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March 7, 2014
UW prepares for Nebraska
MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Badgers (25-5, 12-5) returned to the practice court Friday after taking a day off following their 76-70 victory Wednesday night over Purdue.
On Sunday, the Badgers will wrap up their regular season when they travel to Pinnacle Bank Arena to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers (18-11, 10-7).
Nebraska is an impressive 14-1 at home this season, including a 7-1 mark in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, who will go for his 700th career victory on Sunday, was as hands-on as he's been in a practice all season. Ryan placed a specific emphasis on defending the numerous screens and dribble hand-offs involved in the Cornhuskers' offense.
A staple of Ryan's coaching philosophy, the fundamentals of going over a screen were stressed in practice. While Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson properly went over the screens set by the scout team by stepping over it and turning their body to "get skinny," Sam Dekker used his chest to get around the screen.
"Don't do a little dance," Ryan said during practice regarding getting around a screen.
During the ensuing water break, Ryan demonstrated the proper way to go around a screen to his starting five.
Making sure his players go over ball screens is important to Ryan not because the Cornhuskers make a lot of three-pointers but because they take a lot of them. Over the past six games, Nebraska is shooting an average of 19 three-pointers per game, making just 29.5 percent (33-for-112).
"They've had very good shooters who have struggled," associate head coach Greg Gard said of Nebraska's shooting struggles. "If you give them a little confidence, then the more difficult shots become easier. We want to try and eliminate as much confidence as possible."
For his part, Ryan is treating the Cornhuskers as one of the hottest teams in the nation.
"Remember, they'll pull it at any time," Ryan said during practice.
Jordan Hill continued to impress on the offensive end of the floor. With Josh Gasser guarding him, Hill scored on five-straight possessions at one point - using crossovers, step-backs and deep three-pointers to get his points.
"Don't hurt 'em Jordan," Ryan said when Hill drained a three-pointer from the right wing with Gasser's hand in his face.
Frank Kaminsky got poked in the eye after getting his shot rejected at the rim by Vitto Brown. Kaminsky went off to the sidelines and was visibly upset. He returned to practice with the eye not appearing to cause any problems.
Riley Dearring (knee) was back on the practice court for the Badgers, wearing a knee brace.
For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow Zack on Twitter.