Wisconsin Basketball: Badgers Make Mistakes Against Scarlet Knights


The Wisconsin basketball team snapped their five game winning streak to put themselves farther back from tournament discussion.

The Wisconsin basketball team came up against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights riding a five game winning streak. Things seemed to be back to normal after a convincing win over a “not bad” Indiana team.

There was a lot of momentum for the Badgers coming into this game. A number of role-players have recently stepped up, Ethan Happ had a breakout performance and everyone seemed to be playing as a team.

Rutgers has the reputation of being a bad team. There was just a feel that this game was just more fuel for a Wisconsin basketball team that needed everything they could get.

Wisconsin also got really good news before the game. After Brevin Pritzl suffered a concussion right before the Indiana game, he had cleared protocol and was ready to go against Rutgers.

Nate Reuvers still got to start. That’s fine. Continue to use a starting five that has already won for you.

The game started and was it slower than ever. You could definitely tell that both teams have problems finding scorers. The first three minutes went scoreless.

We knew Brad Davison was going to take on Corey Sanders. The best defender on the Wisconsin basketball team against the top scorer for the Scarlet Knights.

Sanders started to go off. He was hard to handle for Davison. The freshman guard had a problem staying in front of him. It wasn’t even the dribble the drive, but the jump shots. The Rutgers’ guard only knocked down two three-pointers, but he made 10 from the field.

The Wisconsin basketball team basically shot themselves in the foot early on and it continued throughout the game. Normally the Badgers only commit 11 turnovers per game. Friday night, they gave up the ball 18 times.

Ethan Happ only played 11 minutes. Usually that’s due to foul trouble. Against Rutgers, it was because he turned the ball over five times in his limited amount of time on the court. Greg Gard treated the mishandles just as he does fouls.

The Badgers wanted their next star to step up since their All-American seemed to struggle. So the freshman turned the ball over just as much as the seasoned forward. Davison and Happ combined for 12 of the 18 turnovers.

Despite the first half problems with the ball and the shooting woes from downtown (0-8), the Wisconsin basketball team made all eight free throws in the first half.

Rutgers certainly didn’t shoot lights out from anywhere on the court. The Scarlet Knights went 46 percent from the field, but did make 5 of 8 from downtown. Those are a whole lot better than 2-13.

Aleem Ford normally contributes a pair in the first half and then comes up with a clutch shot in the second half when the Badgers desperately need a bucket. The redshirt freshman went 0-2 from long range and 1-3 from the field.

Brevin Pritzl didn’t start, but he racked up starter minutes. He contributed 13 from the bench, but only made 1 of 4 from downtown. There has to be more consistency from him when shooting the three.

Aaron Moesch was once again trusted more in the rotation. He turned in a 17 minute game, converted a layup, grabbed a pair of boards and played some defense.

Now the part that confuses me. T.J. Schlundt and Walt McGrory only played a combined five minutes. Why? Both are capable of knocking down a three-pointer and on a night where one was needed, neither guard attempted one.

Nate Reuvers continues to perform. There’s not a whole lot more you can ask from a guy who was on the verge of redshirting and is now starting for a powerhouse like Wisconsin.

When Reuvers was on and Happ wasn’t turning the ball over, both guys looked great together. They showed signs of what this front court has the ability to become. Happ and Reuvers need to be on the court more together because there’s not much in relief.

When the Wisconsin basketball team was clicking, they were attacking the hoop and going to the line. If the outside shots aren’t falling, try driving.

Pritzl made all four of his free throws. It could work to his advantage to become a driver when the three-pointers aren’t going in. It’ll make him more of a scoring threat that the Badgers need.

The Wisconsin basketball team dropped a must win out in New Jersey to Rutgers and there are a few takes we have to address from that.

The obvious take everyone has from the game was obviously the turnovers. We don’t expect Bucky to be that careless with the ball. Especially when it comes from the All-American who dominated earlier this week.

What we saw on Friday night was a simple case of shots not falling. They fell against Indiana and they didn’t against Rutgers. It’s crazy how basketball works like that.

I really do believe that we saw a glimpse of the potential Reuvers and Happ have together. It just isn’t always possible to have a raw true freshman to perform on a consistent basis while Happ seemed to be in a rare, careless form.

Brad Davison is a baller. When the game really started to slip away at the end, the true freshman guard wasn’t giving up.

I really want to bring up the rotation again. Greg Gard can’t make up his mind whether he wants to play Walt McGrory or T.J. Shlundt more. So what did he do? Not play either guy all that much against Rutgers.

The Wisconsin basketball team will be back on the road Tuesday night. They head to Lincoln to play Nebraska.

Next: Wisconsin Football: 3 Biggest Takeaways from 2017 Season

After Friday night’s performance, don’t expect the Badgers to be favored. The Cornhuskers believe they should be in the Tournament discussion so they’re playing with everything they got right now.