Wisconsin Badgers vs. Jacksonville St. Jacksonville State Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 14th 2023

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No. 23 Wisconsin will be looking to bounce back from a lopsided loss to a top-ranked foe when it hosts Jacksonville State in a non-conference matchup on Thursday night in Madison, Wis.

After recording impressive victories over No. 7 Marquette and Michigan State, the Badgers (7-3) saw their six-game winning streak come to a halt with a 97-73 setback to No. 1 Arizona on Saturday.

Wisconsin stayed close early before the Wildcats closed the first half with a 25-8 run for a 48-31 lead at the break.

The Badgers seemed to regain their defensive identity during their winning streak, allowing just 56.7 points per game. They outrebounded opponents by 11.2 per game, including Marquette by 38-23 and Michigan State 36-22.

Wisconsin, however, was outrebounded by the Wildcats 39-30 and outscored 42-32 in the paint. After limiting each of the six previous opponents to 46.2 percent shooting or less, Arizona connected on 58.3 percent of its shots — including 12 of 26 from 3-point range.

“The snowball happened, it kept getting bigger and bigger, and it was hard for us to get it under control,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “We’ll learn a lot from this as we go through the tape. I didn’t think we were as good defensively as we have been, but that’s in large part due to Arizona and how they attacked us and how they got us spread out at times. But learn from it, grow from it and get ready for the next one.”

AJ Storrs, a sophomore transfer from St. John’s, leads the Badgers in scoring at 13.8 per game. Steven Crowl, who contributes 12.1 and a team-high 7.1 rebounds, was happy that his team picked up several victories before falling to Arizona.

“It was huge to get those two earlier this week,” Crowl said, per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I’m sure people thought we were going to go 0-3.

“Getting those two … and a Big Ten game, on the road, was huge for us. We knew we had a rough stretch. We just wanted to attack it.”

Guard John Blackwell came off the bench for 17 points against Arizona. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday.

“More toughness,” Blackwell told the Journal-Sentinel when asked what lessons were learned after the loss. “Following defensive rules. … We’ve just got to keep the defensive principles straight. We’ll be good. This loss taught us a lot. We really got punched in the mouth.”

Jacksonville State (4-6) was picked in the preseason poll to finish last in Conference USA after moving from the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Gamecocks made the NCAA Tournament in 2021-22.

The Gamecocks, who have lost two consecutive contests, are averaging 67.4 points per game.

KyKy Tandy, a graduate transfer from Xavier, averages a team-best 17.4 points per game and has 27 of the team’s 52 3-pointers. Quincy Clark adds 10.2 points per game, while Juwan Perdue and Marcellus Brigham Jr. are contributing 5.5 and 5.0 rebounds per contest.

Andres Burney scored a career-high 12 points in Jacksonville State’s 55-49 loss to Illinois Chicago on Friday. The Gamecocks shot just 37.0 percent from the floor, including 1 of 11 from beyond the arc.

–Field Level Media

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