Badger Hoops Preview: Bucky Hosts Last In-State Rival

The Badgers (7-4) are back at the Kohl Center Saturday to take on the Panthers of UW Milwaukee (3-9) in the last of Wisconsin's games against in state rivals. For those not venturing to West Dayton Street tonight, the game can be seen on Big Ten Network. Tip off is at 8:15 CT.traevon_jackson_exhibition_large_medium.png

There's no question the Badgers have struggled in the consistency department this season, losing a handful of games in which they looked a baby deer struggling to gain its footing on a patch of slippery ice (that should get you into the Christmas spirit!).  They're going to have to figure it sooner then later, and hopefully it's sooner. 

After 10 days of rest and finals out of the way, can the Badgers finally shake off their offensive woes and gain some momentum flying towards the Big Ten season?

The Opposition

In 1992, the Panthers traveled to Madison and stunned the Badgers at the Field House with a 77-72 victory. UWM hasn't beaten Bucky since. The Badgers hold a 19 game win streak over Milwaukee. 

The Panthers are coached by one of Bo Ryan's most highly  touted assistants, Rob Jeter. Before taking the UWM job, Jeter spent four years as the associative head coach of Wisconsin. In his 8 year stint at Milwaukee, Jeter holds a 124-112 record and has two Horizon League championships.

more after the jump!

 

Most Milwaukee fans did not have huge expectations for this years' team, as they lost three key contributors to graduation and three of their guards from last years' rotation transferred away. The Horizon League Coaches Poll slated the Panthers to finish 6th out of the 9 teams in the conference.

Milwaukee has started off to a not so surprising low start with a 3-9 record. The Panthers are currently on a 3 game losing streak, and they've dropped 8 of their last 9 games. They are 0-5 on the road thus far.

There's really one word to describe Milwaukee's offense this year: horrendous. In fact, their 36.6% field goal percentage on the year ranks 8th last in division one basketball. Yikes! Like the Badgers, they've struggled to find consistency in any way, and it's really just been disastrous for them.

Key Matchup

The leading scorer for the Panthers is 5'10" JUCO transfer, guard Jordan Aaron. Yes, a Junior College transfer is UWM's most consistent offensive option. That just shows you how insane of a year it's been for them.

Aaron actually has a pretty solid outside game though, with the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. He's also a good in catch and shoot situations. He's also made 26 three point shots this year. Aaron is a pretty solid scorer, and he showed his offensive potential in a loss against South Carolina, where he scored 28 points on 37% shooting, including 7 made threes. 

While Aaron is an offensive threat, expect Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson to key him in and shut him down. I don't expect him to get more then 10 points in this game.

Prediction 

There's really no way I see Wisconsin losing this game. UWM is just that bad. It could be close if Wisconsin continues its offensive struggles, but in the end they are a far better team and are going to show that tonight. Wisconsin takes advantage of their 10 days of rest, comes out swinging, and makes this one ugly.

Score: Wisconsin 76, UWM 42

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