Wisconsin-Milwaukee Preview

Wisconsin-Milwaukee Preview

Published Dec. 9, 2014 11:36 a.m. ET

Wisconsin struggled to beat an in-state rival in its last time out, but that's not usually the case when it faces Milwaukee.

The No. 5 Badgers look to bounce back from their worst offensive showing of the season and continue their dominance of the Panthers on Wednesday night.

Wisconsin (8-1) is among the best defensive teams in the nation, allowing an average of 52.4 points and 39.1 percent shooting from the floor. However, the Badgers needed their best defensive effort of the season Saturday in a 49-38 win at Marquette, limiting the Golden Eagles to 28.9 percent shooting to offset their own 32.7 percent effort.

"Playground days. You want to stay on the playground. You've got to figure out a way to beat the other team," coach Bo Ryan said. "I love playing in those kinds of games."


Ryan, though, wouldn't mind a more favorable matchup. He's about to get it against Milwaukee (4-5), which has lost five straight meetings to ranked opponents by an average of 15.0 points.

The Badgers are 30-1 all-time against the Panthers, winning the last 21 matchups by an average of 17.1 points. They had little trouble extending that run last season, beating the Panthers 78-52 on Dec. 11 as Frank Kaminsky had 16 points and Traevon Jackson added 12.

Heading east on I-94 for the second time in four days shouldn't pose much of a problem since Wisconsin has won all 10 visits to Milwaukee.

Getting forward Nigel Hayes back on track should help keep that record perfect. The forward is second on the team with 11.6 points per game, but he was held to five while shooting 2 of 8 on Saturday. That came three days after the sophomore forward had a season-low four points on 1-of-5 shooting in an 80-70 loss to then-No. 4 Duke.

He was averaging 14.8 points over the previous six games.

Jackson is looking for a bounce-back performance of his own. The senior guard had seven against Marquette after pouring in a career-high 25 versus the Blue Devils.

Like the Badgers, the Panthers are coming off one of their worst offensive showings of the season, shooting 37.5 percent from the floor and going 4 of 23 from beyond the arc in Sunday's 83-61 loss at DePaul.

"We are going to be a team that has its ups and down this year," said coach Rob Jeter, an assistant under Ryan at Wisconsin from 2001-05. "I was pleased with 11 assists and 11 turnovers."

Steve McWhorter leads Milwaukee with 16.2 points per game and is the only player on the Panthers averaging in double digits. The senior guard was held to four points at Wisconsin last December, while the frontcourt combined for 37.

Matt Tiby finished with 11 points and six turnovers in that meeting, struggling to deal with the 7-foot Kaminsky.

Wisconsin's 60-54 victory in its last visit to Milwaukee on Dec. 13, 2011, is the only game in the last eight between the teams decided by single digits.