Wisconsin Basketball: Player grades against #3 Michigan

The Wisconsin basketball team saw a 14 point lead disappear in the second half of their Valentine’s Day matinee against the University of Michigan, falling 67-59. The Wolverines, who hadn’t played since January 23rd, dominated the battle of the bigs, with freshman Hunter Dickinson outrebounding Wisconsin’s frontcourt 15-0. Here’s the Badger breakdown:

D’Mitrik Trice – B-

16 PTS, 8/9 FTM/A, 2 STL

D’Mitrik Trice led the Badgers in scoring and had most of the offense run through him. The 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio stands out but that figure is more a symptom of poor spacing and movement from the Badgers than on Trice’s ability as a playmaker.

Visibly frustrated throughout the game, and when the Badgers only have two other consistent players, his disappointment is understandable.

Brad Davison – C-

3 PTS, 6 REB

In the 15 Badger wins this season, Brad Davison has an offensive rating of 121, per Kenpom. In the seven losses, that number plummets to 57. While ORTG isn’t a perfect stat to measure a single player’s offensive impact, it’s clear that the Badgers ride Davison’s wave.

So when he goes 1-for-6 from the field–including 1-for-5 from deep–the story writes itself. Davison has never been a player who lets his offense define him, and his six boards are significant considering the Badger big-men got nada going on the glass.

Davison playing so poorly on the offensive end yet again is like seeing your favorite superhero whither away at the end of Infinity War. The heart and soul of so many Badger seasons just haven’t been up to snuff in 2021.

Tyler Wahl – D+

2 PTS, 6 REB, 2 STL, 1 BLK

Tyler Wahl is a versatile defender and plays hard night-in, night-out. But only so many role player stereotypes can deflect from Wahl’s disappointing offensive output.

His first-half spin move proved that his confidence has grown from last year, but to fulfill his role as the Badger swiss army knife, he needs to rely more on his outside shot. Zero three-point attempts and zero free throw attempts are the most alarming stats on the scoresheet.

Aleem Ford – B

15 PTS, 3 3PM

The first half was basketball poetry by Aleem Ford. Stout defense both on the ball and in help situations while shooting fish in a barrel on the offensive end. He set the tone early and was a big reason for the Badgers building a 14 point lead.

But as the game waned on, so did Ford’s immediate impact. While his defense remained strong, he became less involved in the offense. That may not be an active decision by Ford, but nonetheless one of the Wisconsin basketball team’s most talented players became more difficult to notice down the stretch.

Nate Reuvers – D+

3 PTS, 1 BLK

Nate Reuvers is still a brilliant pick-and-roll defender. But he’s got to give the Badgers some kind of consistency as an offensive option. I have never seen D’mitrik Trice as aggravated as he was when Reuvers didn’t fully slip to the wing off a pick-and-pop early in the first half. Not to mention the fact that a freshman in Hunter Dickinson absolutely emasculated him on the glass.

Down the stretch, the Wolverines looked like the Houston Rockets of the late 70s. Their best offense was to simply get a shot up knowing full and well that if they missed Dickinson would be there to grab the offensive rebound. Allowing a frosh to look like Moses Malone is never a good sign for the Wisconsin basketball team.

Micah Potter – C

9 PTS, 3 BLK

While Micah Potter faced a similar ailment administered by the Wolverine frontcourt, his second-half minutes resembled the Potter of last year. Crashing hard to the rim while being a help-side enforcer only gives head coach Greg Gard more problems in deciding who to start at the five-spot.

The problem remains that Potter is cannot switch on defense. Down the stretch Potter got switched on to Isaiah Livers, Livers proceeded to calmly reset the position, and blow by Potter for the easy bucket. What Reuvers gives Gard defensively is matched by what Potters provides offensively. If only they could co-exist.

Johnathan Davis – B+

11 PTS, 3 REB, 5/8 FGM/A

With each passing day, it becomes more and more obvious that Jonathan Davis is the most fluid basketball player in the men’s program. His raw offensive instincts are only matched by Ford’s and Trice’s on-ball defense.

Second in scoring today and one of three Wisconsin basketball players to reach double figures. One has to wonder when he’ll replace Wahl in the starting lineup.

Trevor Anderson – C+

4 AST, 3 REB, 1 STL

While Trevor Anderson logged his sixth scoreless game of the season, his energizer-bunny mentality fueled a sneaky impactful performance. He led the Badgers with four assists and continues to improve as the truest point guard on the roster.