College basketball today: Wisconsin-Temple is a key early-season matchup for the Badgers
What you need to know in college basketball for Wednesday, Dec. 6:
1. Wisconsin at Temple could end up being a game that both teams look back on as meaningful in March. The Badgers finally righted themselves with a win at Penn State, but their growth could be stunted if they don’t show up at Temple. Winning two straight true road wins (remember, the committee doesn’t look at conference affiliation) would do wonders for a shaky profile at this juncture. Getting wins away from the Kohl Center will help the Badgers immensely as they try to figure out how to close games. Interestingly, this is actually Temple’s first home game; the Owls have been road warriors to date by playing in South Carolina, New York, at La Salle (still a road game even though it’s in Phily), and in D.C.. Temple still has games vs. Villanova and at Georgia to enhance its profile before AAC play begins.
2. St. Bonaventure-Canisius in Buffalo may not jump up off the page, but the Bonnies now have a chance to establish themselves as the counter-punch to Rhode Island in the A-10 by showing their true potential. The Bonnies have their lead guard back in Jaylen Adams, and Matt Mobley can return to his natural position on the wing.
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3. Rhode Island at Alabama should be a high-level affair. The Rams are riding high after knocking off Providence at home last Saturday. They are getting great balance with their perimeter play, a tough matchup at both ends (containing dribble penetration and dealing with their pesky behavior on the defensive end). The Rams already own a neutral win over Seton Hall and a home win over the Friars. Get a road win at Alabama, and the resume will be enhanced even more. The Tide had been playing on the edges (see their UT-Arlington squeaker) and finally got burned at home vs. UCF. This is the last game E.C. Matthews will sit out. He’s due back next week after sitting out with a wrist injury. The Rams will have to find a way to tame Bama star Collin Sexton, easily the toughest matchup they’ve had to date.
4. Washington vs. Kansas at the Sprint Center in Kansas City should be an offense-first game. The Huskies have had little trouble scoring under Mike Hopkins; the issue will be can the Huskies defend well enough, especially on the perimeter? Devonte Graham has been on a tear for the Jayhawks, scoring 35 in their win over Syracuse last weekend in Miami. Kansas is averaging 91 PPG and giving up only 61 PPG. This is a tough week for Washington: after this matchup, the Huskies come home to play Gonzaga Sunday night. Hopkins will get his first look at that rivalry and how 'Zags Nation extends into Seattle.
5. Before the game was cancelled because of California's wildfires, Montana at UCLA was going to be the last of a four-game stretch before the Bruins' schedule picks up with a road game at Michigan and a home game against Cincinnati. The Bruins have been scoring at a higher clip the past few weeks, making 11 threes in the win over Detroit. Montana, save the win at Pitt, has been two different teams home and road. The Grizzlies haven’t been as tight defensively on the road as they have been in Missoula. And UCLA needs to continue to be in the headlines for the right reasons — winning games and playing well.