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Battle 4 Atlantis: Wisconsin vs. Georgetown preview

A look at the keys to the Badgers stopping the Hoyas' momentum in the semifinal matchup of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin (5-0) was the outlier in the otherwise competitive first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, dominating UAB 72-43 on Wednesday night. Georgetown (4-0) was on the other end of the spectrum, needing extra time to overcome Florida in a 66-65 slugfest in the opening day's final game.

The Gators presented the Hoyas with their first test of the season after undefeated Georgetown handled its first three cupcake opponents at home with relative ease. Georgetown responded with a resilient effort, but one that featured poor shooting (3-of-13 from behind the arc, 15-of-22 from the line) and sloppy ball handling (seven assists to 19 turnovers.)

The Hoyas are looking to rebound from a disappointing 18-15 mark last year, the second-lowest win total of John Thompson III's 10-year stint at the university. Georgetown appears poised for a bounce-back year after returning all but two of its rotation players from that team and welcoming a large freshman class that has already paid dividends.

What to look for from Georgetown

1. Can D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera get hot?

Georgetown is not a good shooting team; it is now 15-of-57 (26 percent) from three-point range after shooting a below-average 33 percent from that distance last year. The exception is Smith-Rivera, who averaged 17.6 points per game thanks in part to making 39 percent of his five three-point attempts per game. However, the streaky Indianapolis native is off to a putrid start to the season. His seven made field goals against Florida matched his season total heading into the game.

Smith-Rivera is a guy that can get going quickly, though, and his game-winning shot against the Gators could be the spark he needed.

2. Length, size and more length

There are few teams in college basketball that can match the bodies Wisconsin throws on the court at one time. Georgetown is one of the few, with its eight core players against Florida boasting an average height of 6'6 and not featuring a player under 6'2. Thompson also sparingly used an additional 6'9 freshman and a 6'7 sophomore.

3. Despite that length, Georgetown struggled on the glass

Florida was able to corral 18 offensive rebounds in the overtime thriller. While Georgetown has the benefit of length across the board, it comes in the slender, wiry mold. Florida's front line aggressively attacked the glass and was able to create second chances for its struggling offense throughout the game. This appears to be a problem Georgetown has had even against weaker competition, allowing 13 offensive rebounds per game in its first three games. Look for Nigel Hayes and Frank Kaminsky to make their presences felt on the offensive glass on Thursday.

4. What kind of impact can Joshua Smith have?

While Smith-Rivera is the exception to Georgetown's shooting woes, Joshua Smith is the exception to Georgetown's physical makeup. The 6'10, 350-pound mammoth is impossible to keep out of the paint offensively, allowing him to score at an impressive rate over the course of his career. The senior transfer from UCLA is playing the best ball of his career, scoring 60 points in 88 minutes through the first four games this season.

His problem is staying on the court, whether because of a lack of conditioning or his inability to avoid foul trouble. The latter was on full display against Florida as he was limited to just 17 minutes thanks to his four fouls. At least two of those fouls came on the offensive end in the form of charges. We all know about Wisconsin's penchant to draw charges. That, combined with Kaminsky's ability to draw him to uncomfortable depths on the other end, could result in a short day for the behemoth.

The game will tip off at 2:30 on ESPN. Enjoy your Turkey Day, everyone!