Wisconsin Basketball: Time to Panic for Badgers

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Justin Robinson
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Justin Robinson /

It wasn’t clear whether it was time to panic for Badgers until after the first conference game to make a call. After a slaughtering at home, it’s time to sound the alarm. Wisconsin basketball is officially in panic mode.

It’s time to panic for Wisconsin basketball and I’m usually the most optimistic person. The argument Bucky had going for itself was that all four teams that they fell to were ranked opponents.

If there was any positive to hang your hat on it was that the Badgers took care of business against the cupcakes.  Nothing was ugly about their wins over South Carolina State, Yale and Milwaukee. There was still some hope.

The Badgers were going to open up a double-header against Ohio State with a basketball match up before the big football game. It was at the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball
Wisconsin Badgers Basketball /

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball

The Buckeyes were playing decent basketball, but nothing to give us any reason they were going to be any better than how they were being projected at the beginning of the season.

The Badgers have an All-American big man who is averaging over 16 points per game and almost nine rebounds. Their freshman guard Brad Davison is in double figures along with D’Mitrik Trice.

Ever since the lineup was changed for the UCLA game, the Badgers have seemed more comfortable. They only went 1-2, but two of the teams were ranked at the time.

That’s the thing. As much as this team has struggled, all four teams were ranked. It wasn’t as bad as it could be.

Until the Badgers opened conference play. Which is why now it’s time to panic for Badgers basketball.

Where do we start?

Well the paint game was awful for the Badgers. Ethan Happ only made two shots and three free throws which equaled to seven points. No one else is helping out.

Aleem Ford seems to be only comfortable making three-pointers. Khalil Iverson only has four points in the last three games. Andy Van Vliet and Charles Thomas IV combined for nine minutes and one shot attempt.

Nate Reuvers has really come along though. Ever since they decided not to redshirt him, the four-star recruit has been taking advantage of the struggling front court. We even saw his ability to hit from long range while going 2-2 on three-pointers.

Reuvers wasn’t the only freshman who showed flashes of talent.

Kobe King finally turned it on also. While Davison was in foul trouble, King recorded 34 minutes off the bench. Going 4-8 from the field with two coming from downtown would ensure that this was a coming out party for King as the seventh man.

That would be the case if the rest of the team was finishing. Now though we’re saying it’s time to panic for Badgers basketball.

Rebounding was a struggle for both teams, but when you look at the final number for the Badgers, it’s ugly.

Keita Bates-Diop has been a rebounding machine early this season. He’s averaging over 10 per game. Other than that, no one else flashes as a serous threat for Ohio State.

Wisconsin only averages 31 to Ohio State’s 39, but the Badgers only grabbed 18. Ford, Trice, Thomas and Van Vliet all failed to record one.

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Van Vliet has struggled. He’s been pulled from the starting lineup and his minutes have really taken a cut. He was even benched for a game. As 7-feet tall, it shouldn’t matter. He should be able to take a few from around the basket.

Alex Illikainen has now been benched in the last two games. Some of that probably has to do with the fact that Reuvers is now being used in the rotation. It would’ve been nice though for Illikainen to step up and use his 6’9 body to his advantage this season.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me to explain this team to them. I kept telling them, the Badgers are talented, but very young. Now I think I might say, a few players are talented and the rest are just very inexperienced.

Who do we know are talented: Ethan Happ and Brad Davison.

Who has the potential: D’Mitrik Trice, Brevin Pritzil, Kobe King and Nate Reuvers.

Aleem Ford and Khalil Iverson are two we would like to say has the potential. Ford is too reliant on one shot and Iverson just doesn’t seem confident right now.

The guys in the front court who need to do something before it’s too late: Charles Thomas IV, Andy Van Vliet and Alex Illikainen.

It’s certainly time to panic for Badgers basketball. With a 3-5 record, which is worse in the Big Ten and a 25-point defeat at home to start conference play, something has to change.

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Happ can’t do everything in the paint. Someone else has to do something when Davison gets into foul trouble. If nothing is done about the front court depth and no one wants to take over then the Badgers may not be playing for long in March.

I still believe they’re great. When shots are falling for Happ and Davison, I would put this team up against anyone in the Big Ten. Trice and Pritzil are seasoned enough where they have the ability to put the ball in the bucket and distribute.

Iverson and Van Vliet needs the confidence they had at the beginning of the season. King and Reuvers have shown their talent to where they can play with competitive opponents.

Next: Wisconsin Basketball: An Ugly Afternoon at the Kohl Center

It’s time to panic for Badgers basketball, but it’s not too late to call it quits. I believe this team can make the adjustments. If they aren’t made soon though, it’ll be over by the time we revisit conference play.