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Wisconsin Basketball Falls Short Despite Second-Half Surge

A recap, observation, and player grades from Wisconsin Basketball’s loss to the the Baylor Bears.

Despite a furious second half rally, the Wisconsin Basketball team lost to No. 22 Baylor 70-65. The Badgers trailed by 12 at the half and were down by 19 at the 11-minute mark. But the Badgers fought back and made it a game at the end on the backs of All-American Ethan Happ and freshman Brad Davison. Ethan Happ led the Badgers with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Brad Davison had 13 points, and redshirt freshman Aleem Ford had 10.

The Badgers will face the UCLA Bruins in the Consolation game tomorrow.

Brad Davison is the second best player on the team

If you told me that before this season, I would have called you crazy. But after tough losses to both Xavier and Baylor, it’s clear that it isn’t even close. He is one of the Wisconsin’s best perimeter defenders. He is fearless on offense. He can shoot, drive, and make plays for others. I don’t know if Gard will start him yet, but he has shown he needs to be on the floor as much as possible.

The defense was horrible in the first half, better in the second

In the first half, the Badgers had some rotational issues that led to a lot of wide open shots for Baylor. They also didn’t do a good enough job getting back and playing transition defense. However, in the second half the Badgers fixed a lot of those issues. They weren’t perfect, but until Baylor took advantage of late game fouling, Wisconsin’s defense actually had them bottled up.

This team has a lot of fight

It would have been really easy for the Badgers to give up when they got down by as much as 19. But they kept fighting, slowly but surely whittling down the lead. With 2:20 to go, they had the lead all the way down to three. While they couldn’t close the deal, they did a great job fighting back. Ethan Happ and Brad Davison both stepped up in a huge way.

Andy Van Vliet is not the answer

After Van Vliet’s opening night 18 points against South Carolina State, fans were already comparing him to Frank Kaminsky. I even called him an upgrade over Vitto Brown. But now, it looks like he might not be in the rotation moving forward. Despite starting against both Xavier and Baylor, he played a grand total of 24 minutes combined in the two games. As helpful as he may be on offense, he is just too soft. He isn’t a good rebounder and is a complete liability on defense.

Grades

D’Mitrik Trice: D

Struggled on both ends of the court. Got lost several times on defense and shot 1-7 from the field.

Brevin Prtizl: C-

Looked hesitant to shoot and was only 1-5 from three-point range.

Khalil Iverson: C-

Killed Wisconsin’s rally by fouling Manu Lecomte on a three-pointer and missing a dunk. Had 7 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Andy Van Vliet: F

Only played 13 minutes. Horrible on defense, non-factor on offense.

Ethan Happ: A

23 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks. I dare you to try convince me he’s not the best player on country.

Brad Davison: A

There is no way this kid is only a freshman. I don’t believe any of you.

Aleem Ford: B

Played good defense, scored 10 points, and hit a pair of triples. He’ll be starting over Van Vliet before long.

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