The season is off to a good start for No. 24 Baylor, which has won its first three games by an average of 27.3 points while getting coach Scott Drew his 300th career victory on Friday. But the competition gets much tougher starting Monday when the Bears head to Kansas City for a date with Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Classic, followed by either No. 18 UCLA or Creighton, a trip to No. 17 Xavier and a home date with No. 6 Wichita State.
“That’s back-to-back games our turnovers have been cut way down,” Drew told reporters after Baylor raced by Alcorn State 78-61 Friday. “Defensively, we weren’t very good for the last 30 minutes of the game, but we got the win and we got everybody healthy.” Wisconsin won its first two games and played well for most of the way in Thursday’s 80-70 defeat to Xavier. “For Nov. 16, to have this type of test for us, I thought it was good,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard told the media afterward. “We’ll be able to learn a lot from tonight.” The Badgers got 21 points and eight assists from Ethan Happ, Wisconsin’s lone returning starter.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT BAYLOR (3-0): Manu Lecomte leads all Big 12 scorers at 20.7 points per game, finishing with 17 points Friday, and is 18-for-18 from the free-throw line through three games. Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. is one of two players in the conference averaging a double-double (12 points, 10.3 rebounds). The Bears are shooting 52 percent from the field while holding opponents to 39.2 percent, and have committed just 18 turnovers in their past two contests.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (2-1): Happ, a third-team AP All-American last season, leads the Badgers in scoring (17.7), rebounds (8.7) and assists (3.7) while shooting 55.9 percent from the field. Freshman Brad Davison scored a career-high 12 points with four steals off the bench against Xavier. Sophomore Brevin Pritzl is averaging 12 points and 4.3 rebounds in his first season as a starter.
1. Baylor seeks its ninth 4-0 start in the past 11 seasons.
2. Wisconsin is allowing 63.7 points per game; the Badgers gave up 62.4 points per contest last season.
3. Baylor’s six returning players have scored 79 percent of the Bears’ points through three games.
PREDICTION: Baylor 78, Wisconsin 71