Badgers to test Golden rule

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoOne year ago, Trevon Hughes was a relative unknown.A self-described “role-player” at the time, yet to see majoraction in a high-profile game, Hughes was called off the bench to guardMarquette’s highly-touted, lightning quick point guard Dominic James in afrenzied atmosphere at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.The freshman responded aptly, nabbing three steals, scoringtwo points and doling out two assists in 18 minutes of action hounding James.The 6-foot guard also pulled down five rebounds, the third most on the teamthat game.James, on the other hand, managed to score 19 points, butshot only 37 percent from the field and made just two of seven 3-pointattempts.”I was able to play good defense,” Hughes said. “I was arole player at the time. … I was just trying to help my team out, try tocontribute.”What a difference a year makes.On Saturday, when Wisconsin welcomes No. 11 Marquette to theKohl Center at 5 p.m., Hughes will likely draw James as his defensiveassignment again, this time as the Badgers’ starting point guard and leadingscorer.Hughes welcomes the assignment and relishes the opportunity.”That’s my chance to see where I’m at and my chance to getbetter at the same time,” Hughes said. “They’ve got three tremendous guards.”Aside from James, the guard trio Hughes speaks of includesJerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews Jr. All three are juniors, and all three bringsomething different to the table.McNeal is having the best season of the bunch for the GoldenEagles, averaging 16 points, five rebounds and 3.5 assists per game through sixcontests.James pitches up just under 15 points per game and hands out3.2 assists per game.Matthews, a Madison native, is having a comparatively quietseason, scoring nine points per game.”The game isn’t going to change,” assistant coach Greg Gardsaid. “We see a lot of good players and those are three really good players,but they’re not the only guys they have. They have other guys that are really contributingand doing a nice job for them.”As much as Wisconsin’s depth has been praised, Marquette maybe even deeper. The Golden Eagles have five players who average between nineand 16 points per game and eight that average at least 15 minutes per contest.That group includes guard David Cubillan, a perimetershooting threat who averages nearly 23 minutes per game off the bench for TomCrean’s club and scores 10 points per contest.The player that catches Gard’s eye the most, however, issophomore forward Lazar Hayward.”From my observation on film and seeing their games, I thinkhe’s their most improved player,” Gard said. “I’ve been very impressed with himand he’s developed his game. … He’s much more confident, more aggressive anddoing a lot of positive things.”Averaging nearly 13 points and six rebounds a game, the6-foot-6-inch Hayward anchors an undersized front line for Marquette. TheGolden Eagles rotation includes just four players Hayward’s height or taller,and one of whom — 6-foot-9-inch Dan Fitzgerald — is more of a perimeter playerthan a banger in the post.For Wisconsin, which starts four players 6-foot-7-inches ortaller, holding a significant size advantage over opponents has turned intosomething of a different game, same story situation.”It’s not an advantage unless you do something about it,”forward Brian Butch said. “If you watch a lot of basketball, there are plentyof times where you have a mismatch in the post and the ball’s thrown away becauseyou’re trying to take advantage of that mismatch.”You really need to play sound and do what you normally doto be successful.”Wisconsin also enters the game looking to avenge thelopsided loss it suffered in its last game against a nationally ranked opponent— a 82-58 defeat at the hands of then-No. 7 Duke.”We need to redeem ourselves for our last ESPN (televised)game,” Hughes said.StreaksA couple streaks will be on the line for Wisconsin when theBadgers and Golden Eagles tip off.Wisconsin has won 28 consecutive games at the Kohl Centerdating back to a 2006 loss to North Dakota State.Against Marquette, Wisconsin has won the last three gamesand seven of the last nine.last_img