The Badgers tip off the Maui Invitational with a matchup against the Tennessee Volunteers. The game is at 1:30pm CT and will be televised on ESPN2. Tennessee and Wisconsin haven’t played a game since Bo Ryan’s first season at Wisconsin, and the Badgers would come out on top in that one.
Projected Wisconsin Starters:
G: Bronson Koenig (15.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG)
G: Zak Showalter (5.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG)
F: Nigel Hayes (11.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.7 APG)
F: Vitto Brown (6.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG)
C: Ethan Happ (7.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG)
Projected Tennessee Starters:
G: Jordan Bone (14.0 PPG, 4.5 APG)
G: Jordan Bowden (7.0 PPG, 1.0 APG)
G: Shembari Phillips (9.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG)
G: Robert Hubbs III (13.5 PPG, 4 RPG)
F: Kyle Alexander (10.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG)
Tennessee, whose roster features seven true freshman and one redshirt freshman, has played with as much inexperience as you would expect. Tennessee dropped their opening game to Chattanooga, 82-69. Tennessee then rebounded and beat Appalachian State, but gave up 94 points in the process.
Head coach Rick Barnes went with different starting lineups in the first two games, with Admiral Schofield (2.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG) and Detrick Mostella (3.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG) in the starting group against Chattanooga.
Leading the young Volunteers is senior Robert Hubbs III. Hubbs III is leading the Vols in scoring, doing so in the paint and at the free throw line. Hubbs is coming off of a 16-point performance, shooting 6/8 from the field.
Freshman point guard Jordan Bone has shown some versatility early on this year. Bone scored 21 in his first game as a Volunteer while shooting 57%. His 21 points were good enough for sixth all-time in Tennessee basketball history for points in an opening game. In the second game, he distributed the ball more totaling eight assists.
Forward Kyle Alexander is the one rim protector in the current starting lineup for the Vols. With all of the other players being sub 6’5″, Alexander is 6’10” and averages 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.
Even though the Volunteers lineup is filled with mostly guards, they haven’t been a successful team from the three-point line thus far. Tennessee is shooting just 25.7% from beyond the arch so far this year. Expect the Badgers to pack it down and force Tennessee to prove their ability from the perimeter.
The Vols have a balanced attack that reminds you something of the Badgers. Against Appalachian State, Tennessee had six players score in double digits. Ten players contributed to the 103 point performance in total. Against Chattanooga, five players scored at least eight points.
Tennessee’s roster is young but has a ton of talent with many high school standouts and top recruits. The Vols are very inexperienced, but their talent isn’t something the Badgers can afford to overlook.