Madison, WI (Sports Network) - The Southeastern Louisiana Lions take on the
23rd-ranked Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center in Madison this afternoon in
the 2012-13 season opener for both squads.
SE Louisiana was rather lackluster in the Southland Conference a year ago,
going just 12-17 overall with a 5-11 mark in league play. The Lions did not
fare well at all playing games on the road, as they won just one of their 14
contests outside of Hammond, Louisiana.
Under head coach Bo Ryan, Wisconsin continues to prove year in and year out
that it is not only one of the best teams in the Big Ten Conference, but in
the nation as well. The Badgers put together another outstanding season in
2011-12, going 26-10 overall (third-most wins in school history) and 12-6 in
conference, culminating in their second straight run to the NCAA Tournament's
Sweet 16. Wisconsin has been a model of consistency, qualifying for the Big
Dance in 14 straight seasons.
This bout marks the first time these non-conference foes have met on the
SE Louisiana was a dreadful scoring team last season, as it shot just 41.1
percent from the floor in putting up less than 60 ppg, but it expects to
receive a huge boost this season with its star shooting guard back in the
lineup. Brandon Fortenberry was one of the Southland Conference's most
explosive scorers (17.6 ppg), but he only played in seven games while missing
the rest of the season due to injury. Fortenberry's presence will only help
his teammates' production. Roosevelt Johnson (11.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg) returns for
his senior season as one of the league's best forwards, and he was even better
down the stretch by putting up 17.1 ppg and 10.6 rpg over the final seven
games. Jeremy Campbell (7.7 ppg) and Todd Nelson (6.5 ppg) also expect to be
big contributors from the guard position.
A staple in coach Ryan's game plan has always been an unrelenting effort at
the defensive end of the floor, and 2011-12 was no different as Wisconsin held
its opponents to a national-low 53.2 ppg on 38.9 shooting from the field,
meaning that a modest offensive effort (64.0 ppg) was still more than enough
to win most times out. The offensive production is expected to take a hit now
that top scorer Jordan Taylor (14.8 ppg) has departed, but the Badgers have
savvy veterans who are more than capable of picking up the slack. Seniors Ryan
Evans (11.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Jared Berggren (10.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg) have been
consistent performers throughout their careers, and they will continue to play
crucial leadership roles. A pair of three-point specialists in Ben Brust (7.3
ppg) and Josh Gasser (7.6 ppg) are very important in extending the floor for
the Badgers. Mike Bruesewitz (5.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) will surely play a valuable
role in the frontcourt at some point this season, but he is out indefinitely
as he recovers from off-season surgery.
The Sports Network