Michigan vs Wisconsin Basketball Preview

The 7th Ranked Michigan Men’s Basketball team will host #19 Wisconsin Saturday at sold-out Crisler Center at 12;00. This showdown is a rematch of the prior game played in Madison where the Badger’s handed the Wolverines their first loss of the season 64-54. The first place Wolverines are coming off a Tuesday win at Rutgers and Wisconsin defeated the Minnesota Gophers to keep the Badger win streak at 6 for the year and in 3rd place in the Big Ten tied with Michigan State.

The Badgers are having a great year from redshirt senior forward Ethan Happ who powered the Badger victory against Michigan with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists in the first game. Redshirt sophomore guard D’Mitrik Trice and sophomore guard Brad Davison are also giving the Badgers outside game a power boost with double-digit games over the win streak. With the guard production pickup for the Badgers, the three-point game has been a huge bonus for Wisconsin as they lead the Big Ten in 3 point shooting with a 39.7 average compared to Michigan at 30%.

Both teams will adjust to each other’s defensive play as Michigan is always strongly leading the Big Ten is team defense and is ranked 2 in the country with a 57.3 opponent ave, while Wisconsin is second in the Big Ten with a 61.0 average and that is 8th in the country. Neither team is giving up the ball on turnovers with the Wolverines averaging 9.3 however Wisconsin has only committed only two less than Michigan.

Keys for Michigan are the usual cast of players in Zavier Simpson who has come into his own after the triple-double averaging 11.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game. Jon Teske will give Ethan Happ a problem with Teske able to draw Happ away from the basket making the Badgers not as effective on the boards. Teske also will provide defense on Happ in that he is leading the Big Ten in blocked shots with 2.2 per game.

Two players who did not fare well in the first game will have the friendly crowd support of Crisler and senior forward Charles Matthews is getting the scoring touch back. Against Rutgers Matthews was going to the basket with success and pulled key rebounds and steals. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis has rekindled the flame for scoring as his team-leading scoring average of 15.5 points per game is scoring about 50 % from long range. The real plus for the Wolverines is that with Brazdeikis being hot, did not score a single point against Wisconsin in the first game and you will not see a repeat.

Michigan leads the series 94-72 over the Badgers and even with John Beilein’s 5-17 record against the Badgers, the Wolverines play very well in Ann Arbor with a 57-22 win total against Wisconsin. The game will be on Fox TV at 12:00.