Last week Wisconsin bounced back from its lone loss of the year against Duke with two double-digit victories in Milwaukee. The team finished up its three-game swing versus in-state rivals with a defensive clinic against against Marquette and then an offensive outburst against UWM to the tune of 93 points on over 60 percent shooting from the field.
Wisconsin (9-1) can expect similar success as it returns home Saturday to face Nicholls State (1-4), a team that has lost by 27 points or more to the three major conference teams it has played this year. That includes a 29-point loss at Michigan, making Nicholls State the only small conference team to travel to Ann Arbor and lose in the last couple weeks.
Aside from pointing out what now must be considered a disappointing loss to the Wolverines, I don't know how else to illustrate how lopsided this matchup is other than with a slew of statistics. If you want to take my word for it, just skip below and tell me what you think will be higher in Madison on Saturday: the margin of victory or the temperature.
Only four teams in the country allow more scoring than Nicholls State's 86 points per game. The team's defensive ineptitude is caused by a unique blend of an inability to defend or rebound. Despite allowing opponents to shoot nearly 48 percent from the field, the Colonels are also second-worst in the country with 13.8 offensive rebounds allowed per game thanks to opponents' 43 percent offensive rebounding percentage.
Offensively, things don't get much better. Nicholls State's 60 points per game generate a scoring margin that also ranks in the bottom five in the nation. The team shoots under 43 percent from the field, under 60 percent from the line, and under 30 percent from behind the arc while posting a 4:5 assist-to-turnover ratio.
What does Nicholls State have? A deep rotation and a decent amount of length. The Colonels have given nine or more minutes to nine players in every game this year. In fact, reserve guard Amin Torres leads Nicholls State in scoring at 11.4 points per game, despite being only seventh on the team in minutes (15.6 per game). Against Michigan, eight players were on the court between 15 and 24 minutes. Seven of those nine core players stand 6'4" or taller, but none of them are listed at over 200 pounds. That explains a lot.
Nicholls State has been adept at turning the ball over, ranking in the top 20 in steals with over nine per game. But if there's a worse thing to hang your hat on against the conscientious Badgers, I can't think of it.
In short, this is a nightmare matchup for Nicholls State. Like the UWM game, expect Bo to roll the ball out in atypical fashion again on Saturday and enjoy watching the Badgers take turns putting the ball through the hoop.