Panthers face uphill climb in clash with fourth-ranked Badgers

Dec 28, 2013 - 3:59 PM Madison, WI ( - The fourth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers will try to put an exclamation point on a perfect non-conference slate, as they entertain the Prairie View A&M Panthers on Saturday afternoon.

Prairie View is 2-9 on the campaign, the team logging victories against only Schreiner (100-73 on Nov. 11) and Bethune-Cookman (89-80 on Nov. 29). The Panthers are currently mired in a four-game losing streak, with their most recent setback occurring at Western Michigan, 92-53, last Saturday. PVAMU lifts the lid on its Southwestern Athletic Conference slate on Jan. 4 at home against Southern.

Wisconsin is 12-0, marking its best start in the modern era (since 1946), and has done so despite playing the nation's seventh-toughest schedule. The Badgers have recorded wins over St. John's. Florida, Saint Louis, West Virginia, Virginia and Marquette, and they took out visiting Eastern Kentucky two weeks ago in their last outing, 86-61. UW is set to open Big Ten Conference play next Thursday at Northwestern.

Wisconsin won the only previous meeting with Prairie View A&M, 99-55, in Madison on Nov. 19, 2010.

Prairie View's issues mainly stem from its effort at the defensive end of the court, as the team ranks 342nd of the 345 teams charted by the NCAA at the Division I level in yielding 87.9 ppg. The SWAC actually has four of the bottom 11 teams in terms of scoring defense (Texas Southern, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State being the others). Foes are shooting 51.4 percent from the field, which includes a 42.5 percent showing from beyond the arc, both of which rank the team near the bottom of all D-I programs as well. Offensively, the Panthers are putting up 71.5 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of .428 overall and .317 from downtown. The team is in the red in both rebounding (-5.6) and turnover (-2.6) margins, but there is some talent on the roster, notably Montrael Scott (14.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, .504 FG percentage, .468 3- point FG percentage, .769 free-throw percentage). Demondre Chapman (12.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, .534 FG percentage), Louis Munks (10.4 ppg) and John Brisco (10.1 ppg) round out the unit's double-digit scorers. Chapman was the only PVAMU player to show up in the 39-point loss at Western Michigan last weekend, netting 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds. The Broncos shot 56.9 percent from the field, while holding their overmatched opponent to just 34.0 percent. Prairie View missed 15 of its 19 3-point tries, while committing 17 turnovers.

Wisconsin has been impressive at both ends of the floor this season, putting up 74.7 ppg while giving up just 62.1 ppg. The team is hitting 46.9 percent of its total shots, with 40.3 percent of its 3-point attempts finding the bottom of the net. It's defensive effort yields 42.7 percent success on opposing field goal attempts, with the 3-point shot falling just 31.6 percent of the time. The Badgers boast four double-digit scorers, with one more close to joining the ranks. Frank Kaminsky does a little bit of everything for UW, toting a line of 14.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game, all while shooting 56.4 percent from the field, including a 15-of-35 showing from beyond the arc. Sam Dekker (14.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Ben Brust (12.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Traevon Jackson (10.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.6 apg) and Josh Gasser (9.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) have all performed well for coach Bo Ryan's club, which shot 60.5 percent from the field, knocking down 9-of-15 3-point launches in the rout of Eastern Kentucky two weeks ago. Brust paced the team with 20 points, Nigel Hayes came off the bench to tally 17, Dekker had 16 and Kaminsky chipped in 13. The Badgers were outscored in the paint, 34-26, but they put forth a stifling defensive effort, particularly in the first half when they allowed the Colonels to connect on only 9-of-27 field goal attempts (.333), including a mere 2-of-9 3-point tries (.222). A massive 25-9 edge in points from the foul line also contributed to the lopsided outcome.

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