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Penn State Opponent Preview: Wisconsin

How They Are Doing So Far:

Wisconsin started off strong this season, nabbing wins against Xavier, Stanford and Oklahoma to start the year 5-0. After a tight loss to Virginia, the Badgers kept the quality wins coming against North Carolina State, Iowa and Rutgers. Then came a loss to Marquette, which is not a bad loss at all. But some chinks in the armor were shown and a couple games later the Badgers fell in a tough game at Western Kentucky. That was a no win situation for Wisconsin on the road. If they won, everybody would say that should have won. But now everybody views it as a bad loss, but it really is not as bad as it appears. However, Wisconsin did follow that up with a home loss to Minnesota.

 

Last Time Out:

The Badgers scored just 52 points against the Golden Gophers. Even for the Badgers that is a low total. This is a Wisconsin team that has just become very beatable and that is good news for a Penn State team looking for a big win. Ethan Happ led the way against Minnesota, scoring a team high 17 points and adding eight rebounds. Nate Reuvers added a dozen points and five rebounds, but shot just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. In total, the Badgers hit just five of their 22 attempts from three-point territory. They did not do themselves any favors by hitting 7-of-17 free-throws.

 

Who To Watch:

If Penn State can contain Ethan Happ, they can beat Wisconsin. That is easier said than done though. The 6-10 senior is one of the best players in the Big Ten and is averaging 19.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.3 blocks. Happ started the season off with a triple-double against Coppin State. Since then he has never failed to reach double digits in the scoring column and more often than not reaches that plateau in the rebounding category as well. Happ can carry this team a long way, but he needs help.

 

Who Else To Watch:

D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison are the usual candidates to add a little more scoring to the Wisconsin team. Trice averages a healthy 14.9 points per game, but the Badgers struggle when Trice does not score. All four of Wisconsin’s losses have come in the four games when Trice failed to score at least a dozen points. That is a very telling statistic. Davison has been extremely inconsistent, but he did have a great game against Western Kentucky when he dropped 26 points on the Hilltoppers.

 

Prediction:

Penn State has proven that they can hang around against more talented opposition. Even losing by 13 to at Michigan is not that bad. And Wisconsin rarely blows out anybody, so expect the Nittany Lions to keep this contest close. And with their recent struggles, this is the time to face the Badgers. If Penn State can keep this close to the end, they can have a great opportunity to pull off a big upset.

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