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Wisconsin Basketball Drops Road Game to Virginia

A short recap, observations, and game grades from Wisconsin’s loss to Virginia.

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On Monday night, Wisconsin dropped yet another game to a Top-25 team. This time, they lost 49-37 on the road to No. 18 Virginia. The game was a defensive slugfest, with both teams shooting very poorly. The Badgers shot 31.3% from the field, 15% from three, and 57.1% from the line. Virginia wasn’t much better. They shot 38.3 from the field and 21.4% from three.

Wisconsin was led by Ethan Happ, who had 14 points and 8 rebounds. D’Mitrik Trice tacked on 10. For Virginia, Kyle Guy had 17 points and Devon Hall had 16. No other Cavalier had more than four points.

Next, the Badgers will start conference play with a game against Ohio State on Saturday. Now on to the observations and grades.

Defensive rebounding was a problem

Missing shots is fine. Losing games to really good teams on the road is fine. What is not fine is getting completely dominated on the glass like Wisconsin did today. The Badgers gave up 14 offensive rebounds, and committed rebounding fouls or hit the ball out of bounds on several other defensive possessions. Defensive rebounding has long been a staple of this Badger program. To see them get so thoroughly manhandled in that area was embarrassing.

Defense was solid

Aside from giving the Cavaliers second chances, Wisconsin actually played very stingy defense. They forced Virginia into tough shots for most of the game. As a result, the Cavaliers scored just 48 points on 38% shooting. In addition, the Badgers didn’t allow Virginia to shoot a single free throw. In the modern college game, that is unheard of. Despite a double-digit loss, this was a very impressive performance by Wisconsin’s defense.

Nate Reuvers showed potential despite poor shooting

Through the first two games of his Badger career, Reuvers is 0-10 shooting. But he still added a lot to this team over those two games. First of all, he plays with far more energy and hustle than Van Vliet, Thomas, and Illikainen do. He took charges, boxed out, and played tough defense, despite being significantly weaker than everyone he guarded. He also did a good job tipping tough rebounds to other Wisconsin players. Reuvers is aggressive on offense. His shots will eventually start to fall. But in the meantime, it is good to see he is doing all the little things.

Perimeter shooting needs to (and will) get better

Three-point shooting was thought to be a strength of this team coming into the season. But in the four games against ranked opponents, Wisconsin has shot the ball very poorly. However, there is reason to believe that it will get better. First of all, Trice has hit 3-19 from three against ranked teams. He is too good of a shooter for that not to change. He is just picking the wrong days to be cold. We also know Brevin Pritzl, Kobe King, and Aleem Ford can shoot at a much higher level than they’ve shown. This team may never be the Warriors from deep, but they aren’t as bad as they were today.

Grades

D’Mitrik Trice: C-

He had another cold shooting day, but he had some nice floaters and mid-range jumpers. He was also good in pick-and-roll situations and had his best defensive game of the season.

Brad Davison: C-

He was only 2-10 from the field, but his toughness was once again on full display. 

Khalil Iverson: D

Did he even play tonight? When I checked, it showed that he only played 11 minutes. His leading stat was turnovers (2).

Aleem Ford: C

He hit a pair of three-pointers and played good defense. Also had four turnovers.

Ethan Happ: C+

This was Happ’s worst game in a long, long time. He had turnover issues, missed bunnies, and got dominated by Jack Salt on the boards. He still finished with 14 and 8.

Brevin Pritzl: C

He played 22 and didn’t score a single point. He rebounded and defended well though. He didn’t make many mistakes.

Charles Thomas: B-

He played five minutes and had five rebounds. He forced a three-pointer, but his rebounding may give him more minutes.

Kobe King: C

He played 21 minutes and played his best defense of the season. He also had one nice bucket on offense to go along with an ugly miss.

Nate Reuvers: B-

He struggled with his shooting, but he played with energy and confidence that Wisconsin’s other backup big men don’t.

Greg Gard: D

He had some questionable lineups, like the one without Trice, Ford, or Happ that allowed Virginia to go on a big run. Also shouldn’t have let Davison play after his shoulder got hurt.

 

 

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badger Jon Leur traded to Milwaukee Bucks

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They say you can always go home, and for one former Wisconsin Badger he’s coming back to a state he called home for four years.

Former Badgers forward Jon Leuer was traded early on Thursday morning from the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange for Leuer, the Bucks gave up the 30th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft and traded away Tony Snell.

Last season, Leuer played in 41 games for the Pistons and made just one start. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his ninth season in the NBA.

Leuer is a very similar player to Snell, but comes at a much more team-friendly salary.

In trading away Snell, the Bucks free up an additional $4 million in salary this year and another $12 million next year.

This could be seen as a way for the Bucks to pony up the big money that Khris Middleton wants from the team in order to stay in Milwaukee.

As for Leuer, he is 17th on the all-time Badgers scoring list with 1,376 points to his name. He also finished his career with 551 rebounds.

Leuer’s final season in Madison was his best statistically, as he helped lead the 2010-11 Badgers team to the Sweet 16. He averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game that year.

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers basketball land Davis twins

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After missing out on the Hauser brothers late last month, the Wisconsin Badgers added a different pair of siblings on Saturday night.

Following an offer to the brother of 4-star shooting guard Johnny Davis and an appearance at a team camp this weekend, the Davis brothers announced their pledge to the Badgers according to Badger247.

It took less than a week after head coach Greg Gard gave the O.K. to offer Jordan for the pair to commit to Wisconsin.

