Marquette-Wisconsin Preview

BY foxsports • December 2, 2011

Marquette is one of the highest scoring teams in the country. Wisconsin prefers a more methodical approach.

The ninth-ranked Badgers look to bounce back from their first loss Saturday when they host the 16th-ranked, undefeated Golden Eagles in an in-state rivalry that presents a striking contrast in styles.

Wisconsin (6-1) is trying to hold on to state bragging rights for another season, having won its last two against Marquette (6-0). The Badgers have done an effective job in recent years slowing down the Golden Eagles' guard-oriented offense, allowing less than 65 points in the last three meetings.

"It's frustrating," said Marquette sophomore guard Vander Blue, a Madison native. "You want to get up and down. ... I've watched Wisconsin pretty much my whole life and nothing's changed. That's their style and they'll try to press their will on you. Obviously they're pretty good at it."

Wisconsin is giving up a Division I-low 42.1 points per game this season, but lost 60-57 at No. 5 North Carolina on Wednesday. While the Badgers held the Tar Heels to their fewest points of the season, it was also the most Wisconsin had allowed. The Badgers didn't do themselves many favors on the offensive end, missing 20 of 28 3-point attempts.

"We've got a confident group, no matter what," said senior guard Jordan Taylor, who had a season-high 18 points but missed 8 of 11 3-pointers and shot 6 of 20 overall. "That was a game we wanted to win. I don't believe in moral victories. It's frustrating."

Taylor also had four assists, but the Badgers finished with a season-low six as a team after averaging 17.2 in their previous six games.

Wisconsin should welcome a return to Madison. The Badgers have won 19 straight nonconference home games, and have held their first four opponents at the Kohl Center this season to 34.0 points per game and 26.2 percent shooting.

They'll be hard pressed to put up those defensive numbers against Marquette, which ranks fifth in the nation at 88.0 points per game. The Golden Eagles defeated Jacksonville 88-56 on Monday.

Marquette is shooting 53.1 percent and has three players with scoring averages in double figures, led by senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom, who is averaging 19.8 points and is 14 of 30 from 3-point range.

Johnson-Odom had 19 points, four assists and five rebounds against the Dolphins while senior forward Jae Crowder had a season-high 27 points.

"I feel like we're ready," Crowder said. "I think we're a step ahead of where we were last year going into this game. We'll be ready for it."

The Golden Eagles are looking to start 7-0 for the first time since 2006-07, when they won their first eight games. However, they've lost five of their last six visits to Madison.

Wisconsin defeated Marquette 69-64 last December in Milwaukee, led by 21 points from Taylor. Four of the last five meetings in the series have been decided by five points or fewer.

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