The last 24 hours for the Wisconsin basketball program have been good and bad.
Being a Wisconsin basketball fan, or just a Wisconsin sports fan in general is hard. Don’t get me wrong, I am always proud and happy to be a Wisconsin fan. Like many fans, I will follow the Badgers through thick and thin. But like many Wisconsin fans, I have gotten my hopes up. Whether it is football or basketball, I always fall into the trap that this year, yes, this year will be the year that they will break through and win the Big Ten, or even better, a national championship.
I’m sure if you are on Twitter, you have seen the triangle graphic that depicts what it is like to be a Wisconsin Badger fan.
— Barstool Wisco (@BarstoolBadgers) January 13, 2021
Every time I see this on the internet, it just resonates with me. It is hard being a Badger fan, but you can’t help but love them. I saw it again last night during their basketball game.
The Badgers went to Ann Arbor and got dismantled by the red-hot Wolverines. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think Michigan was that good. I figured they were a decent team, but hadn’t played anyone all that great and haven’t been tested. The Badgers, on the other hand, have played Louisville, at Michigan State and Minnesota (a common opponent). Wisconsin has already been battle-tested. I thought this was going to be a good game and ultimately a game this veteran team would pull out in the end.
Well, apparently Michigan is better than a lot of people thought and they are proving it. They were on fire on offense and clamped Wisconsin down on defense. When they started that huge run, that extended to 43-6 at one point, was a big punch in the face to the Badgers. They didn’t respond and the game got out of hand.
Luckily, the Badgers were able to somewhat salvage the score and only lose by 23, but the game wasn’t that close.
It hurts to see a team you hope would contend in the NCAA tournament get beaten so thoroughly and can really make you think about how far this team might be from actually contending.
On a positive note, it was just one game. The Wisconsin basketball team still has 14 more games to play. At 10-3, they are still in the thick of things and will have another crack at Michigan when they come to the Kohl Center on February 14.
Now, the good. After feeling down in the dumps for about 12 hours, a bright spot pops up. The Badgers got a boost in their 2021 recruiting class when Markus Ilver, a 6-8 power forward, committed to the Badgers. He is the fourth member of this class, joining Chucky Hepburn, Matthew Mors, and Chris Hodges.
According to 247Sports, Ilver is a 3-star forward who is a native of Estonia but is attending boarding school at Western Reserve Academy (Hudson, OH). He had offers from some smaller schools, but also Nebraska and Xavier. He posted his highlight tape last May on his Twitter if you want to check it out.
Highlights part 2‼️ pic.twitter.com/ybKThBO475
— Markus Ilver (@MarkusIlver) May 4, 2020
I know absolutely nothing about his kid, but just reading a bit about him and knowing this coaching staff, this feels like one of those recruits that come in relatively unknown and will develop into a solid player for the Badgers in the future. He is a sharpshooting big, which is exactly what Wisconsin is looking for. It sounds like he is a relatively unknown prospect because he just came to the states from Europe, so hopefully, Wisconsin discovered a hidden gem in Ilver.
So while the game last night wasn’t great, there are still some positive things happening around the program. There are many reasons to be optimistic about this season and beyond.