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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 21, 2024
D'Mitrik Trice

Sophomore guard D'Mitrik Trice has helped lead the Badgers to their 6-1 start, and they'll face their first Big Ten game against the No. 14 Iowa Hawkeyes Friday. 

Depleted Badgers welcome UMass-Lowell in final tuneup game before returning to Big Ten play

Just hours before the Wisconsin football team kicks off against Miami at the Orange Bowl, the Badger men’s basketball team (1-1 Big Ten, 7-7 overall) will welcome the UMass-Lowell River Hawks (6-6) to the Kohl Center in its last contest before conference play resumes.

After opening the season 4-7, the Badgers are riding a three-game winning streak, their longest of the season, and are looking to carry at least some semblance of momentum into the meat of their Big Ten slate.

While none of its last three wins have been particularly impressive, culminating in a 12-point home win over Chicago State Wednesday afternoon — a team which has lost by an average of nearly 30 points to Division I opponents this year, this has been a critical stretch for UW. For a team desperately in need of a footing to starting climbing back into the NCAA Tournament conversation, a four-game win streak entering conference play would be huge.

The River Hawks are led primarily by senior guard Jahad Thomas, as the bulk of the offensive work for UML comes from its several prolific guards. In fact, River Hawk guards have combined to score 70.3 points per game, just a shade under 90 percent of the team’s total offensive output.

That backcourt depth could cause problems for a UW team that has a veritable dearth of healthy guards. With sophomore starter D’Mitrik Trice and freshman up-and-comer Kobe King each out nursing lower-body injuries, freshman Walt McGrory and redshirt junior T.J. Schlundt have been thrust into significant roles despite next-to-no prior in-game experience.

Despite the problems that UML presents, this game should be a relative walk in the park for the Badgers. They still feature one of the 10 or 15 best player in the country in redshirt junior forward Ethan Happ and a stunningly effective freshman guard in Brad Davison. Should UW dispatch the River Hawks, it will head into its third conference matchup of the year against Indiana Tuesday riding a season-best four-game winning streak.

Tipoff from the Kohl Center is set for 3 p.m.

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