Retooling No. 25 Baylor and Wisconsin face off

Two teams looking to new sources for leadership will square off Monday when Wisconsin takes on No. 25 Baylor in the second semifinal game of the 2017 CBE Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The winner will face the winner of Monday night's first game between Creighton and UCLA.

Wisconsin (2-1) is in the process of replacing four starters from a team that went 27-10 and reached the Sweet 16 last year. Junior center Ethan Happ is the only returning starter. The Badgers won their first two games before losing to No. 15 Xavier 80-70 on Thursday.

Baylor (3-0) has to replace leading scorer Johnathan Motley (17.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game), Al Freeman (9.4 points per game) and Ish Wainright (5.5 points and 5.1 rebounds) from last year's squad that also reached the Sweet 16.

Happ has been excellent early this season. He leads the Badgers in points (17.7), rebounds (8.7) and assists (3.7). Against Xavier, he finished with 21 points, eight assists and four rebounds and was assertive early when the Musketeers brought multiple defenders his way.

"I always want to play my best game," Happ said following that game. "But I definitely made some mistakes this game, so obviously it wasn't my best. There (are) so many different guys that come in and step up that, even if I'm on an off night, I think we always have a chance."

Happ needs help from the supporting cast. Forward Andy Van Vliet, who had been Wisconsin's second-leading scorer at 15.5 points per game, was held to one point and one rebound in 11 minutes against Xavier. Freshman guard Kobe King, who topped the Badgers in scoring in two exhibition games, didn't score in 12 minutes Thursday.

The Bears are streamlined this year, with only nine players seeing the court so far through three games. Baylor is led by Manu Lecomte at 20.7 points per game. Four other players are scoring in double figures: Jo Lual-Acuil (12.0), Terry Maston (10.3), Tristan Clark (10.3) and King McClure (10.0).

"(Motley, Freeman and Wainright) achieved great things while they were there," Baylor coach Scott Drew said at Big 12 media day. "But each and every year you have new guys that have an opportunity to step up. We have four seniors, Terry Maston, Nuni Omot, Manu is returning and Big Jo (Lual-Acuil) in the middle is returning, so excited for those four to have a chance to lead this team.

"Iron sharpens iron. I know TJ (Maston) is capable of scoring. Tristan Clark, our freshman, is capable. Jo has improved. So I think we will have that interior scoring at the same time. Our perimeter, with Manu, is the most proven and best returning scorer."

Despite losing their top rebounders from last year, the Bears are still tough on the glass. The level of competition definitely will pick up for the Bears, beginning with the game against the Badgers, but they have an average score of 85-58 in their first three games.

Wisconsin defeated Baylor in the 2014 Sweet 16, and the teams would have faced each other in the Elite Eight if they had both won their Sweet 16 games last year.

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