Before Tuesday’s commencement of the Big Ten season, both Wisconsin and Rutgers look to pick up wins at the end of the non-conference schedule. The #6 Badgers host the Buffalo Bulls at the Kohl Center while the Scarlet Knights visit in state opponent Monmouth. Here are the breakdowns:
Game of the Day
Buffalo at Wisconsin- 8:00PM ET (BTN)
On the surface, this game seems like an easy win for Wisconsin (11-1), the consensus best team in the Big Ten. However, Buffalo (7-2) is no joke. In their second showing of the season, the Bulls led #1 Kentucky by 5 points at half, proving they can stick with the best in the business. Justin Moss, their best scorer (17.3 PPG), is also their leader in rebounds with 10.2 per game. The 6’7’’ Detroit native will have the daunting task of facing 7-footer Frank Kaminsky, one of the most difficult-to-defend players in the nation. Kaminsky, a future top 5 NBA pick, has only improved after making the decision to return to Wisconsin for his senior season. Nearly all of his numbers are up from last year, including points (15.8 PPG), rebounds (7.7) and three-point percentage (42.9%). If he and sophomore Nigel Hayes get going, the Badgers are all but impossible to stop.
Look for Bo Ryan’s team to come out of the gate running. Buffalo is a strong first half team as proven early in the season. If the Badgers can mount a sizable lead before halftime, which they should, it won’t be close. Wisconsin is simply more talented, more experienced and just too good to blow a game like this.
Rutgers at Monmouth (N.J.) - 3:00PM ET (ESPN3)
Coming off a victory over Sacred Heart, Rutgers (7-5) will try to win their second straight, this against MAAC conference Monmouth (5-6). While the Scarlet Knights have looked better as of late, they still remain bottom of the Big Ten, a position they hope to change during the conference season. Forward Kadeem Jack could be part of that solution. He is the team’s second leading scorer (13.3 PPG) and crashes the boards effectively (7.2 RPG). The Big Ten will be a difficult road for Rutgers, but a win over Monmouth could help help them build an NIT resume. The Scarlet Knights should be able to win this game fairly easily, but with their collection of subpar non-conference losses anything is possible.