November 27, 2014

Wisconsin was the only ranked team to survive an unpredictable first day of action at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

With the second-ranked Badgers now a clear favorite among the four survivors in the winner's bracket, they'll look to continue their non-conference success against Georgetown in Thursday's semifinal in the Bahamas.

Wisconsin (5-0) is the highest-ranked team in the field and figured to be challenged by No. 5 North Carolina, No. 18 Florida and No. 22 UCLA at some point. While all of those teams were toppled in Wednesday's first round by unranked squads, however, the Badgers secured a 72-43 win over Alabama-Birmingham.

"We're just glad to be playing in the winner's bracket," said coach Bo Ryan, whose team is 5-0 for the third time in four seasons.

The Badgers continued to play some of the nation's stingiest defense. They held the Blazers to 35.3 percent shooting and forced a season-high 19 turnovers while handing them their worst loss in more than six years. Wisconsin has held four of its opponents to 35.4 percent shooting or worse, with Boise State's 42.9 field-goal percentage in Saturday's 78-54 win marking the highest they've allowed.

"We played pretty well on the defensive end," said Josh Gasser, who scored 10 points and was 2 of 2 from 3-point range to improve to 8 of 12 on the season.

Ryan's squad, which hasn't trailed by more than two points and led wire-to-wire Wednesday, is allowing just 46.6 points per game. The single-season low mark for points allowed under Ryan was the 53.2 per game surrendered by the 2011-12 team.

Wisconsin has been maybe equally impressive offensively, shooting at least 48.9 percent or better in each game. The Badgers were 27 of 52 (51.9 percent) Wednesday, with Frank Kaminsky scoring a team-high 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting with eight rebounds.

The preseason All-American is averaging 18.6 points on 62.3 percent shooting.

"As fun as Atlantis is with all the water slides and everything, this is a business trip for us," Kaminsky said.

Wisconsin has won 21 straight regular-season non-conference games and 43 of 45 dating back to Dec. 1, 2010.

"The team sitting in front of us tomorrow is a monster," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.

The Hoyas (4-0) have had some success recently against giants, though, splitting their last eight meetings with Top 5 opponents.

Georgetown advanced with a 66-65 overtime win over the Gators. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera hit the game-winning basket with 3.4 seconds left - the last of 21 lead changes. He was 7 of 14 for a game-high 17 points after averaging 9.0 points on 31.8 percent shooting in his first three contests.

Joshua Smith came in as the team's leading scorer with 17.3 points per game, but the 6-foot-10, 350-pounder was whistled for two flagrant fouls and played only 17 minutes, scoring eight points.

Baskets could be difficult to come by for both teams as Georgetown's opponents are shooting 35.0 percent while averaging 63.8 points.

Wednesday marks the schools' third meeting but first in nearly 32 years. Georgetown won 71-43 in Los Angeles on Dec. 28, 1982, and Wisconsin won 82-62 in Milwaukee on Dec. 28, 1971.

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