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Badgers Hoops Preview: Cancun Challenge trip opens with St. Louis

The Matchup: No. 10/11 Wisconsin (6-0) vs. St. Louis Bilikens (5-0)

When: Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7:30pm CT

Where: Riviera Maya, Mexico (Hard Rock Riviera Maya)

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: Badgers Radio Network 

All-Time Series: Tied 2-2

Last Meeting: 73-68 St. Louis win (1989 NIT) 

The Opposition: 

St. Louis is one of the top teams in the Atlantic-10 Conference and a very intriguing matchup for the Badgers. They come in undefeated in five games, facing both Oral Roberts and Bowling Green at home as part of the opening rounds of the Cancun Challenge. 

They handled both teams in impressive fashion, beating ORU 72-55 and taking down Bowling Green 74-47. 

The Bilikens have a very balanced attack offensively and play well inside-out, just like Wisconsin. Senior forward Dwayne Evans (13.6ppg) leads the Bilikens in scoring, but he isn't alone in the double figures department. Fellow seniors Mike McCall, Jr. and Jordair Jett are both big threats to score as well. 

Don't think this team can't win, as they are receiving votes in both the AP and Coaches Poll this week. They are coming off a sweep of the regular season and tournament championships in the A-10 last season as well. This could be the stiffest test the Badgers have had this season. 

Key to the Game: 
Wisconsin actually may have the height and physical advantage in this game as both SLU guards are just 6-0 and 6-1 respectively, while star forward Dwayne Evans is just 6-6. However, the Bilikens can be a very speedy team and so far this season, they've also managed to play some stingy defense. 

If the Badgers are to win this game they have to find a way to slow the game down a bit at times and make sure they handle their business on the boards. SLU comes in averaging 38 rebounds, while Wisconsin averages just 32.3. Look for Josh Gasser to have a big time game on the glass for the Badgers, thanks to his height advantage over the other guards. 

Prediction: Wisconsin 78, St. Louis 74
This has a feeling of a trap game, mainly because not many fans are paying attention to St. Louis this early in the season. They are a quality opponent, but in the end I think as long as Wisconsin rebounds well and shoots well from outside they can and will handle anything the Bilikens throw at them. However, look for a late run to make this one way closer than it should've been—the Bilikens are just too good to be blown out. 

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com

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