Wisconsin Basketball had almost a perfect first game offensively against Coppin State.
Basketball season is finally upon us, meaning we have even more Wisconsin sports action to cover until bowl season is over. The Wisconsin basketball team kicked off its season at home against Coppin State and won, as expected, going away. The Badgers beat the Eagles 85-63, behind a triple-double from Ethan Happ and 21 points from D’Mitrik Trice.
Last season for the Badgers was a bad one. The roster was hurting from injuries and Happ wasn’t able to carry the team to the NCAA Tournament despite leading in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. This year looks to be different. Happ won’t have to lead in scoring and he’ll have plenty of help in those other areas too.
The big thing for Happ is that he doesn’t have to be the primary scorer on this team anymore. Even if Trice’s 5-9 shooting from deep doesn’t hold up, there are so many other options the Badgers can lean to. Brad Davison, Kobe King, Brevin Pritzl, and Nate Reuvers could all lead the Badgers in scoring on any given night. And just when you start to focus on those guys Happ will remind you that he’s an All-American too.
As a team, Wisconsin shot 12-32 last night from deep, good for 37.5%. Although it’s only one game, that percentage is better than any team percentage since 2013-14 when Ben Brust was still in Madison.
The key for the Badgers, as is true for many other teams, is staying healthy. Wisconsin can go to its bench for legitimate scoring options with King and Pritzl. And those guys only have to hold serve until Aleem Ford returns from his injury, who will be another threat from downtown and make the bench even better. In a down year for the Big Ten, Wisconsin is one of the few teams with a serious upward trend. This team is good enough to compete for a conference title this year.
Wisconsin’s struggles last year were mostly due to the lack of scoring options surrounding Happ. If this first game of the season is any sign of what to expect moving forward, that problem has been solved.