In what was a hopefully intended to be a sacrifice for the football game later today, the Wisconsin Basketball team got embarrassed in the Kohl Center by a score of 83-58. Ohio State, which came in to the game as 10-point underdogs and the KenPom 74th ranked team, hit its first seven three-point attempts. The Buckeyes led 49-26 at the half, and never relinquished control of the game.
Uhhh… I’m not really sure. I guess it’s a positive that a Wisconsin team got crushed by Ohio State at 4 pm rather than 7 pm. But other that, it was just an atrocious effort all around. Poor offense and defense. It was easily the most embarrassing Wisconsin Basketball game I’ve ever seen. And that’s coming from someone who watched them score 33 points in a Big Ten Tournament game.
`Ok fine, I got one. The freshman class of Nate Reuvers, Brad Davison, and Kobe King looked really good. They were a lot better than their older counterparts. Davison had 16 points while showing his usual toughness. King had a couple nice drives and finishes. He finished with 10 points. Reuvers had his best game of the season, breaking into the scoring column for the first time this season. He had 10 points without missing once. While this season hasn’t been a fun one, the future is very bright in Madison.
Poor defensive rotation
Ohio State shot the lights out. It was a statistical anomaly, and it would be shocking if they shot anywhere near that well for the rest of the season. That’s fine. But what isn’t fine is the sheer number of open looks the Badgers gave up. Most of that was because of poor defensive rotation and helping off weak side shooters. It was unacceptable, and not something Badger fans are accustomed to.
Wisconsin may not make the NCAA Tournament
That is the first time in ten years of watching Wisconsin Basketball that the idea of the Badgers missing the tournament has entered my mind. Even two seasons ago after losses to Western Illinois and UW-Milwaukee, and Bo Ryan abruptly retired, I never doubted that the Badgers would dance in March. But this season feels different. They don’t have many chances for quality wins left on their schedule with the Big Ten being so down. A home loss against a sub-50 team like Ohio State certainly won’t help their case.
Most of the blame should be on the five-man class of 2015
The class of Khalil Iverson, Brevin Pritzl, Charles Thomas, Alex Illikainen, and Andy Van Vliet was a huge swing-and-miss. Iverson is a solid defender that still has below-average offensive skills. Pritzl is a decent 7th-man at best that never lived up to his four-star hype. The three big men have been complete busts.
This five-man class was supposed to be the core of this team. Instead, Gard has been forced to rely on four freshmen and a true sophomore starting point guard to pick up the slack. With Wisconsin’s history of scouting talent and developing players, the fact that a five-man class has turned out so poorly is baffling.
D’Mitrik Trice: D
Another loss, another horrible shooting game from Trice. What’s new?
Brad Davison: B
He had a team-high 16 points while displaying his normal toughness and competitiveness. He forced a lot, resulting in four turnovers, but it’s hard to blame him.
Khalil Iverson: D-
He had zero points. His lack of development has been really disappointing.
Aleem Ford: D
He barely played because he can’t stop fouling.
Ethan Happ: C-
He is being forced to do it all himself. No player in the country can succeed with the amount of focus Happ has on him.
Kobe King: B+
He had 10 points on 4-8 shooting from the field. He is going to be a star.
Nate Reuvers: A-
He had 10 points on 4-4 shooting from the field and 2-2 from three-point range. He’s showing why a redshirt would have been a mistake.
Charles Thomas: D
He would have had a good old-fashioned Mark Titus style trillion except for a missed shot and a foul.