The NCAA allows teams an overseas trip every four years, and it seems as if the timing couldn’t be more perfect for the Wisconsin Badgers of 2017-18.
With four starters to replace and a lot of youth, the Badgers’ trip to Australia and New Zealand seems vital to getting off to the right foot when the season starts.
Speaking of getting off on the right foot, no player perhaps needed the confidence boost that this kind of a trip could provide more than sophomore guard Brevin Pritzl.
He came in to last season with a reputation as a three-point specialist with defensive deficiencies. Pritzl ended the season as a defensive dynamo and a liability as a shooter.
2017 seems like a perfect time for a player like Pritzl to turn over a new leaf. If one game in a preseason tour is any indication, Pritzl has shaken off any and all shooting rust that remained from a brutal broken foot suffered in 2015.
He led the Badgers to an 85-75 victory, scoring a team-high 28 points in the win. That total including going 7-of-9 from beyond the arc, finally showing what those who have seen practice knew — Pritzl can flat out score from deep.
UW took all four quarters to get the 10-point win, ending up tied at 75-75 at the end of the third quarter. But, getting that first victory and showing he can indeed score lifted a lot off the shoulders of Pritzl and his teammates.
“It was good to finally be back on our feet playing basketball again,” Pritzl said, via UWBadgers.com. “Today was just about doing the things that we do in practice and executing them. When shots are open you have to take them and we just had a really good team flow to find shots.”
Star forward Ethan Happ did his usual damage down low, putting up yet another double-double in his career. Happ had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while also having three assists and four steals.
With so much turnover on the roster, it was a good start for freshman guard Brad Davison. He had 13 points and went 6-of-7 from the free throw line. It wasn’t just offense though, as Davison added four rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Junior Khalil Iverson also was in double digits, adding 10 points as he got the start in this game.
He was joined as a starter by Happ and Pritzl, along with D’Mitrick Trice and Alex Illikainen.
Wisconsin will take on the same New Zealand Breakers team, with the matchup taking place in Tauranga, New Zealand. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30am CT on Thursday, Aug. 17. No live stream has been announced for this game either.