The Wisconsin Badgers will take on the Georgetown Hoyas as part of the 2K Classic in New York. Below is the Wisconsin vs. Georgetown prediction and game preview.
Wisconsin vs. Georgetown Game Preview
Date: Friday, Nov. 20
Game Time: 5 p.m. ET
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Why You Need To Care
It’s a unique matchup of two big-time programs. Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan might be calling this season his last of what’s been a very successful coaching career with 17-plus seasons put in.
His Badgers got off to a shaky start when they lost to Western Illinois, 69-67, to open the season. On the bright side, they responded with double-digit wins against Siena and North Dakota, but let’s see what happens when they take on a bigger program like Georgetown.
Wisconsin lost to Duke in the national championship game last season, but the Hoyas haven’t been past the third round of the NCAA tournament since the 2006-07 season.
John Thompson III’s team is 0-2 right now, though, after losing to Radford and Maryland to begin the season. A win against the Badgers would put the Hoyas back on track.
Why Wisconsin Will Win
The Badgers may no longer have Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker to rely upon, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have talent on the roster. Junior guard Bronson Koenig has been shooting lights out so far (19 ppg on 52.4 percent shooting), and the rest of the team has responded by shooting 50 percent from inside the three-point line. Wisconsin has out-rebounded opponents 116 to 88 so far, and that’s how they’re going to win: efficient shooting and boxing out.
Why Georgetown Will Win
The Hoyas turned the ball over 28 times in their first two games, and that’s a huge reason why they’re 0-2. In order for Georgetown to win this one, it has to protect the ball. Wisconsin barely misses around the rim, so allowing the Badgers to get out and run can plague Thompson’s team. The Hoyas need to keep Wisconsin off the boards and force Ryan’s guys to take contested threes (34 percent from three) — nothing easy around the basket.
Players Who Matter
Obviously, Koenig can make or break the Badgers in this one. If he continues to shoot like he has been, things should go pretty well. And on a neutral floor, he’ll have to find his rhythm early and figure out what’s working and what’s not. Nigel Hayes needs to have a solid game as well. He’s the only starter for Wisconsin who hasn’t committed a turnover yet. He and Koenig are the only Badgers who have accumulated double-digits in points, rebounds and assists in the three games they’ve played. Hayes can have the biggest impact by crashing towards the rim for second chance opportunities and selecting his angles wisely in transition. He might be looking at a double-double tonight.
Senior center Bradley Hayes is the first building block of a potential win for Georgetown in this one. He’s the only one on the roster putting in work in two different statistical categories — averaging 17.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. But Hayes has to make sure he’s sinking his free throws. He’s shot 50 percent from the charity stripe so far, but that’s not going to get it done. Wisconsin has only allowed more than 20 free throw attempts once this season (27 to Siena). Free points can go a long way in this one. He’ll need help from L.J. Peak, too. Hayes doesn’t block a whole lot of shots. No, that’s Peak’s job. He leads the team with 1.5 blocks per game — as a guard. Peak’s perimeter defense is going to be key. He also has to shoot better than the 37.5 percent he’s been shooting.
What’s Going To Happen?
Wisconsin has the tools to win this one, but Georgetown is no stranger to big games in Madison Square Garden. On a neutral floor, early in the season, the Hoyas are going to find a way to come out with a win. Hayes is going to lock down on the boards, especially because the Badgers don’t have anyone to match up physically with the 7-foot, 260-pound center. Georgetown will force Wisconsin into contested jump shots and pull away.
Wisconsin vs. Georgetown Prediction
Line: Wisconsin -2, o/u: 136.5