Basketball vs. Southern Utah-gradey celebration 2.jpg

Freshman guard Gradey Dick celebrates during the game against Southern Utah. The Jayhawks beat the Thunderbirds 82-76.

The Jayhawks have a quick turnaround after their 80-74 win over NC State, as they play the Wisconsin Badgers at 10 a.m. tomorrow. 

Wisconsin got the 43-42 win against a familiar November foe of the Jayhawks, the Dayton Flyers. That game, as the score suggests, was not an offensive clinic. The Badgers average just 61 points per game, while holding opponents to 49. 

The leading scorer for Wisconsin, senior forward Tyler Wahl, only scored three points for the Badgers. Last year, Wahl averaged 11.4 points per game. He saw his average drop down to 11.8 points per game this season after the low scoring performance against Dayton.

Their highest scorer of the game versus Dayton was freshman guard Connor Essegian, who scored 13. He did so by making just three field goals, but going five-for-five from the free throw line. 

Wisconsin clearly predicates themselves on defense, and will need to control the biggest scoring threats of the Jayhawks. 

Redshirt-junior forward Jalen Wilson is averaging 23.4 points per game, while freshman guard Gradey Dick is averaging 18.4 after a 25 point performance. 

The Jayhawks have gotten a nice scoring boost from their leader in assists, redshirt-junior guard Dajuan Harris as well. He is up to an even 10 points per game, compared to last year when he averaged 5.3 points per game.

However, with the way Wisconsin plays, you can expect each of those scoring averages to go down. They rank 332nd in the nation in possessions per game, so they will be trying to slow down the Jayhawks as much as they can.

For reference, Southern Utah, who scored 76 points on the Jayhawks despite coming up short, rank seventh in the nation in that metric. It would be fair to say that this game is going to be played at a very slow pace. 

The Jayhawks will want to try to make bad offensive possessions from Wisconsin turn into opportunities for transition offense for them. 

When asked about the match-up, head coach Bill Self’s biggest takeaway was the difference of play from them from NC State.

“Today, NC State’s five men (centers) don’t shoot the ball, and you play Wisconsin and they shoot the ball.”

Junior forward Steven Crowl, a seven footer, can stretch the floor. While only being four-for-13 on the year on three pointers, Crowl has shown that he is not afraid to shoot it if left open. However, most of his work is done inside.

The two teams are playing for the first time since 1969, with the winner getting a spot in the championship of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

The game will tip off at 10 a.m., perhaps before you even start preparing your turkey, on ESPN.