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Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Houston: how to watch, game preview and open thread

The Badgers continue their Tour de Texas at the Maui Las Vegas. This is all very confusing.

Butler v Houston Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

After securing a big comeback win against Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the Maui Invitational on Monday afternoon, the Wisconsin Badgers (3-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) are back in action on Tuesday afternoon against the No. 12 Houston Cougars (4-0 overall, 0-0 American).

The Coogs jumped out to a 17-0 lead against Butler on Monday in their own quarterfinal matchup and never looked back, winning by 18, 70-52. In other Maui Invitational news, Oregon pounded host Chaminade and St. Mary’s upset Notre Dame by three to set up the other semifinal contest.

Houston lost a bunch of contributors, including All-America guard Quentin Grimes, from last season’s Final Four team but they have fully reloaded and are looking to make another deep run in March. Marcus Sasser had a quiet game, by his standards, against Butler but is averaging 19.8 ppg and 3.8 apg this season while shooting 46.4% from beyond the arc. Sasser is also ranked No. 7 in KenPom’s player of the year rankings.

The Cougars will be Wisconsin’s toughest test of the season so far, obviously, as the are the No. 3 defense and the No. 11 offense as ranked by KenPom. They don’t have a ton of height, but their guards rebound extremely well and they are also shooting 39.8% from deep on the season. The Badgers will not be able to get away with a slow start against the Cougars, as Houston will bury them, just like they did to Butler.

Still! It’ll be exciting to see the young Badgers take on one of the best teams in the country.

How to watch/listen

TV: ESPN, 4 p.m. CT, Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas

Streaming: ESPN App; WatchESPN

Radio/Satellite: WIBA 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 195; Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas

DraftKings Line: Wisconsin + 7.5
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.)

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 32%
Torvik Wisconsin win percentage: 24%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • After beating Texas A&M on Monday afternoon, the Badgers have reached the semis in each of their last three visits to the Maui Invitational.
  • Wisconsin is now 6-4 all-time in the Maui Invitational.
  • Wisconsin and Houston have met twice, playing a home and home series in 1964 and 1965 with each team winning on its home floor. The Badgers claimed a 76-65 win in Madison before the Cougars answered with a 82-57 win in Houston.
  • UW went 2-1 against Kelvin Sampson-led Indiana in 2007 and 2008.
  • In facing No. 12 Houston, the Badgers are looking for their 22nd win over a ranked opponent under Greg Gard.
  • UW’s last win over a top-12 foe was an 85-76 win at No. 12 Michigan State last season (Dec. 25, 2020).
  • Johnny Davis led UW against A&M, setting career highs with 21 points and nine rebounds. He also added two assists and two steals.
  • Davis’ 21 points equal the second-best scoring output for a Badger in the Maui Invitational, trailing only the 24 points scored by Trevon Hughes against Arizona in 2009.
  • Brad Davison scored 19 points on Monday and is tied with D’Mitrik Trice for 14th on UW’s all-time scoring ledger with 1,430 career points. He needs 25 to pass Kirk Penney (1,454) for 13th place.
  • UW went 15-for-17 at the free throw line, making more FTs than TAMU attempted.
  • Wisconsin out-rebounded the Aggies 36-29, including 11-5 on the offensive glass.

Potential Starters


  • Johnny Davis, 6-foot-5, sophomore, guard, No. 1
  • Tyler Wahl, 6-foot-9, junior, forward, No. 5
  • Steven Crowl, 7-foot, sophomore, forward, No. 22
  • Chucky Hepburn, 6-foot-2, freshman, guard, No. 23
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, super senior, guard, No. 34


  • Marcus Sasser, 6-foot-2, junior, guard, No. 0
  • Jamal Shead, 6-foot-1, sophomore, guard, No. 1
  • Taze Moore, 6-foot-5, senior, wing, No. 4
  • Kyler Edwards, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 11
  • Fabian White, 6-foot-8, senior, forward, No. 35