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Nebrasketball Preview: Wisconsin

Can the Huskers take down a rolling Badger team?

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports


Location of School: Madison, WI

Coach: Greg Gard (Interim)

Mascot: Badgers

2015-16 Record: 14-9 (6-4 conference)

2014-15 Season So Far

You guys remember last year for Wisconsin, right? You know the year they went 36-4 and made it to the National Championship game of the NCAA Tournament. They then ended up beat by Duke 68-63. This was their first championship game in school history and the end to a stellar season.

After they came down from cloud 9 and reality set in that they would be losing some of their best players. Standout center Frank Kaminsky was the #9 draft pick of the Charolette Hornets and Sam Dekker went at #18 to the Houston Rockets. Traevon Jackson and Duje Dukan are currently in the NBA D-League and Josh Gasser is playing ball in Europe. All of these guys were constant contributors to the team on their championship run. To put it bluntly, this was going to be a tough season to top for the Badgers.

2015-16 Season So Far

Hey, like I said, last season was going to be a tough one to top. It really all started when then head coach Bo Ryan announced that he would retire after the season. Nice timing for the athletic department to find a coach, right? Then in August he started to waiver from this and said he would decide what he would do at the end of the season. Giving the impression that he might be coaching some more seasons.

This all ended on December 15th when he would retire immediately and assistant coach Greg Gard would take over for the rest of the season. Fun times, huh?

The Badgers started out #17 in the nation for the first few weeks but a loss to Western Illinois ended that. Further losses to Georgetown and current number one Oklahoma started a path that has kept them out of the top 25.

While the non conference and beginning of conference was less than desirable to fan base they are currently on a five-game win streak with wins against #4 Michigan State and #19 Indiana.

Players To Watch

Nigel Hayes - Nigel is a 6'8" forward who is currently leading the team with 17.1 ppg and sits second with 6 rpg. He briefly considered leaving the team for the NBA last year but decided to come back for his junior year. He is one of the top players in the Big Ten and is a finalist for the Julius Erving Award which is given to the top small forward in college basketball. The guy also carries some swag with him.

Bronson Koenig - Bronson (you've got to love a kid named Bronson) is a junior point guard who is currently averaging 13.4 ppg and can be deadly at the arch if you give him a chance. He started out a little slow this year and under performed by many standards but has recently had a spark that has helped lead the Badgers to some major wins.

Ethan Happ - Ethan is a redshirt freshman who is currently leading the Badgers with a 55% field goals per game average. He's also fairly problematic on defense. Happ currently leads the conference in steals at 2.1 per game and is currently at 34 for the year.

What Will Probably Happen

Wisconsin is one of those teams that had me scratching my head for a good chunk of the season. Yes, they lost a lot of players from last years team but Bo had also done a fairly good job with recruiting the last few years. So it wasn't as if the cupboard was bare.

Things seem to be clicking for the Badger team as they have finally started pulling in some quality wins. They have Maryland and Michigan State after they play us but I don't think they are looking past this game. Nebraska has played well against good teams this year and especially on the road. However, this is a talented team that is peaking right now with an interim coach that might just keep his job at the end of the year.

It will also be interesting to see if Shavon Shields will play after his concussion he got during the Rutgers game on Saturday. He might not being in the lineup so that could be what keeps this game out of the hands of Nebraska.