Wisconsin closes out its non-conference schedule Friday night when it hosts Florida A&M. The Badgers can run their win streak to seven games with a victory.
And a win is exactly what this should be. The Rattlers (2-10) have yet to beat an NCAA opponent this season and were picked to finish last in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
Wisconsin vs. Florida A&M basketball time, details
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Date: Friday, Dec. 23
Location: Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin
The line: Wisconsin is a 39-point favorite.
Which TV channel is Wisconsin basketball vs. Florida A&M on?
It will be televised nationally on Big Ten Network.
How can I watch Wisconsin vs. Florida A&M online?
It can be viewed online via BTN2Go.
How can I listen to Wisconsin vs. Florida A&M on the radio?
It can be heard on the Badgers Sports Network, via 101.5 WIBA-FM.
Wisconsin vs. Florida A&M basketball keys to the game
1. Will Wisconsin be focused?
These games can be dangerous. It has been nine days since the Badgers last took the floor in a 73-59 win over Green Bay. Since then, regular students have left campus for break and the team has gotten out of its everyday routine. Plus, Christmas is just two days away. It’s a coach’s nightmare.
Greg Gard will do everything in his power to make Wisconsin treat Florida A&M with respect, but the players know this isn’t a showcase event. Luckily, Gard can point to Thursday’s slate of games, which saw Ohio State, Michigan and Northwestern all squeak by in similar spots.
2. Final tune-up
This is the last game before Wisconsin starts Big Ten play, meaning it is a last chance to fine-tune before the brutal grind that the Badgers hope will last through March. Wisconsin has the honor of starting its conference slate against Rutgers on Dec. 27, so things don’t need to be perfect, but back-to-back road games at Indiana and Purdue loom.
Wisconsin doesn’t have much that needs improving. The Badgers are averaging 84.3 points per game and shooting at a 52.3 percent clip in their past six games. Defensively, they’ve held eight of 12 opponents to season-low point totals and rank 18th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com.
Grab a win, keep everyone healthy and wish everyone a merry Christmas on the way out the door: those should be the goals Friday night.
3. Desmond Williams
You’ll know how well Wisconsin read the scouting report by how it guards Florida A&M’s best player. Desmond Williams averages 16 points and has scored 20 in each of the Rattlers’ past two outings. Hold him under that, and the Badgers can carve their Christmas ham by halftime.
On the other hand, if Wisconsin doesn’t give Williams the respect he deserves, it could give Florida A&M the confidence to hang around. The best player on one of the worst teams in college basketball still needs to be treated as the best player. Even if that team has yet to win an NCAA game.