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MBB Preview: Badgers battle Temple on the road

After Wisconsin escaped the Bryce Jordan Center Monday with a narrow victory, the Badgers hope to keep their momentum against Temple on Wednesday night. 

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Temple Athletics

Wisconsin's (4-5, 1-1) game against Temple (4-2,0-0) Wednesday evening marks the program's third game, third city and third opportunity to make a statement over the last five days.

Game information and team previews are below:

Game: Dec. 6, 2017 at the Liacouras Center

Time: 6:00 p.m. CDT

Watch: ESPNU

Listen: BadgerSports Network (iHeartRadio)

Follow Online: The Badgers' Den

Twitter: @Badger_Blitz, @McNamaraRivals, @JohnVeldhuis and @realJ_Mills


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Owls' Pre-Game Notes:

Temple finally hosts its home opener against the Badgers on Wednesday night and will play at home for the foreseeable future, with five of the team's six upcoming games in front of a home crowd.

A game back in front of the Temple faithful could be extremely beneficial for the Owls, who are 0-2 away from the Liacouras Center but are undefeated (4-0) at neutral sites.

Last week, the Owls defeated South Carolina by 16 points at Madison Square Garden but fell to George Washington, 61-76, just three days later. Despite boasting a .500 record for the week, head coach Fran Dunphy acknowledges there is plenty of room for improvement.

"I hope that we respect every team that we play, and I hope that we respect each other," Dunphy said after the team's loss to GW. "I think sometimes we think we can do it on our own."

One Owl , however, that is performing well is sophomore guard Quinten Rose. On Wednesday, Rose is the player the streaky UW defense must hone in on because he is currently the team's leading scorer (av. 19 ppg) and amidst an impressive scoring display (scored 20 or more points in four of six games).

Yet, Rose's offensive production is not the sole contributor towards Temple's 4-2 record. In fact, the 2017-18 Temple defense has kept the Owls flying high and opponents are averaging just 69.5 ppg while recording 12.8 turnovers/game.

But, if the Wisconsin offense can generate scoring runs similar to its performance against Penn State, they could put the Owls down early, just like George Washington did last week.

“The critical issue is we dug ourselves such a hole in the first half that we were in scramble mode,” Dunphy said after the GW game. “That doesn’t bode well.”

Against the Badgers, Dunphy should focus on limiting the ball movement from the perimeter. Currently, teams are shooting just 31 percent from three and as of recent, UW hasn't looked the strongest from behind the arc. But, UW holds a well-known weapon, otherwise known as junior center Ethan Happ, who can pick teams apart if the ball is passed to him down low.

Thus, perhaps emphasizing ball-side defense and maintaining communication while keeping an eye on Happ could work in Temple's favor.

Badgers' Pre-Game Notes:

Sophomore point guard D'Mitrik Trice didn't record the best numbers against Penn State on Monday (9 points, 2-9 FG and 0-2 3pt) but he did not appear to be too disappointed in his individual stat line.

As any leader does, Trice was more focused on the team's accomplishment.

“Oh, yeah, we needed this one bad,” Trice said after the win against PSU. “I think this team really, really needed this.”

Indeed, Wisconsin's first conference win was a step forward for the young group. There were many positives to take away from the win, but some glaring issues continue to reoccur.

One positive takeaway was the showing from junior guard Khalil Iverson, who recorded 16 points against the Nittany Lions. After scoring zero points against Ohio State and Virginia, Iverson posted a season-high in points, raising his average to 7.3 points per game on the year.

However, one alarming observation is that 14 of Iverson's 16 points came during the first half. This year, Iverson has shown a tendency to go through cold spells on offense. Thus, if he maintains a consistency on offense, he can lessen the workload for players such as Happ and Trice.

Besides the upperclassmen, the feel-good story of the 2017-18 Badgers is the impressive contributions from the freshmen players. Every passing day, Greg Gard's decision to play the lengthy power forward Nate Reuvers (career-high 11 points against Penn State) seems like it a solid one.

Projected Starting Five
Position Wisconsin  Temple

PG

D'Mitrike Trice (SO)

Josh Brown (SR)

SG

Brad Davison (FR)

Shizz Alston Jr. (JR)

SF

Khalil Iverson (JR)

Quinton Rose (SO)

PF

Aleem Ford (FR)

Obi Enechionyia (SR)

C

Ethan Happ (C)

Ernest Aflakpui (JR)

Coach's Corner

Temple: Head coach Fran Dunphy boasts a 234-138 record in 12 seasons as the head coach of the Temple MBB program.

Wisconsin: Greg Gard took over for former head coach Bo Ryan four games after the Badgers last played Temple in 2015.

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