Balanced Offense

Wisconsin doesn't have a marquee scorer this season, but its balanced offense has worked out well.

The 11th-ranked Badgers (15-2, 5-0 Big Ten) look to remain unbeaten in the conference standings Tuesday when they host Michigan.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Wisconsin -17 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Michigan +17 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

The Badgers, who are tied with No. 7 Indiana atop the Big Ten, enter Tuesday having won nine straight since losing 81-76 to then-No. 11 Marquette on Dec. 8. They won their 30th consecutive home game against an unranked opponent on Saturday, beating Northwestern 62-50.

Marcus Landry was the fifth different player in as many games to lead Wisconsin in scoring with a career-high 21 points - 15 after halftime. Jon Leuer, Brian Butch, Trevon Hughes and Michael Flowers led the Badgers in scoring in their other four conference games.

"It just shows how unselfish we are as a team. Any guy can score any amount of points on this team because we're so well-balanced," Landry said. "It's a weapon of ours - other teams can't focus on one or two or three guys. They have to focus on all five guys on the court."

According to the Badgers' official Web site, Wisconsin joins Providence and Seton Hall as the only teams in the country to have five difference players score at least 20 points in five consecutive games this season. Providence, which did so from Dec. 19-Jan. 5, went 3-2 during that stretch. Seton Hall also went 3-2 during its five-game stretch from Nov. 28-Dec. 22.

After facing Michigan (5-13, 1-5), the Badgers visit Purdue on Saturday before coming back to host the Hoosiers on Thursday.

"So far so good, but we know what's down the road," coach Bo Ryan said. "We're not naive."

Leuer was the leading scorer for Wisconsin with 25 points in its 70-54 win at Michigan on Jan. 2 in the Big Ten opener for both teams. The Badgers led by 16 points at halftime and limited the Wolverines to just over 39 percent shooting for the game.

Wisconsin has also won six straight at home against Michigan since a 51-39 loss on Feb. 27, 1999. The six wins have come by an average of 19.5 points.

Michigan fell 68-60 to Iowa on Saturday. DeShawn Sims had 18 points and Jevohn Shepherd scored all of his career-high 11 points in the first half for the Wolverines, who dropped their fifth straight home game.

"We are a young team and we need to be able to pick it up and bring the intensity and focus for the full 40 minutes," Shepherd said.

The Wolverines start just one senior along with two freshman and two sophomores, but new coach John Beilein said that's no excuse for his team's dismal start. Michigan ranks second-to last in the Big Ten in points per game (65.4) and rebounds per game (33.7) and is last in field goal percentage (41.0). Opponents are averaging a conference-high 71.3 points against them.

"I've got to coach that better and we'll get better," Beilein said.

Michigan has lost all six games against ranked teams this season by double digits.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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