Rarely do the Badgers' travels take the team north, but that is where they they head tonight as the men's basketball team gets ready to face UW-Green Bay.
No. 20 Wisconsin enters the game with confidence, and rightfully so, after its landmark victory against No. 6 Duke last week.
""We showed what we're capable of in the game against Duke,"" senior guard Jason Bohannon said.
The Badgers may be facing a mid-major squad in Green Bay, but it is a team off to a hot start in the 2009-'10 season. The Phoenix enter the game 8-2 overall (2-0 Horizon), and the last time Green Bay won eight of its first 10 regular season games in 1994, they went to the NCAA Tournament.
Another factor working against the Badgers is the road environment. Wisconsin rarely makes trips to the home of mid-major teams such as Green Bay, as this is only the fourth road game the Badgers are playing outside the six power conferences in basketball in the last five years. But assistant coach Howard Moore does not expect that to get into the heads of his players.
""There's no label on their chest that says ‘mid,'"" Moore said. ""It says Green Bay.""
The Phoenix rarely get the opportunity to host a ranked opponent, making it likely their players and fans will be revved up tonight at the Resch Center. The last ranked opponent to come into Green Bay was No. 11 Butler last season, when Phoenix downed the Bulldogs, 75-66.
""It's going to be a tough environment, Green Bay's playing really good right now,"" Bohannon said.
The Phoenix's successful start to the season can be credited to their guard play and their offensive production, particularly long-range shooting. Green Bay is second in the Horizon League in scoring offense, with 74.2 points per game. And the Phoenix are second in the conference in field goal percentage (.469) and first in 3-point field goal percentage (.444).
Junior forward Keaton Nankivil mentioned the scoring prowess of their guards, and the space they can create with ball screens from their big men.
Junior guard Rahmon Fletcher leads the way for the Phoenix, scoring 17.2 points per game. Senior guard Troy Cotton is scoring 14.9 per game, and shooting 46.6 percent from 3-point range. And junior guard Bryquis Perine is adding 12.8 points per game, while shooting 54.5 percent from long-distance.
Coming off the bench for Green Bay is another accurate shooter, freshman guard Seth Evans, who is hitting a team-high 54.8 percent from behind the arc. It may be a challenge extending a lead against a squad who can hit so many 3-pointers.
Wisconsin's offense has been powered by senior guard Trevon Hughes as of late. Hughes averaged 23 points per game last week in two games, and is scoring 16.7 points per game on the season.
The Badgers' best bet offensively, however, could be an attack inside, where Nankivil and junior forward Jon Leuer have a size and strength advantage on the Green Bay frontcourt, which starts 6'9"" senior Randy Berry and 6'7"" freshman Matt Smith.
The contest tips off at 7 p.m. and can be heard on the Wisconsin Radio Network.