The Wisconsin basketball team has had a rough time at home this season
First it was Western Illinois. Then it was Milwaukee. Now, on Saturday, the Badgers lost their third home game on the young season, falling to Marquette at home. “Young” is the keyword, although not in the sense of the season, but the players working through a tough stretch early in their careers.
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With only two established rotation players back this season in Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, and only two more who played any significant minutes last season in Zak Showalter and Vitto Brown, the Badgers are a young, young group with little experience.
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Bo Ryan alluded to the team’s youth following the team’s home- and- season-opening loss to the Western Illinois Leathernecks, when the Badgers shot just 35.5 percent from the field on the way to a 69-67 loss.
“Now you know why I was saying earlier. We’ve got a long way to go. But you guys thought I was saying the same old stuff. But I think you see now.”
A common theme from that loss and the Badgers 68-67 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday was poor shooting, as the Badgers shot just 36.4 percent from the field on the way to dropping their first game to the Milwaukee Panthers in the last 23 tries.
In Wisconsin’s 57-55 loss to Marquette on Saturday? You guessed it: 36.4 percent from the field was the line for the Badgers.
While the Kohl Center has been the Badgers safe haven for many years, this season has been vastly different. But the good news for this team is that even in the midst of three losses at home in the non-conference season, in just barely hanging on to a 4-3 winning record at the Kohl Center, the Badgers have been very close despite those three losses.
In each case the Badgers lost by two points or less, and in each case they’ve shown fight to the end, often having a last-chance look that didn’t fall.
The record might look bad, but this group is fighting through poor second halves to stay in the game when shots aren’t falling, so there is plenty of opportunity to turn things around.
With a rough go in the non-conference season, the Badgers know they need to be strong in Big Ten play, and Wisconsin fans will have to trust that Bo Ryan will get them ready for the conference season during these last few non-conference games.
Stay tuned to Badger of Honor for more as the season continues.