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Defensive-Minded Bowling Green Team Could Cause Bucky Some Fits, Tonight

It’s just two days removed from one of the most outstanding individual performances in Badgers men’s basketball history.

And no dis-credit to junior Frank Kaminsky or his school-record scoring performance, but it’s business as usual today for Bo Ryan and the Badgers. Ryan probably summed it up best this week – it’s time to move ahead to the next opponent.

Tonight, the Badgers welcome in another unfamiliar face in the Bowling Green Falcons (1-1) who’ll be trying to rebound from their 75-61 dismantling handed down by South Florida, this past weekend. The game is the first of four that is part of the Cancun Challenge which will wrap up in Cancun, Mexico over the Thanksgiving break.

Wisconsin leads the overall series with these two teams at 2-1. The Falcons have not faced the Badgers since falling to Wisconsin 87-79 in overtime in the first round of the NIT. They also makes their first appearance in the Kohl Center after going 0-2 all-time at the UW-Fieldhouse.

Wisconsin (5-0) answered a lot of questions, Tuesday, about their offensive capability, setting a season high in points scored (103). It’s the first time since a 105-70 win over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 28, 1995, where the Badgers eclipsed the 100-point mark.

Wisconsin went deep into their bench, getting some key minutes from two freshmen in particular, with Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes.

Looking opposite the Badgers bench tonight is a back court led by Jehvon Clarke (Jr.) who matched a career high against South Florida with 17-points.

Bowling Green did a couple of things well, outscoring South Florida 19-11 in points off turnovers, and forcing the Bulls into 14 turnovers. The also converted on 19 second-chance points.

The BGSU defense has forced its opponents into a total of 39 turnovers so far this season, an average of 19.5 per game.

Looking at Wisconsin, the stress test comes in the form of consistency. They’ve shown they can score when they need to score, and get defensive stops late in games when they absolutely HAVE to have them. Can that translate long-term and become a staple of this Bo Ryan-coached team that might be younger than teams in the past? Ryan eluded to that in his post game, Tuesday.

“Especially with two freshmen out there, there were a couple screening situations that exposed lack of experience—not reading and reacting to one another. So no, we’re not quite there yet,” Ryan said.

Koenig’s offensive ability wasn’t questioned. It’s why Wisconsin recruited the La Crosse Aquinas graduate so hard throughout his prep career. But like anyone who comes into the Wisconsin system, playing Bo Ryan’s defense has to come ahead of anything.


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