Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Badgers Basketball: Hot Start Offensively Covering Up Shaky Defense

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers are off to a hot start winning their first five games of the season, the third time that has happened under head coach Bo Ryan. With an offense that is averaging 81 points per game, it’s easy to get excited about this more than usual up-tempo team. However it’s the defensive play that is a little disconcerting.

Through five games the Badgers have allowed 68.6 points per game, not exactly typical of Bo Ryan teams from the past. Last season the Badgers only gave up just a sliver under 56 ppg, good for 7th best in the nation. The most points they allowed in a single game a season ago was 84 in a loss to Creighton. Other than that teams were lucky if they lit up the scoreboard for 60 points against that stingy defense.

The lowest output an opponent has scored against the Badgers is 53 by an undermanned, but good Florida Gators team. In the four other games Bucky has surrendered 75 to St. John’s, 66 to UW-Green Bay, 85 in a high scoring affair against North Dakota and on Thursday night 64 to Bowling Green.

Now some of this does have to do with the new rules implemented this season which allows for more scoring. But that’s no excuse for a Bo Ryan team that is usually one of the best on the defensive end of the floor in the Big Ten and nationally.

Against the likes of Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State, getting into a track meet will mean a loss more than likely for Wisconsin. There’s plenty of time until January 2nd when Big Ten play opens up to tighten the reigns on the defense, but they must start now if they want to see themselves on top of the conference.

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