November 18, 2008

Breakdown: Wisconsin vs SIU-Edwardsville

MADISON, Wis. - After opening its season just two days ago, the Wisconsin men's basketball team welcome's D-1 newcomer Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville to the Kohl Center tonight. The game will be the first of four games the Badgers will play over the course of the next six days.

The following is a breakdown of tonight's game against the Cougars before UW takes flight to the Virgin Islands for the annual Paradise Jam Tournament:

Guard Trevon Hughes vs. guard Barry Wellington

-Hughes struggled in the season opener against Long Beach State where he only managed to score six points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field. However, unlike the early stages of last season, Hughes connected on all four of his free throw attempts. He remains a diabolical offensive threat for opposing teams, but his decision-making and impressive play from freshman Jordan Taylor led to shared minutes in the first game.

-Wellington has paced the Cougars starters in scoring with 13.7 points per game over its first three contests of the season. SIU-E has lost two games by a combined nine points, but is fresh off a win over Western Michigan where the junior chipped in 12 points.

Advantage: Hughes

Guard Jason Bohannon vs. guard Aamir McCleary

-Bohannon did not display any hesitation when it came to shooting Sunday afternoon against the 49ers. He finished the game shooting 30 percent from the floor after a 3-for-10 performance, including 2-for-7 from distance. Still, Bohannon needs to be guarded well or he will become damaging to the opponents chances at success.

-McCleary has averaged 12 points a game during his team's run in the Charleston Classic last weekend. He has a scoring knack, but his defense must be stellar to keep Bohannon from getting open looks on the perimeter.

Advantage: Bohannon

Forward Joe Krabbenhoft vs. guard John Edminson

-Krabbenhoft drew a tough match-up against LBSU's premier scorer on Sunday and held him nearly 10 points shy of his average a season ago. The Badger senior also added seven points, six rebounds and three assists. Again, he will draw the task of defending a guard, but Edminson, who stands 6-foot-5, will be a better match-up.

-Edminson has been quiet on the scoring front so far this season averaging only five points per game. With Krabbenhoft, arguably Wisconsin's best defender, on him, it may be another long night for the only senior Cougars starter.

Advantage: Krabbenhoft

Forward Keaton Nankivil vs. forward Denykco Bowles

-Nankivil started his first career game at the collegiate level against LBSU. He looked somewhat tentative, but managed to chip in six points in the nail biter against the 49ers. Look for the hometown sophomore to exert his presence in the post more as his match-up is a bit more favorable.

-The 6-foot-7 junior Bowles will have the task at guarding one of UW's more dynamic post players. Because Bowles has not been a major offensive threat over his team's first three games, his defense on Nankivil will determine how many minutes he will play.

Advantage: Nankivil

Forward Marcus Landry vs. center Nikola Bundalo

-Landry was dominant on both sides of the floor in the Badgers season opener on Sunday. He scored 23 points, a career high, and hit a clutch three-pointer with 30 seconds left to boost UW's lead to four. Landry will have his solid post defense tested against the 6-foot-10 Bundalo.

-Bundalo has averaged eight points per game so far over the teams first three games with a season high 16 point performance in SIU-E's win over Western Michigan. It seems Landry will have an opportunity for another big game due to his ability to play out of the post as well as he plays in it.

Advantage: Landry

Wisconsin bench vs. SIU-E bench

-UW head coach Bo Ryan played nine players in the season opener, and all four saw action in the first half. Tim Jarmusz logged the most minutes of any Badger reserve with 19 minutes. Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer each had 15 minutes of play and Robert Wilson played six.

Of those four reserves, Leuer had the biggest scoring impact with seven points. Taylor, spelled Hughes a few times during the game and showed his propensity of running the offense. Look for a similar rotation tonight, especially in the early stages. Should the game get out of hand, there will be a longer participation report.

-Funny enough, the Cougars best offensive scorer over its first three games has come from the bench. Freshman Mark Yelovich has averaged 15.7 points per game and a team high 5.7 rebounds per game. Expect to see him and his 6-foot-5 frame early and often in the game.

It seems head coach Lennox Forrester is set on playing a nine-man rotation with Yelovich first off the bench followed by guard Aaron Garriott, 7-foot center Terrance Williams and guard Kevin Stineman.

Advantage: Wisconsin

Bo Ryan vs. Lennox Forrester

-In general, Ryan has been nearly unbeatable from the confines of the Kohl Center. Meanwhile, Forrester leads a team that is in its first season of a complete D-1 schedule. Ryan holds the experience, has the home-court advantage, and better players.

Lea's prediction:

-The game may stay close for the first couple of minutes, but UW's discipline and overall talent will shine through against a very young team and result in a 76-52 rout of the Cougars.

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