Johnny held offers from Marquette, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, DePaul, UNLV and others.

Jordan had offers from UW-Milwaukee and Green Bay, while also becoming a sought after recruit on the football field as well. Once he became serious about wanting to play basketball first, it seemed like a matter of time before Wisconsin offered.

That time came after seeing Jordan play in a camp last weekend.

It also came because it was time to figure out if Johnny was serious about the Badgers or not.

With the July evaluation period coming up, Wisconsin’s coaching staff put the final chips in the middle with this recruitment and it appeared to pay off.

Johnny joins as the No. 141 ranked player in the country and the No. 14 ranked combo guard in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

The twins will join Detroit, Mich. native Lorne Bowman in the 2020 class.

Wisconsin still has one scholarship available in the class as well, which is likely being held for 5-star and Wisconsin native Jalen Johnson.

After missing out on talented in-state players over and over again, this was a major win for Gard and his coaching staff considering how hard schools like West Virginia and Marquette were after Johnny’s commitment.

As for Jordan, it appears the coaching staff believes he is improving enough to get a scholarship and continue his improvement with this program.

Offers don’t come out just because it may win over a different recruit at Wisconsin. That wasn’t Bo Ryan’s style and it also isn’t Greg Gard’s style.

The trio of players put the Badgers at No. 8 in the country and No. 3 in the Big Ten in the 2020 class as of today.

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Former Badgers get No. 2 seed in The Basketball Tournament Columbus regional

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Who doesn’t want $2 million? That’s the prize at stake for winning The Basketball Tournament and a group of former Wisconsin Badgers want in.

On Tuesday it was officially announced that the Kohl Blooded team — spearheaded by former Badgers point guard Kam Taylor — will be the No. 2 seed in the Columbus regional.

They will take on No. 7 seed Mid-American Unity, which is making its second appearance in the TBT after a year off. That group represents teams from across the Mid-American conference.

As for the Badgers, the roster will be made up of some very strong names from the past. The headline names include members of the back-to-back Final Four teams in Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown. Also joining will be Jordan Taylor, Ryan Evans, Trevon Hughes and recent grad Charles Thomas. You can see the full roster here.

The regionals will take place July 19-21 in Columbus with the winner of this regional meeting seven other winners in Chicago for championship week.

All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, so you should be able to find them either streaming or on cable television.

Kohl Blooded vs. Mid-American Unity will tip at 1pm ET on Friday, July 19.

The winner will take on the winner of Red Scare (Dayton alumni) and The Region (players from Northwest Indiana) in the regional semi-final the next day.

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Badgers play final card in attempt to land 2020 G Johnny Davis

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A week after losing out on Joey and Sam Hauser, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program needs some positive momentum on the player acquisition front.

With three scholarships available in the 2020 class and two top in-state players in their sites, the Badgers coaching staff has been about as patient as possible.

On Wednesday, Badger247 reports that UW has offered Jordan Davis, the twin brother of top target Johnny Davis. It’s not a walk-on or grayshirt, but a full scholarship offer.

After two years of waiting for that offer to come, it finally did.

Jordan is an unranked player in basketball at this time, but I expect that to change once the scouting services catch wind of this offer. Johnny Davis is the No. 131 ranked player in the country, a 4-star rated prospect and the No. 3 ranked player in the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 class.

With the brothers set to make a weekend visit for team camp in two weeks, this is a move that undoubtably puts the pressure squarely on Johnny Davis at this point.

Simply put, the Badgers need to know if Davis is going to commit or if they need to move on.

Offering Jordan a full ride is about the only thing left in the Badgers quiver at this point. If getting the dream of playing basketball together at the same school and in-state no less doesn’t tip the scales, at least the Badgers know they can move on.

Is it a desperate move? In some ways one could see it as such. Clearly the Badgers want Johnny in a major way and they see offering Jordan as a critical move that could separate themselves from the competition.

However, this also isn’t a coaching staff willing to just throw away a scholarship in an effort to get a coveted player to play for them. That’s simply not Greg Gard’s style.

Jordan is also a player they see as a contributor, or he wasn’t getting an offer. Plain and simple.

There’s no doubt that this move ups the pressure, like I mentioned before. But, that’s not a bad thing, as UW needs to know where they stand heading in to July’s evaluation period.

If the Davis brothers can’t commit or at least internally give the coaching staff the information that will make them feel comfortable, they need to start getting offers out to other big time players whom they’ve been waiting to offer.

Consider UW is an underdog to land in-state five-star prospect Jalen Johnson, and you have to consider this move a smart one for the long term prospects of the 2020 class.

Will the Davis twins jump at the offer to play together at Wisconsin?

Some in the recruiting world believe this was the situation that was holding Wisconsin back all along. So, don’t be surprised to see this affect the recruitment of both players in a big way.

As for Jordan, his game has also caught the attention of Iowa and Minnesota and he did have scholarship offers from both Green Bay and Milwaukee prior to this one.

What may have really held the Badgers coaching staff and others back was the fact that Jordan is also a good player on the football side and wasn’t sure which sport he wanted to pick.

It seems like UW has gotten the clue that Jordan may be more receptive to a basketball future and pulled the trigger on the offer.

We’ll see how much longer the two stay uncommitted, but don’t be surprised to see something happen following July’s AAU season.

Letting that play out and getting all the offers out there on the table is just a smart move for the twins. From there, it’s up to them and clearly the Badgers have left no stone unturned in this situation.

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