Georgia Tech (5-1) vs #23 Wisconsin (5-1)
How to Watch: 9:15 pm EST on ESPN2
2020/2021 records: Georgia Tech 17-9 ; Wisconsin 18-13
KenPom Rankings: Georgia Tech - 67; Wisconsin - 32
Efficiency Rankings: Georgia Tech - Offense 84th, Defense 67th; Wisconsin - Offense 75th, Defense 7th
KenPom Prediction: Georgia Tech 65 - 67 Wisconsin. Georgia Tech is given a 45% chance to win.
Opponent Preview: When Georgia Tech and Wisconsin play on Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion, they will be among the last teams to tip off in the Big Ten-ACC challenge, with the result of the game having the potential to determine the winner of this year’s inter-conference competition. Wisconsin enters this matchup flying high, fresh off of winning the Maui Invitational. Their road to the title included wins against Texas A&M, #12 Houston, and St Mary’s in the championship game. The consistent theme for them in this run was their stout defensive play, allowing no more than 63 points in any of the 3 games and establishing the identity that most picture when they think of Wisconsin basketball. Prior to Maui, the Badgers ran away from lowly opponents St Francis and UW Green Bay before losing to Providence in the Gavitt Games to arrive at their 5-1 record.
Overall, this is a relatively young team that lost four players to graduation and three to transfer from last year’s second round NCAA tournament team including top scorers D’Mitrik Trice and Micah Potter. That youth was reflected in the pre-season media poll where the Badgers were picked to finish 10th in the conference. The driving force behind their solid start has been has been the leap in production from do-it-all sophomore guard Jonathan Davis, who leads the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game. After being a sixth man last season, Davis has been a revelation to start this season going from averaging 7 points a game as a freshman to over 20. Joining Davis in the backcourt is a someone casual college basketball fans might know in super senior Brad Davison. Davison is the only other Badger currently scoring in double digits but offense comes secondary to the style of defense he plays. Davison is known for his “ability” to draw charges, sometimes to the chagrin of opposing players and fans that has seemingly made him the closest thing in college basketball right now to Grayson Allen. Regardless, he is at the forefront of the rugged half court defense that makes Wisconsin a tough team to play against.
Game Prediction: The Jackets come into this game on a win streak of their own albeit against much weaker competition. The team is still getting over the flu bug that prevented them from practicing prior to the game against Georgia Southern. Not only will they need to be at full strength against the Badgers but anything less then complete preparation for this opponent is a recipe for disaster. The possibility of that not being the case has me worried.
However I do think they match up pretty well in this game in order to have success. They can put Khalid Moore on Jonathan Davis and force the Badgers to find secondary scoring. Typically, Wisconsin teams have a versatile big man that can complement their backcourt and really hurt opponents but they haven’t really showed that to this point. If Tech can get to 70 points I think they have a tremendous chance to win but ultimately I see this game being played out as a slugfest and Tech will need to avoid going against this vaunted Badger set defense as much as possible. More important that the result of this game is the experience this team will gain from playing a high quality Big Ten team after years of facing Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State. I do think they fall in a hard fought battle 64-60.
How do you see this game playing out? Comments below and join us during the action!