University of Wisconsin sophomore Johnny Davis speaks to the media about how the Badgers took control en route to a 69-58 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in the opening round of the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas.
Fast fact: Monday's win marks the third straight time the Badgers won on the first day in the Maui Invitational. The Badgers took third in 2009, while they fell to No. 4 North Carolina in the 2016 title game.
Coach: Greg Gard, 122-71 in his seventh season at UW
Probable starters: Steven Crowl, Johnny Davis, Brad Davison, Chucky Hepburn and Tyler Wahl
Player to watch: Davis scored a career-high 21 points and tied his career high with nine rebounds against Texas A&M after an injury forced him to miss UW’s last game.
Fast fact: The No. 12 Cougars are the only ranked team in the Maui Invitational. This is Houston’s second appearance in the tournament, improving to 2-2 with the win over Butler.
Coach: Kelvin Sampson, 171-64 in his seventh season at Houston
Probable starters: Marcus Sasser, Kyler Edwards, Taze Moore, Fabian White Jr. and Reggie Chaney
Player to watch: White had a career-high 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting against Butler. He’s averaging 10.5 points per game.
The Badgers have yet to face a team ranked in the AP Top 25, but that will change when they tip off against the Cougars. Houston is the only ranked team in the Maui Invitational after Oregon fell out of the latest Top 25.
UW’s highest-ranked opponent on KenPom.com so far was Providence, which checks in at 70th. The Badgers are 38th, while Houston is eighth.
The Cougars’ top opponent so far this season was Virginia, which they beat 67-47 on Nov. 16. Virginia in No. 60 on KenPom.com.
Houston has three players who are averaging at least 10 points. Sasser, Edwards and White are combining for 44.25 points per game.
Sasser, a junior guard, entered the Butler game leading the Cougars and American Athletic Conference with 23.3 points per game. He only scored nine points on 4-of-7 shooting over 23 minutes. His average dropped to 19.75 points per game, which still leads the team.
Edwards, a senior guard, is averaging 14 points and 5.5 rebounds. He ranks in the top 15 in the AAC in both scoring and rebounding.
White Jr. scored 21 points against Butler to raise his average to 10.5 points per game.
Houston has limited its turnovers to 9.75 per game. The Badgers’ first four opponents averaged 14.0 turnovers per game. UW averages 9.3 turnovers per game.
The Cougars have connected on 46.2% of their shots overall and 39.8% from 3-point range. The Badgers have made 38.6% of their field goals, but only 28.2% from beyond the arc.
UW is averaging 42.3 rebounds per game, while Houston is averaging 37.5.
Nine players returned to the Cougars from last season’s Final Four squad. Four of the five starters are returners, with the lone exception being Moore, who transferred from California State Bakersfield. Sasser is the only returner who averaged in double figures last season. He started in 28 of the team’s 29 games.
Photos: Wisconsin men's basketball rallies back for victory over Texas A&M in Maui Invitational