Tomorrow evening, one of the greatest in-state rivalries in college basketball will take place. The Wisconsin Badgers will travel to Milwaukee to play the Marquette Golden Eagles in what will be the 119th matchup between the two universities.
Marquette provides a very tough road environment for the Badgers to compete in. Wisconsin will have to be mentally and physically tough in this match up. Experience has helped them knock Marquette off in the past, but that is something the Badgers cannot rely on this year.
Senior leader for the Badgers, Mike Bruesewitz sat out of practice today due to whiplash from a collision at Thursday’s practice. His status for the game is unknown right now, but this would be a major loss of Wisconsin.
Bruesewitz may not be a leading scorer, but he does the little things right like dive after balls, get tips on rebounds and communicate to younger players. He is the glue for the Badgers and without him on the court, the younger players will have to step up.
Last year, the Golden Eagles won the matchup in Madison, outscoring Wisconsin 61-54. The Badgers had trouble keeping Marquette out of the paint, giving up a season high 61 points to them.
That task may be easier this year for Wisconsin with senior Jared Berggren. Berggren has been a force inside the paint this year and will make it challenging for Marquette to get easy buckets near the rim.
Wisconsin is coming off of a great team win against Nebraska-Omaha where they had five players score in double figures and held their opponent to just 46 points.
This will give them some confidence going into this rivalry game. If Wisconsin wants a chance at beating Marquette, they are going to need depth on both offensive and defensive.
Marquette is extremely athletic and Wisconsin stands no chance at playing at their tempo. Wisconsin must find a way to contain Marquette in the full court and make them score in a half court game.
Hopefully Wisconsin has improved at defending dribble penetration since their contest with Arkansas, where they struggled to keep the Razorbacks out of the paint.
This will be a good test for both teams. Wisconsin will have to play very well and stick to Bo Ryan’s fundamental system if they want to leave the Bradley Center with a win on Saturday.