It’s here. After an offseason full of debates on how to replace Jordan Taylor, transfers, and injury news, Wisconsin Basketball is back. The #23 ranked Badgers open their season at the Kohl Center Sunday against Southeastern Louisiana. Tip off is at 1:00 PM CT, and the game is not being televised, but you can listen on the Badger Radio Network.
The Southeastern Louisiana Lions, a member of the Southland Conference, finished last season with a 12-17 record. This year they return four starters from last years squad. They are coached by Jim Yarbrough, now in his 8th season as coach of the Lions. Southeastern Louisiana has been to the NCAA tournament once in 2005.
Matchup of the Game
The Lions have a legit NBA potential in Senior PG Brandon Fortenbury. This guy started last season red hot averaging 17.6 ppg, before his season was ended 7 games in to the season thanks to a foot injury. Now Fortenbury returns and is looking forward to another breakout year. With the Badgers still having questions at PG between George Marshall and Traevon Jackson, this will likely be the matchup Yarbrough will go after. The performances of the young Badger point guards today against this veteran could be a big step towards deciding a set starter for the season.
Keys to the Game
While we can expect that the Badgers' defense will have no problem, we'll have to see if the offense can come out rolling right out of the gate. It should be a work in progress throughout this early stretch of the season with two young point guards running the show. Southeastern Louisiana is a veteran team, don't expect them to go away early. However the Badgers have a huge height advantage over the Lions and Bo Ryan will likely run a lot of the offense through big man duo Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans. I think the big men will dominate, and the Badgers will roll.
Prediction: Wisconsin 76, Southeastern Louisiana 42