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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, August 15, 2022
Josh Gasser

Wisconsin will look to sophomore guard Josh Gasser to take some of the pressure off senior guard Jordan Taylor Saturday.

Men's Basketball: All attention on UNLV

This weekend's matchup will be the Badgers' (7-2 overall) final game of a three-game home stand and will be the second game of a home-and-home series the Badgers currently have with UNLV (9-1). Wisconsin will look to take out some revenge on the Rebels, as UNLV beat the Badgers in Las Vegas last year 68-65.

After breaking a two-game slide in a romp of UW-Green Bay, the Badgers now turn their attention to unranked UNLV. While this might seem like a game Wisconsin should win easily, that is definitely not the case. UNLV, despite losing its place in the AP Top-25 due to a 19-point loss to a capable Wichita State squad, holds a 9-1 record and was the team that took down then-No. 1 North Carolina from the ranks of the unbeaten. If UNLV can take down North Carolina-a team that beat Wisconsin earlier this year-it can certainly give the Badgers all they can handle.

Leading the way for the Runnin' Rebels this year has been sophomore forward Mike Moser, who leads UNLV in both points per game (15.8) and rebounds per game (12.5). While Moser can dominate on the inside like he did against an NBA-like North Carolina front line, against which he racked up 18 rebounds, he can also stretch the floor by making three-point baskets. Moser's ability to play both inside and out will definitely pose a big concern for the Badgers Saturday.

Another big concern for the Badgers will be UNLV's man-to-man pressure defense, made famous by former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian. The defense has forced an average of 16 turnovers per game this season. With this pressure defense and its ability to push the ball on offense, UNLV will try to get the Badgers out of their slow-paced possession-by-possession style and force them to play at a much faster pace, which UNLV hopes will get the Badgers uncomfortable and cause the them to commit a high amount of turnovers.

This should be a concern for the Badgers because in their game against Marquette-a team that features a similar pressure-style defense-the Badgers looked frustrated all afternoon and committed 12 turnovers, including five by normally sure-handed senior point guard Jordan Taylor.

With UNLV putting pressure on the ball, somebody else for the Badgers will have to step up and play big to take pressure off of Taylor. A player who can do that is sophomore guard Josh Gasser. Gasser, who got out to a hot start in the first part of the season, has not scored more than seven points in any of his last four games. If Gasser can regain his early season form, with his ability to penetrate and making outside shots, he can exploit an overaggressive UNLV defense. Look for Gasser to get back in the swing of things and be an x-factor for the Badgers Saturday.

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