Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: A Look at December's Schedule as Season Continues

Alec Dopp@alecdoppCorrespondent INovember 26, 2010

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: A Look at December's Schedule as Season Continues

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    LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 20:  Jon Leuer #30 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks to pass the ball inbounds as Derrick Jasper #5 of the UNLV Rebels defends during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center November 20, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 68-65.  (Photo
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Bo Ryan's group hustled their way to a positive November, all while keeping their eyes on the Big Ten opener against Minnesota on December 28th.

    A November that instilled a reassuringly talented, young group of Badgers also came with it's share of disappointments.  The Badgers were topped by skillful, fast UNLV ballclub, in a tight, nail-biting 68-65 Badger loss.

    The Wisconsin group that so many have underrated coming into the season has a multitude of tasks yet to be accomplished during the course of a promising 2010-2011 season.

    With work to be done, and much business yet to be accomplished this season, the Badgers now turn their focus to the December schedule, that looks as assuring as it is resilient.

    Let's take a look at what December has in store for the Badgers.

North Carolina State

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    GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 13:  Iman Shumpert #1 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets stands behind Javier Gonzalez #10 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack in their semifinal game in the 2010 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on on Mar
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    (3-1, T-3rd in ACC)

    Where: Kohl Center

    When: Wednesday, December 1st, 6:15 pm

    The Wolfpack have gotten out to an impressive start to their regular season, with quality wins over Tennessee Tech, East Carolina, and George Mason.

    However the wins have also become burdened by the disappointing (yet quality) loss to No.20 Georgetown on the road.

    The prospectus within NC State is that they can dominate opponents with the small-ball play.  With Freshman guard Ryan Harrow, who leads all NC State scorers with 13.7 points per game, the Wolfpack are ready for a long, treacherous road through the ACC.

    Bo Ryan's crew needs to get the ball to Keaton Nankivil and Jon Leuer in the paint, reassuring the consistent scoring down-low.

South Dakota

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    (1-2, T-2nd Great West)

    Where: Kohl Center

    When: Saturday, December 4th, 1:00 pm

    In a conference that the average American probably fails to even recognize, South Dakota may still yet remain a factor.

    Sophomore guard Jake Thomas leads the Coyotes in scoring, averaging 14 points per game so far this season.

    South Dakota doesn't present much of a challenge for the Badgers, especially with the match-up being at the Kohl Center.  However, Bo Ryan has stressed to his group about keeping the focus on the 'here and now'.

    Bucky should come up big in this game.

UW- Milwaukee

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    (3-3, T-7th in Horizon League)

    Where: Kohl Center

    When: Wednesday, December 8th, 7:30 pm

    Senior breakout guard Tone Boyle leads the Panthers in PPG (15.4), minutes per game (29.4), free-throw percentage (78.6%), and three-point percentage (46%).  Sounds an awful lot like a one-man team, huh?

    Well that's exactly what the Panthers are this season.

    UW-Milwaukee has key loses to Portland, and Florida Atlantic -- along with slim victories over UC Davis, Niagra, and Northern Iowa.

    The Horizon league hasn't been known for producing the best competition through the years, and Wisconsin will be able to handle the Panthers in Madison handily.


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    SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 18:  Forward Lazar Hayward #32 of the Marquette Golden Eagles reacts to a play against the Washington Huskies during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at HP Pavilion on March 18, 2010 in San Jose, California
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    (4-2, T-12th in Big East)

    Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    When: Saturday, December 11th, 1:30 pm

    Marquette has only managed to blowout its opposition in the first four games of the season; taking down Prairie View A&M, Bucknell, UW-Green Bay, and South Dakota.

    The quality of wins may not be there quite yet, however don't expect the Golden Eagles to let up anytime soon come crunch time.

    Marquette managed to put on a show against top ranked Duke, however they did not come away with the victory. 

    The Badgers have had trouble in the past against Marquette, and Jon Leuer needs to step up in a big way for Wisconsin to come away with the victory.

    Junior forward Jay Crowder (above) leads the Golden Eagles in rebounds per game (8.3), and will test both Nankivil and Leuen in the paint.

UW-Green Bay

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    (2-3, 9th in Horizon League)

    Where: Kohl Center

    When: Monday, December 13th, 7:00 pm

    Losses to Marquette and San Diego State have put a huge burden on an already tampered Green Bay basketball squad.

    If the Badgers truly have anything to worry about in this game, it is Senior guard Rahmon Fletcher.  Leading the Phoenix in points per game (16.3), steals per game (2.5), free-throw percentage (81%), and three-point percentage (46%), Fletcher is a prime shooter worthy of battling it out with Jordan Taylor.

    Trouble is, Green Bay contains no inside shooting.

    Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil will be able to handle whatever the Phoenix throw at them, and they will continue their dominance throughout the remainder of the season.

Coppin State

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    (1-2, 11th in MEAC)

    Where: Kohl Center

    When: Thursday, December 23rd, 7:00 pm

    Leading scorer Michael Harper averages a team-best 18.0 points per game, while the Eagles' next leading scorer Vince Goldsberry is averaging just 9.0 points per game.

    Jordan Taylor will get his quality looks against the Eagles, eventually leading to a blowout in Madison.

    Jon Leuer will lead the Badgers' trampling over Coppin State with ease, scoring well above 25 points in the game.


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    (6-0, 1st in Big Ten)

    Where: Kohl Center

    When: Tuesday, December 28th, 6:00 pm

    The Golden Gophers are arguably the biggest surprise so far this season within the Big Ten, rallying for five consecutive wins to start their regular season.

    Victories against Wofford, Siena, Western Kentucky, North Carolina, and West Virginia make for a more than impressive reputation within the Big Ten.

    Leading scorers Trevor Mbakwe (14.0 PPG), Ralph Sampson III (13.8 PPG), Blake Hoffarber (13.2 PPG), and Al Nolen (10.2 PPG) lead the way for the Gophers.

    Junior forward Trevor Mbakwe holds one of the nation's top rebounds per game averages at 9.4.  Again, Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil will have their hands full at home against Tubby Smith's crew.

    Rest assured, Minnesota will be primed and ready for a showdown with the Badgers on December 28th, and Bo Ryan and company had better be ready for one of the best all-around teams in the nation.