Things have been a little down lately for the Wisconsin basketball team. They’ve lost three of their last five games and have dropped all the way down to 21 in the latest AP Top 25 poll. That’s life in the Big Ten. This conference is loaded with talent and any team can win on any given night. Iowa for instance, a favorite to win the Big Ten, has lost four of their last five games and have tumbled down to 15th in the poll after spending much of the season in the top ten.
The Badgers are tied with Purdue for fourth in the conference with an 8-5 conference record. They are two games back from the first place Michigan Wolverines. Coincidentally, the Badgers will host the Wolverines this Sunday, February 14th. Beating first-place Michigan would be huge in helping the Badgers gain some confidence and move back towards the top of the pack.
The Badgers definitely haven’t been playing their best ball of late, especially offensively. On Saturday against the Illini, the Badgers couldn’t hit a three to save their lives. They started the game 0-for-9 in the first half alone. They finished the game 4-of-24. Shooting 17% from beyond the arc is not a winning formula. The Badgers have had stretches where they shot the ball extremely well from deep, but when they are cold, they are in trouble because they have become too reliant on them.
Defensively, They held the high-scoring Illini to 75 points and forced 18 turnovers on their home court. They just didn’t have an answer for Ayo Dosunmu, who, outside of Luka Garza, should be considered the best player in the Big Ten. Kofi Cockburn was also a problem for the Badgers on the inside, scoring 23 points, making 10-of-13 shots.
The Badgers will also travel to Nebraska on Thursday, February 11th to take on the last-place Cornhuskers. This game, believe it or not, could not have come at a better time for the reeling Wisconsin basketball team. Not to say they shouldn’t take the Cornhuskers seriously, because they should, but this is a game they should not have a problem winning. Hopefully, this game will help them gain some confidence before they play the third-ranked Wolverines at home.
A couple of wins this week would go a long way for the Badgers in the standings and more importantly for their confidence. They can’t really afford another slip-up. Now is the time to turn it up and get back into the picture of the top teams in the conference and I have faith that this team is capable of accomplishing it.