As the calendar hits the week of Thanksgiving, it means early-season tournaments are ramping up for Wisconsin basketball and the college basketball world. Some notable late November tournaments include Battle for Atlantis and the Maui Invitational. The Badgers are a part of the 2021 Maui Jim Maui Invitational field, making their first appearance this afternoon at 1:00 CST against the Texas A&M Aggies. Let’s go through a preview and some keys to victory for your Wisconsin Badgers.
Maui Invitational First Game Expectations
The Maui Invitational kicks off this afternoon at 1:00 PM CST, with the Wisconsin basketball team taking on former Marquette coach Buzz Williams and the Texas A&M Aggies. Wisconsin is coming into this matchup with a 2-1 record, most recently losing to Providence in the Gavitt Tip-Off Games. Texas A&M comes into the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas with a perfect 4-0 record, defeating Houston Baptist 73-39 on November 17th.
The Badgers rank 42nd in KenPom, while the Aggies rank 76th. What we know with both teams is that they like to slow their offenses down and rush their opponents with their defense. I think we see defense shining in this game. Neither team likes to play at a fast pace, both averaging around 66 possessions per 40 minutes, which is good for about 326th in the country.
This is a grind-it-out, defensive game that people will get to see. Hopefully, Greg Gard will open it up and allow for this team to run in transition. They are a super young team who has ball handlers who are capable to run and dish in transition. I am expecting this will be a lower-scoring game, maybe hitting the 70’s if we are lucky.
Keys to a Wisconsin Basketball Victory
The Badgers had a lot of problems containing Nate Watson of Providence last Monday night. The Badgers look to have a bit of a size advantage on the blocks today, so hopefully containing the paint is a plus this afternoon. Here is one offensive and defensive key to a Maui Invitational Quarterfinal victory.
- The guards will have to take care of the ball
- Make the Texas A&M guards uncomfortable up top
The first key to the game will be limiting turnovers for the Badgers. Texas A&M is super active defensively and will turn you over and make you pay. The Aggies turned Houston Baptist over 22 times in their late win. Even with Texas A&M’s adjusted temp rating near the bottom of college basketball, they will turn defense into offense quickly.
On the defensive side of things, the Badgers will want to hone in on their guards. Henry Coleman is a presence down low for the Aggies but I believe the size of Crowl can limit him offensively. The Aggies have a nice balance of guards, which is led by junior Tyrece Radford. Quenton Jackson and Aaron Cash are big back-court pieces off of the bench for A&M as well. With Johnny Davis playing after missing the Providence game, he should help limit the playmaking of the Aggie guards.
Coming off of a tough loss to Providence a week ago, getting into a new week, and getting Johnny Davis back for the Maui Invitational is huge for the Wisconsin basketball team. We will learn a lot about the Badgers this afternoon in their game against Texas A&M. Can the younger guys pick up the slack? Who steps up next to Davis as a consistent scorer? Certain questions will be answered for the coaching staff after the game.