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Badgers Basketball Preview: Chicago State edition

The Basics

Where: Madison, Wis.; Kohl Center
When: Thursday, Nov. 17; 7 p.m. CT
Channel: ESPN3
All-Time Series: Wisconsin leads 1-0
Last Meeting: UW won, 73-45 (Jan. 4, 2013)

Projected Starting Lineups

Chicago State Cougars (1-0)

G Glen Burns — Jr. 6-3, 205 (7.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.0 apg)
G Clemmye Owens V — Sr. 6-2, 185 (26.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg)
G Fred Sims — So. 6-4, 193 (19.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.0 apg)
G Trayvon Palmer — Sr. 6-6, 200 (9.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.0 apg)
F Deionte Simmons — Jr. 6-8, 230 (14.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.0 apg)

Wisconsin Badgers

G Bronson Koenig — Sr. 6-3, 190 (18.5 ppg, 3 rpg, .5 apg)
G Zak Showalter — Sr. 6-3, 185 (8.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 1 apg)
F Nigel Hayes — Sr. 6-8, 240 (15 ppg, 4 rpg, 5 apg)
F Vitto Brown — Sr. 6-8, 235 (3.5 ppg, 4 rpg, 0 apg)
C Ethan Happ — So. 6-10, 232 (7.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.5 apg)

Biggest Matchup: Ethan Happ vs. Deionte Simmons

In the first two games of the season, Happ attempted only nine total field goals. That’s not a typo. NINE.

While some of that is due to double-teams and foul trouble, he still needs to be much more aggressive. Happ is one of the best offensive players on the team. He needs to be much more assertive in this game in order to get back into his groove heading into the loaded Maui Invitational.

The player he is slated to go up against, Simmons, is an undersized JUCO transfer. If Happ wants to, he can take over this game. In fact, given the results on Tuesday at Creighton, the Badgers need him to be a force inside.

3 Numbers to Know

— 39: That is the number of 3-pointers Wisconsin attempted on Tuesday against Creighton. That is way too many. If the Badgers want to compete for a National Championship this year, they are going to have to get the ball inside and work for better shots. This game provides a great chance to work on that, especially considering how small the Cougars are.

— 32: That is the number of free throws Illinois Tech, a Division III school, attempted against Chicago State in their season opener. Wisconsin is much bigger, stronger, and more skilled inside than any Division III school in the country, so it will be disappointing if they can’t get to the line as much.

— 52.2: That is the percentage Chicago State hit from beyond the arc in their season opener. They hit 12/23, which is impressive regardless of competition. If Wisconsin continues to struggle to defend the 3-point line (I never though I’d have to type those words), the Cougars may be able to hang around for a little while.

Prediction

As bad as Wisconsin played on Tuesday, it was still a road game against a Top 25 team. The sky is not falling. And even if the sky was falling, they still wouldn’t lose this game. Wisconsin will have size and talent advantages at nearly every position. As long as they don’t shoot another 40 three-pointers (I know that’s a lot to ask), this game will get out of hand quickly.

Wisconsin 80, Chicago State 56