2008-09 Basketball Game Preview: Wisconsin

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There is no such thing as a must-win game this early in the season. However,
having missed out on two quality wins against Xavier and Seton Hall in Puerto
Rico, the Hokies need to get something done against a good team in their
out-of-conference schedule. They’ll have their chance on Monday night, when
Wisconsin visits Cassell Coliseum in the first game of the Big Ten/ACC
Challenge.

Wisconsin is a Big Ten basketball power. They won the Big Ten tournament last
year, and are a perennial NCAA tournament team. They are 5-1 on the season thus
far, with their lone loss coming to #2 UConn 76-57 in the Paradise Jam. The
Badgers are a good team, and though they don’t blow a lot of teams out, it’s
because of the slow down, low scoring Big Ten style of basketball.


Wisconsin Starting Lineup

Pos

Player

Ht

Wt

Year

PPG

RPG

Assists

G

Trevon Hughes

6-0
193
Jr.
14.2 3.3 12

G

Jason Bohannon

6-2
198
Jr.
9.5 3.5 9

F

Joe Krabbenhoft

6-7
219
Sr.
6.8 6.5 18

F

Marcus Landry

6-7
230
Sr.
12.5 4.7 8

F

Keaton Nankivil

6-8
240
So.
5.3 4 3

The Badgers have an experienced starting lineup that is led by forward Marcus
Landry. Landry is perhaps the best all around player on Wisconsin’s team. He was
the MVP of last year’s Big Ten Tournament. So far this year, he is averaging
12.5 points per game. Landry is a combo forward. He can score inside and
outside.

Wisconsin’s starting point guard is Trevon Hughes. Hughes is a very quick
player who can get to the basket, as well as shoot the ball from the outside.
For the season, he is 12-of-23 from three-point range (52.2%). He’s more of a
lead guard than a point guard. He is leading the Badgers in scoring, averaging
14.5 points per game.

Besides Hughes, Wisconsin has a number of other players who can knock down
the outside jumper. Marcus Landry is 5-of-15 (33.3%) on the year, while Jon
Leuer and Tim Jarmusz are 5-of-6 (83.3%) and 6-of-10 (60%) respectively. Leuer
ad Jarmusz are Wisconsin’s top players off the bench. The Badgers use nine
players in their rotation.

Shooting guard Jason Bohannon leads Wisconsin in three-point attempts with
33, but is shooting just 24.2% from the outside. However, he’s capable of much
better than that. He led the Badgers with 51 three-pointers last season, and
shot 44.3% from the outside over the last 16 games. Bohannon also led the
conference in free throw shooting (95.7%) in league games, and was named Big Ten
Sixth Man of the Year.

Wisconsin has a very good point forward in Joe Krabbenhoft. He’s not a big
scorer, but he does everything else well. He leads the team with 18 assists, and
he was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive team last season. Krabbenhoft is also
a very good offensive rebounder. Coming into this season, he was ninth on
Wisconsin’s all-time offensive rebounding list. He leads the Badgers in
rebounding this year, averaging 6.5 per game.

The final starter is Keaton Nankivil. He is the biggest player in Wisconsin’s
starting lineup. The Badgers don’t have a traditional Big Ten style center this
year. This is Nankivil’s first year as a starter.

On paper it doesn’t seem like Wisconsin has particularly impressive numbers.
However, that’s because they play the slow-paced, Big Ten style basketball. If
you want a comparison, think back to Tech’s first round NCAA tournament opponent
in 2007, Illinois. Both offenses are slow and methodical. This will not be an
open court game. The Hokies will have to win it in the half court.

That’s the type of game the Hokies have struggled with in the past. However,
that might be their only option tonight, as well as the entire season. With
their top two athletes from last year, Deron Washington (pros) and J.T. Thompson
(injury), the Hokies are not forcing turnovers and running the court this year.
Tech isn’t a very athletic team, and they’ll be forced to play a slow offensive
game tonight. However, that’s probably a good thing, as they haven’t shown the
ability to play a fast paced game through the first six games of the season.

This is a big game for Virginia Tech. Wisconsin is a team that stands an
excellent chance to finish in the Top 50 in the final RPI ratings. A victory
tonight would give the Hokies an out-of-conference quality win for their NCAA
tournament resume. They lacked that quality win last year, and went to the NIT
instead. At the end of the season, this could be a game that we look back on and
say it was the difference in an NCAA tournament or NIT berth.

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