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November 27, 2013

Preview: No. 10 UW vs West Virginia





MADISON, Wis. - The No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers (7-0) got back to their defensive roots in Tuesday night's 63-57 victory over the Saint Louis Billikens (5-1). In order to continue their hot start to the season, the Badgers are going to need an equally as impressive performance on the defensive end when they take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1) Wednesday night in the Cancun Challenge final.

"Today was a lot better," Wisconsin red shirt junior guard Josh Gasser said of the team's defensive performance after the game on Tuesday night. "We showed a lot more effort, a lot more talk out there and that's what you need against a team like this."

The Badgers held the Billikens to just 32.8 percent shooting from the field - 4-for-15 from 3-point - in Tuesday night's victory. Wisconsin has now given up an average of just 55 points to its two toughest opponents (Florida and Saint Louis) compared to surrendering 71.4 points per game in its other five contests.

While the Billikens are an admirable opponent, the high-flying offense that the West Virginia Mountaineers is unlike anything Bo Ryan's squad has seen so far this season. Averaging 87.0 points per game and shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from 3-point range, the Mountaineers are led by Eron Harris and his 20.2 points per game. Harris has hit 17-of-34 from beyond the arc this season and has scored 19 points in his two previous outings on 14-of-25 shooting, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range.

Stopping opposing guards from scoring has been a problem area for the Badgers are they allowed a five opposing players to score 20 or more points in their first six games this season.

West Virginia's backcourt also includes the nation's fifth-highest assist leader, junior guard Juwan Staten, who averages 7.6 assists per game. Staten has 47 assists to just five turnovers on the season.

Game Info

When and Where: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Cancun

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: 1310 AM, 101.5 FM

WISCONSIN BADGERS (7-0)

Coach: Bo Ryan, 298-113 in his 13th season at Wisconsin.

Probable starters (height, year, ppg.)

1 Ben Brust 6-1 Sr. 11.0

12 Traevon Jackson 6-2 Jr. 12.3

15 Sam Dekker 6-7 So. 13.7

21 Josh Gasser 6-3 Jr. 10.3

44 Frank Kaminsky 7-0 Jr. 16.6

Key reserves (height, year, ppg.)

10 Nigel Hayes 6-7 Fr. 4.9

13 Duje Dukan 6-9 Jr. 4.9

24 Bronson Koenig 6-3 Fr. 4.2

Quick hits: The Badgers are 7-0 for the first time since the 1993-94 season when they began the season 11-0…Each of Wisconsin's five starters has lead the team in scoring in at least one game this season…Wisconsin is 2-1 all-time vs. West Virginia with the last meeting coming in a 69-62 Badgers victory on December 19, 1973.

West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1)

Coach: Bob Huggins, 120-56 in his seventh season at West Virginia

Probable starters (height, year, ppg.)

3 Juwan Staten 6-1 Sr. 18.2

5 Devin Williams 6-9 Fr. 11.7

10 Eron Harris 6-3 So. 20.2

11 Nathan Adrian 6-9 Fr. 6.5

34 Kevin Noreen 6-10 Jr. 2.8

Key reserves (height, year, ppg.)

0 Remi Dibo 6-7 Jr. 9.2

14 Gary Browne 6-1 Jr. 7.8

15 Terry Henderson 6-4 So. 9.4

Quick hits: Eron Harris, a former Wisconsin target, had 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting - including 3-of-5 from 3-point range - in the Mountaineer's 78-60 semifinal victory over Old Dominion on Tuesday…Bob Huggins is 715-268 (.727) in 29 years as a head coach at Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State and West Virginia…West Virginia has scored at least 77 points in every game after doing so only three times last season.

Why you should worry: West Virginia pushes the ball at an alarming rate (71.9 possessions per game) but they take care of the ball extremely well. Heading into Wednesday night's matchup, the Mountaineers are 19th in the country in turnover percentage.

Why you shouldn't worry: The Mountaineers faced off against Old Dominion's three-guard lineup on Tuesday night and lost the rebounding battle, 35-28, while conceding 16 offensive rebounds.

For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow Zack on Twitter.



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