Some of UCSB’s good ole’ boys are going to be heading to Madison tonight but its not going to be all bar-hoppers.
The UCSB men’s basketball team, fresh off an impressive season-opening overtime victory over San Diego State, travels to Big Ten country to face the #21 University of Wisconsin at 5 p.m. PST. The Badgers (1-0) are the defending Big Ten champions and have emerged as one of the most consistent college basketball programs in the Midwest over the past 10 years. Wisconsin is clearly UCSB’s most formidable opponent in a nonconference schedule that lacks that glitz and glam of last year’s slate of foes.
Injuries have plagued Santa Barbara from the start this season, but they have yet to slow the Gauchos down. Armed with a small line-up, UCSB has taken to a fast-break offense and benefited from outstanding perimeter shooting. But the muscle in Madison may be too much to overcome. At 6’8″ and 240 pounds, Badger senior forward Mike Wilkinson will be the most difficult obstacle for the Gauchos to overcome. Wilkinson dropped a team-high 19 points and swiped 11 rebounds in Wisconsin’s season-opener. But the Badgers have traditionally been a running team, blending silky smooth transition offense with a proficient perimeter shooting squad. After winning 29 in a row at the Kohl Center, UW boasts the nation’s third longest winning streak and will put history to the test again tonight.
After Friday’s brilliant road-win, the Gauchos will need the same productivity out of its guards as it did in the opener. Junior guard Josh Davis and senior guard Chrismen Oliver paved the way for UCSB and freshman guard Alex Harris busted out in overtime to topple the Aztecs, but Wisconsin will be another story. Gaucho junior guard Joe See, who went 2-10 from the floor and 0-7 from the three-point range against SDSU, must find his shot for Santa Barbara to be effective. Sophomore forward Glenn Turner may see more minutes to give senior forward Casey Cook some rest defensively against Wilkinson. The UCSB coaching staff is hoping that junior guard Cameron Goettsche can be the first Gaucho to return from the injury list in late November.