Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma
The Wisconsin basketball team (4-2) hits the road this weekend to take on the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners (5-0). The Badgers are coming off a two game win streak against VCU and Prairie View A & M. The Sooners are currently undefeated on the season.
Oklahoma and Wisconsin faced each other last season in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. The Badgers truly dominated the game from the start, but Oklahoma proved to be the toughest opponent the Badgers had faced in that point of the season. Oklahoma was fairly inconsistent throughout the game, which became the reason the Badgers were able to win the game 69-56.
Oklahoma is a sound offensive team. They have not scored under 84 points in the five games they’ve played this season. Buddy Hield, a senior guard, leads the team in points per game, an average of 25.3. Isaiah Cousins is another senior player who knows a thing or two about basketball. Cousins is a solid player on offense and defense, averaging 12.0 points per game and 2.3 rebounds per game. Ryan Spangler, a forward, is arguably the best defensive player for Oklahoma. He averages 8.7 rebounds per game and leads the team in blocks per game with 1.3. Spangler is also the fourth leading scorer for Oklahoma, following Jordan Woodard. Woodard is a versatile player similar to Cousins. Woodard averages 11.3 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, and has not missed a free throw yet this season. The Sooners are a good three-point shooting team, averaging 41.8%. The team averages 88 points per game.
Wisconsin’s Key to Victory
Wisconsin needs to shut down the Oklahoma offense in order to win the game. The defense has been slacking in the past few games. Wisconsin averages 74 points per game, as opposed to Oklahoma’s 88 points per game. Wisconsin will need to make their shots fall if they want to get a lead early in the game. Both team shoot the ball at similar accuracy (Wisconsin’s field goal average is 45.0%, Oklahoma’s is 49.7%), but Wisconsin is going to have to shoot at a higher accuracy against the solid Sooners’ defense. Wisconsin can gain points easily and without taking time off the clock in the final stretch of the game with free throws. Both Oklahoma and Wisconsin foul a similar amount during the game, but Wisconsin’s free throw average is slightly higher than Oklahoma’s at 74% FTM. Wisconsin seems to be getting their chemistry back together. The freshmen are gaining confidence every game. Khalil Iverson has been making his name known on offense. Ethan Happ is strong in rebounding, leading the team with 7.7 per game. The more seasoned players have been beginning to step up more as well. Bronson Koenig has been solid the past few games. He currently leads the team in points per game (17.3). Nigel Hayes has been making plays on offense; he averages 4.2 assists per game. Wisconsin needs to come out of the locker room on Sunday ready to play. They need to be in position on defense and take their time on offense.
Oklahoma has proved that they are one of the top ten teams in the country. However, Wisconsin is going to be the toughest opponent they have faced yet this season. Oklahoma will be Wisconsin’s toughest opponent thus far as well. Both teams have a lot to prove. Oklahoma needs a win against a team in one of the Power 5 conferences. The Badgers need a win against a top 25 team to prove they can be a real force in the Big Ten. Wisconsin has been improving every game, and if the team comes focused and ready to play, the Badgers have a real shot at knocking off the Sooners on the road.