Virginia (4-2) at Wisconsin (4-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 28, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kohl Center (17,249) -- Madison, Wisconsin. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Virginia 4-1, Wisconsin 3-0. Away Record: Virginia 0-1, Wisconsin 0-1. Neutral Record: Virginia 0-0, Wisconsin 1-1. Conference Record: Virginia 0-0, Wisconsin 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Cavaliers hit the road for the first time since their season opener, as they square off against the Wisconsin Badgers on Wednesday night as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Virginia opened its season on the road with a 63-59 loss at George Mason before diving into five straight home games as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Cavaliers dropped to the consolation bracket following a 59-53 loss to Delaware, where they have piled up three straight wins since over the likes of Seattle (83-43), Lamar (63-44) and North Texas (80-64).
Wisconsin began the year ranked in the Top-25, but it has since dropped out of the rankings following losses to ranked foes Florida (74-56) and Creighton (84-74). The Badgers recently claimed third-place in the Las Vegas Invitational by defeating Arkansas, 77-70
These teams have met just twice before with each side coming away with a win. The last meeting came in 1999, which Wisconsin won, 66-56.
Virginia has played balanced basketball at both ends of the court by shooting 45.2 percent from the field while holding its opponents to 37.2 percent, outscoring the opposition by more than 12 ppg in the process. Its latest win over North Texas was one of its best offensive performances as the team drained 58.7 percent of its field goal attempts, including a lofty 8-of-11 from three-point range. Five Cavaliers finished in double figures, with Evan Nolte (13 points) and Joe Harris (12 points) combining to shoot 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. On the season, Harris tallies 15.0 ppg and he has been deadly from long range, making 14-of-27 of his three-point attempts (.519). Akil Mitchell has been a space-eater in the frontcourt with 11.7 ppg and a team- high 9.3 ppg. Although no other player averages double figures, five of them net between 6.5 and 7.7 ppg.
Wisconsin has been inconsistent this season, especially at the defensive end where it has allowed fewer than 50 points on three occasions while giving up 70 or more points three times. For the first time this season, the Badgers were able to win while allowing 70 points against Arkansas by cashing in from beyond the three-point line (8-of-19) and from the charity stripe (25-of-38). The team had five players score in double figures in the victory, paced by Sam Dekker, who shot 7-of-13 from the field for 19 points off the bench. On the season, Wisconsin incorporates a balanced offensive attack, led by Jared Berggren's 15.2 ppg on greater than 55 percent from the floor. Ben Brust (11.8 ppg) hasn't been as productive with his field goal attempts (.397), but he is the team's best rebounder with 8.5 per contest. Dekker (11.5 ppg) has been solid as the club's sixth man, and Ryan Evans (10.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg) rounds out a physical frontcourt.
Both teams like to slow the pace down and rely on stout defensive play, so points could be at a premium in this one. Wisconsin not only has the home- court advantage, but it possesses more depth in the frontcourt and a more balanced scoring attack, giving the Badgers the edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 60, Virginia 52
11/28 10:34:52 ET