By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – On Saturday night at 7:05 p.m., a long-awaited contest between Green Bay (1-0) and No. 20/19 Wisconsin (2-0) will tip off at a sold out Resch Center. The non-conference tilt will mark the first meeting between the programs since 2009 and the 20th game in series history.
The Phoenix and the Badgers have met in the past three seasons in Madison at the Kohl Center, and Saturday in front of a sellout crowd will mark the first time that head coach Brian Wardle or any current member of the Phoenix program have been able to face Bo Ryan and the Badgers on the Resch Center floor in Green Bay. The Phoenix is 35-9 all-time at home during Wardle’s tenure as head coach.
No. 20/19 Wisconsin and Green Bay enter Saturday’s game unbeaten on the young season, with Green Bay winning its season opener 71-49 against Northern Michigan and Wisconsin posting victories over St. John’s (86-75) and No. 11 Florida (59-53). Green Bay aims to open 2-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1990-91 and 1991-92.
GREEN BAY PROBABLE STARTERS
G – #24 Keifer Sykes, G, Jr., 5-11, 175
G – #35 Vincent Garrett, G, Sr., 6-6, 220
F – #4 Jordan Fouse, F, So., 6-7, 225
F – #15 Greg Mays, F, Jr., 6-9, 222
C – #21 Alec Brown, C, Sr., 7-1, 235
LIVE COVERAGE: For fans who did not secure tickets, the contest will be televised live by Time Warner Cable SportsChannel with Dennis Krause (play-by-play) and Jeff Nordgaard (color analyst) on the call. The broadcast will also be available live and for free on the internet on the Horizon League Network and ESPN3.
INSIDE THE SERIES: Wisconsin holds an 18-1 edge in the all-time series with Green Bay. The first meeting between the two programs was in 1980, and Saturday will mark the 15th consecutive season that Green Bay and Wisconsin have played in either November or December. The Phoenix is 1-2 all-time in Green Bay, including an 88-84 overtime win the last time the Badgers visited, on Dec. 9, 2009, when Wardle was a Green Bay assistant.
BROKEN RECORD: With a sellout announced on Nov. 6 and additional seats added to the Resch Center capacity since 9,759 fans watched when the Badgers visited in 2009, the program attendance record will likely be broken on Saturday night. The Phoenix will welcome a crowd of more than 9,000 spectators for the fourth time in program history.
RANKED AT THE RESCH: Saturday’s contest is the first time Green Bay has hosted a ranked team at the Resch Center since Jan. 29, 2010 (No. 18 Butler). The last time they visited the Resch Center, the Badgers were ranked No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the coaches poll. Green Bay has hosted seven games previously against ranked foes, posting a 2-5 record. The first such game was on Nov. 30, 2002 when Green Bay hosted Wisconsin in the Resch Center opener.
SCOUTING THE BADGERS: Through two games, Wisconsin has excelled the most from beyond the arc, with six different players knocking down 20 three-pointers. The Badgers are shooting 46.5 percent from long range and 75 percent from the line. Five Wisconsin players are averaging nine or more points, led by sophomore Sam Dekker’s 16.0. The Badgers hold a slight rebounding edge but uncharacteristically have one more turnover than their opponents.
SNOWY SHOOTOUT: When Wisconsin visited Green Bay on Dec. 9, 2009, the game was played on the heels of one of the six biggest snowstorms in Green Bay history. Officially, 14.7 inches of snow fell in Green Bay the morning of the game. Tip-off still went on as planned, and both squads were hot from the field. The Phoenix had five players reach double figures and shot 50 percent from long range in the 88-84 overtime victory.
UNDERDOG UPSETS: Green Bay has totaled four victories over ranked opponents in the Division I era, posting a 4-31 record (through 2009-10). The last ranked foe that the Phoenix faced was No. 11 Marquette on Dec. 10, 2011 (L, 61-79). Green Bay’s last win over a top-25 opponent occurred when Wisconsin last visited the Resch.
DYNAMITE DEBUT: Green Bay sports the All-Horizon League inside-outside duo of Alec Brown and Keifer Sykes, but in Saturday’s opener it was a senior newcomer that stole the headlines. Rutgers transfer Vince Garrett made 6-of-7 field goals and scored 11 of his team-high 15 points after halftime to lead the Phoenix to the win over Northern Michigan.
COMPETE, DEFEND, REBOUND: This signature Brian Wardle mantra was on full display in 2012-13 for the Phoenix. In Horizon League play, Green Bay led the conference in rebounding margin, field goal percentage defense and blocked shots. With Fouse grabbing 8.3 boards per game, Green Bay’s plus-6.4 was more than four rebounds clear of second place. Aided by a league-best 5.6 blocked shots per game, the Phoenix was also the only conference team to hold opponents below 40 percent from the field.
IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN: Senior Alec Brown will be in select company heading into this season. In fact, Brown will be in a group by himself as the nation’s only active player with 1,200-plus points, 600-plus rebounds and 200-plus blocks. The 7-foot-1 versatile post player is a two-time All-Horizon League player and was on the All-Defensive Team in 2012-13. Brown is only the second player in HL history to accumulate those career numbers and is on pace to be the first league player to finish his career with 1,500 points, 750 rebounds and 250 blocks.
All tickets for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season are on sale now. For more information about season tickets, ticket packages and more, please visit the ticketing page at GreenBayPhoenix.com.
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