Men’s hoops hopes to tame Tigers

first_imgWisconsin senior guard Jason Bohannon will see a lot of playing time against a guard heavy lineup.[/media-credit]With an 8 a.m. lifting session on the schedule for Thursday morning, Wisconsin did not have long to enjoy its upset win over No. 6 Duke.Such an early wake-up call did not allow much time for watching SportsCenter as UW quickly switched its focus to Grambling State, which the Badgers host Saturday afternoon.“I got some sleep,” UW senior guard Jason Bohannon said. “We had to get some rest right after the game, so no, not too much (highlight watching).”One thing head coach Bo Ryan’s team did get to see when they caught the highlights on ESPN was an entertaining dance from sophomore guards Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson.“I didn’t see it when they did it out there,” senior guard Trevon Hughes said. “They were kind of shocked because they didn’t think the cameras were rolling. I was like, ‘The cameras are always rolling.’”With a quick turnaround from the emotional win Wednesday to a matchup Saturday with the lowly Tigers from the Southwestern Athletic Conference — a league UW boasts a 6-0 record against — the Badgers are focusing on maintaining the same process they’ve had so far this season.Junior forward Keaton Nankivil said the team knows a win over Duke really does not change anything for the Badgers as they prepare for a much less anticipated game Saturday.“We know that winning one game isn’t going to win us anymore games — it’s going to win us that one game,” he said. “We started preparing today for Grambling State, and we’re going to do it tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll be ready to go by Saturday.”One player who did not practice Thursday was junior forward Jon Leuer, but Hughes is not worried about the 6-foot-10 native of Long Lake, Minn.“He’s a tough kid,” Hughes said of Leuer. “I think he’s going to fight it; nothing’s going to keep him off the court on Saturday. We’re not worried about him.”Still, the win over Duke could be one that helps them throughout the rest of the season, much like UW’s upset at then-No. 9 Texas in 2007. That game was part of a run that saw the Badgers win 25 of 27 games before losing to Davidson in the Sweet 16.Combined with wins over Arizona and then-No. 21 Maryland in Maui, the victory over the Blue Devils is one that should allow the team (and the rest of the nation) to be more confident in the Badgers’ ability to win big games.If nothing else, Ryan’s team should now believe it can compete with any team — regardless of ranking — after upsetting a team few believed it could contend with.“We played some great teams in Maui,” Bohannon said. “Looking at that, a couple years ago, we didn’t really have necessarily those high, major teams that we played right back to back. The first (six) games of the year, we’ve played three teams that are from major conferences; that doesn’t happen too often.”As for Grambling State, the Tigers are a guard-heavy team, starting as many as four in some games. Forward George Akpele is the Tigers’ tallest starter; yet, he stands at just 6-foot-9, and only two others on the roster are 6-foot-6 or taller.With 11 guards on the roster, Grambling State is a team that relies heavily on its shooting from beyond the arc and transition play.Despite so many guards, the Tigers are not particularly adept when it comes to ball handling, as they have turned it over 73 times with only 35 assists.Wisconsin, on the other hand, has 78 assists to just 65 turnovers while its opponents have turned it over 72 times to only 50 assists. Since Grambling State is an unfamiliar team to Wisconsin — the teams have met just once, in 1993 — the Badgers are focusing on ensuring they stick to their game plan more than worrying about what the Tigers will do.“They’re quick, but we don’t really know anything about Grambling State right now,” Hughes said. “Since they have so many guards, we — Jordan, J-Bo and I — will see a lot of minutes. As long as we stay true to our values, we’ll be good.”last_img

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