Busting Brackets

Tennessee vs. Wisconsin: 2023-24 college basketball game preview, TV schedule

Nov 6, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard looks on during the second half against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard looks on during the second half against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports /

The ninth ranked Tennessee Volunteers travel to Madison, Wisconsin to take on a reloaded Badgers team full of potential this Friday.

When: Friday, November 10th, 2023 — 9:00pm EST

Where: Kohl Center — Madison, Wisconsin 

Where to Watch: Peacock TV Exclusive 

With the 2023-2024 basketball season finally underway, it’s time to get excited about some great matchups for the first weekend of the season. #9 Tennessee will be making their way to the Kohl Center, the home of the Wisconsin Badgers in what should one of the first great head-to-head matchups of the season.

Tennessee comes into this season in a bit of a reset mode having lost Julian Phillips as he enters the NBA as well as some other notable players in Olivier Nkamhoua who transferred to Michigan among others. That being said, their win against Tennessee Tech for game one of the season showed a lot of promising signs. In their 80-42 victory against the Golden Eagles, they showed a few promising qualities.

Defensively, the Volunteers shut Tennessee Tech down efficiently by forcing them to be just 2-12 from three and shooting 27.5% on the floor overall. They also put up a solid 80 points in an efficient manner shooting 40% on the dot from three point range and 46% from the field. If Tennessee is able to hold this efficiency up against an underrated opponent in Wisconsin, this can mean great things.

Senior guard Dalton Knecht paved the way for Tennessee posting 17 points with Josiah-Jordan James right behind him with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists on they. Off the bench, Tennessee got 36 points led by Jordan Gainey getting 14 which is key for depth especially in this game. The Volunteers have had some great success the last few years and this year despite some roster moves, they look like they have another season to make a deep run and be a contender in March ahead of them.

Wisconsin has had a somewhat quiet offseason, but also is a sneaky team coming into this season. The Badgers are returning all of their previous starters and have some great depth which should allow this team to really build off of last season. They showed flashes in their campaign last year playing tough opponents like Kansas and Purdue really close and also taking some impressive wins in the process. However, their glaring weakness was their offensive woes really throughout the year.

Well, in game one this season the Badgers scored 105 points against Arkansas State in an impressive offensive performance. They shot a blazing 50% from three shooting 65% from the field. Led by Chuckey Hepburn with 20 points with three other players in Max Klesmit, AJ Storr, and John Blackwell all getting over 10 points, the offense certainly looks to be firing on all cylinders.

Another promising feature of their performance was the bench giving great quality minutes in game which shows that the depth for Wisconsin goes a little further than their Friday night counterparts so far. Ironically, the question for them will be the defensive performance in a program that typically plays a much more lockdown style. Nonetheless it was only game one, and head coach Greg Gard has typically led defensively strong teams.

So with all of this in mind for both squads, the game will come down to a few things.

  1. Can Wisconsin continue a similar level of offensive production? This is the same team that had struggling offense often just a season ago. However, some change in pace and he continuity of the roster seems to suggest they can be a score first kind of team.
  2. Can either team stop the other’s top scorers? In particular, can Wisconsin limit Dalton Knecht and Josiah-Jordan James who look to be where Tennessee likes to run a lot of their offense through. For Tennessee, it will be more of a team effort with the depth the Badgers bring, bu certainly neutralizing Chuckey Hepburn would be key for them
  3. Who will control the tempo? Wisconsin had traditionally been a slower paced team, but showed the ability to push tempo too last game. If they can dictate the tempo of the game to their liking, it can really allow them to push and attack from many levels in their starting rotation especially.

Tennessee comes in as the better team at first glance, but with Wisconsin being at home after an impressive performance and a solid squad all around, this will truly be a tough matchup for the Vols. Barttorvik gives Tennessee a 51% edge which shows just how close this game is going to likely be. It’ll be the battle of a somewhat new look Tennessee versus a tried and true Wisconsin.

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With such a tight matchup, it’s hard to say who will come out on top. However, expect the Vols to come in and take care of business through such a promising roster and potential. That being said don’t be shocked if Wisconsin pulls it all together and makes down the ninth ranked team in what should be a higher scoring game when all is said and done.