Will Nate Reuvers show up?
Coming into this season, high expectations were placed on Nate Reuvers. He was supposed to be that veteran leader who would be one of the top scorers on the team and a big defensive presence in the post.
The year started off well. He averaged 14.0 points per game in the team’s first four games. In the nine games since, he’s scored double-digits just twice. On the season, he is averaging 9.8 points per game, third-most on the team. He is shooting just 42% from the floor, and 34% from three.
He also hasn’t been effective in the first half. Most of his production has come in the second half of games. From Evan Flood, Reuvers hasn’t scored more than two points in the first half during Big Ten play. In the second half, he is putting up and an average of eight points per game. If he is going to be an offensive focal point, he needs to pick it up at the start of games.
His teammates have noticed too. D’Mitrik Trice talked to Reuvers about it during their win over Indiana.
If Reuvers can get back on track and play up to his potential, this will be a hard team to beat. If he continues to struggle, so will the team.
Can the Badgers slow down Ron Harper Jr.?
Stopping a team’s best player has also been inconsistent lately. They struggled mightily with Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis, who put up 23 points in Wisconsin’s victory. They shut down Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson pretty well, but then other players like Mike Smith (16) Franz Wagner (15), and Isaiah Livers (13) put up some points.
In other times, the Badgers have clamped down on the opposing team’s best scorer. Minnesota’s Marcus Carr scored just 10 points on 3-13 shooting.
That’s what the Wisconsin basketball team will need to do Friday night when they face Ron Harper Jr. Harper is averaging 20.1 points per game. He is shooting 51.7% from the floor, including 45.5% from three.
Rutgers is on a four-game losing streak. In those games, Harper has scored 20+ just once. In their last three losses, Harper has scored just 13 points or less per game.
If Trice and Davison can limit Harper, then there is a good chance Wisconsin can win this game. But of course, that’s easier said than done. He has been struggling lately, and it would be fitting if he were to go off and get right against Wisconsin at home.
Stopping Harper Jr. is the key to Wisconsin getting back into the win column and picking up their 11th win of the season.