The Marquette Golden Eagles are looking to pull off a major upset in Madison Saturday as they take on the Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center. Marquette has gotten off to a sluggish 5-3 record, whereas the Badgers are off to a hot start with a 9-0 record.
No doubt the Kohl Center will be hot as the weather outside continues to be bitterly cold. This is a great rivalry game and one that no matter how well or poorly the two teams are, you can throw the records out the window when these two square off.
Wisconsin comes into the game with a solid balanced scoring attack. All five starters are averaging double figures in scoring, led by Frank Kaminsky who has scored 15 points per game. For the Badgers to come away with a victory Saturday, they will need another balanced attack. I also believe that Kaminsky, as well as sophomore Sam Dekker (13.8 ppg), will be huge factors in the game.
Defense will also have to step up as well. While only holding Virginia to 38 points in their last game, Wisconsin hasn’t always been up to par on the defensive end of the floor. It hasn’t been horrible, but something head coach Bo Ryan has been and will continue to preach heading into this game.
For Marquette to have a chance they must try to hold the Badgers to a low shooting percentage, something Virginia was able to do Wednesday holding Wisconsin to only shoot 28.8% from the floor. With their stifling defense, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. The Golden Eagles have held opponents thus far to 63 points per game (34th in the nation) and 38.6% shooting, good enough for 33rd in the country.
Led by senior Davante Gardner, who is averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds per game, Marquette will look to get off to a hot start and cool off the Badgers and play their own style of game. Gardner, Jamil Wilson (10.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Derrick Wilson (5.5 ppg, 4.3 apg) will all be major players in trying to upset the Badgers on their home court.
Some say this rivalry has lost its luster for whatever reason this year. I disagree. Marquette has won the last two meeting against the Badgers and are looking to pull off the huge upset on Saturday. Wisconsin is looking to continue to roll and jump to one of the best starts in school history, not to mention reclaim bragging rights in the state. I’d say this game has plenty of story lines to keep this a great rivalry.