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Wisconsin vs. Rhode Island: how to watch, game preview and open thread

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With their B1G/ACC Challenge matchup on hold, the Badgers welcome the Rams to the Kohl Center on Wednesday afternoon.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (3-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) will not be participating in the B1G/ACC Challenge on Wednesday due to the No. 25 Louisville Cardinals having COVID-19 issues in their program. However, the Rhode Island Rams (3-2 overall, 0-0 Atlantic 10) had some free time and agreed to travel out to Madison for a fill-in game!

The Rams have a deep and versatile team that will run 10 guys at the Badgers. While the starting lineup for URI doesn’t have a lot of size, the Rams have twin brothers 6-foot-9 Makhi Mitchell and 6-foot-10 Makhel Mitchell who can both protect the rim and grab rebounds.

Point guard Fatts Russell is a dynamo with the ball and a stout defender despite his slight size. He was named to the 2021 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List (along with Nate Reuvers) so you know he’s a talented player.

The Badgers will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing defeat at Marquette on Friday, a point that Aleem Ford mentioned during his media availability on Monday. He said the team was excited to get back on the court quickly, and not have to wait a whole week like a football team would, so they can get the bad taste of the MU game out of their mouths.

Rhode Island tagging my arch-nemesis, sentient college basketball news breaking robot Jon Rothstein, in their countdown to game day tweet makes this game all the more personal to me.

How to watch/listen

TV: BTN, 3:30 p.m., CT, Jeff Levering, Ben Brust

Streaming: FOX Sports Go

Radio/Satellite: 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 84; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Kohl Center

Line: Wisconsin -9.5

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 83%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • Wisconsin leads the all-time series with Rhode Island, 2-0.
  • UW and the Rams last met Dec. 3, 1999, with Wisconsin earning a 66-43 home win in Madison. The year prior, UW earned a 65-59 win on the road against Rhode Island on Nov. 28, 1998.
  • Wisconsin holds a 10-8 all-time record against teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference.
  • Rhode Island’s offense is averaging 79.2, with the Rams scoring 84 or more points in three of five games so far.
  • All 10 players in Rhode Island’s rotation are averaging at least 4.7 points per game.
  • Seven different Badgers are averaging between six and 14 ppg.
  • Nate Reuvers’ next blocked shot will make him the blocked shot king at Wisconsin. The man he’s tied with had some words of wisdom.
  • The senior forward is just 123 points away from joining teammates Brad Davison (1,073) and D’Mitrik Trice (1,030) in Wisconsin’s 1,000-point club.
  • Despite losing to Marquette last Friday, the Badgers still own an 11-game home winning streak which is the longest active home winning streak in the Big Ten.
  • UW committed a season-high 22 fouls in their last game against Marquette.

Probable starters

Wisconsin

  • D’Mitrik Trice, 6-foot, redshirt senior, guard, No. 0
  • Aleem Ford, 6-foot-8 redshirt senior, forward, No. 2
  • Micah Potter, 6-foot-10, redshirt senior, center, No. 11
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 34
  • Nate Reuvers, 6-foot-11, senior, forward, No. 35

Rhode Island

  • Fatts Russell, 5-foot-11, senior, guard, No. 1
  • Jeremy Shepard, 6-foot-1, senior, guard, No. 2
  • Antwan Walker, 6-foot-7, redshirt junior, forward, No. 5
  • Malik Martin, 6-foot-6, junior, guard, No. 12
  • D.J. Johnson, 6-foot-7, redshirt junior, forward, No. 25