past

scouting reports. It’s not like you have information on players

from year to year, so we are going to have to learn in a hurry and

they’ve got to do the same for us. So it is what it is, we play 18

of them. We might as well start in Lincoln.”

The Huskers (8-3) are sure to have their hands full versus a

Badgers team holding opponents to 44.7 points per game and 33.5

percent from the field – both marks are best in the nation.

Nebraska, which went 7-9 in its final season of Big 12 play in

2010-11, could be shorthanded. It’s unknown if center Jorge Brian

Diaz (foot) and junior college transfer Dylan Talley (thigh bruise)

will be available after each missed the last two contests.

While Talley is averaging 9.1 points off the bench, Diaz ranks

second on the team with 10.9 per game and second in the league with

23 blocks. His absence could be a major problem considering

Wisconsin’s top scorer is 6-foot-10 Jared Berggren, averaging 15.0

points in the last three games.

Bo Spencer continues to pace Nebraska with team-best averages of

16.0 points and 4.3 assists, and fellow senior guard Toney McCray

has come up big while starting for the injured Diaz. Coach Doc

Sadler has gone with a four-guard starting lineup with his big man


After posting a season-high 20 points in a 60-46 win over Alcorn

State on Dec. 17, McCray scored 11 and had a team-high eight

rebounds during last Tuesday’s 72-69 victory over Central Michigan.

All five starters scored in double figures as Nebraska notched its

season-best fourth straight win.

The Huskers are facing a Top 25 opponent for the first time this

season after winning three of four home matchups versus ranked foes

in 2010-11, most notably upsetting then-No. 3 Texas 70-67 on Feb.