Wisconsin Basketball is off and running with an 81-58 victory over St Francis on Tuesday night. It is not the talent the Badgers are going to face during conference play, but the team showed a lot of positives on opening night. With new faces getting implemented into the lineup, there was a lot to like about the victory. It is in fact only one game, but Wisconsin came out of the gate with a lot of energy that they sustained all night. Here are some big takeaways from Tuesday night’s win.
The Wisconsin Basketball Offense Looks Smooth
With all the new faces in the Badger red and white this season, one question for me looming this offseason is how the offense would gel together? The Badgers went from one of the oldest teams in the country last season to one of the youngest this year, throwing another question into the equation.
From the looks of Tuesday night, it’s exciting to see where this offense can go. Wisconsin basketball is known for slowing the game down on their opponents but Tuesday night they looked to get out and run in transition. For how young this group is, their offense was sensational. Moving the ball around quickly, making the extra pass, and moving without the ball made it very easy for Wisconsin to click on offense from the start.
Johnny Davis did a bit of everything offensively, dropping 15 points, five assists, and three rebounds, along with a couple of steals. Chucky Hepburn ended his first career start and collegiate game with 13 points on 4/7 shooting from the field. Steven Crowl, the man in the middle, finished third in scoring with 11 points, also reeling in 8 rebounds.
The Badgers have a ton of talent on this team, the question is will it translate into wins in conference play. They play fast, unselfish basketball and most importantly have fun while doing it. Wisconsin doesn’t have the pressures of the national media so this game will be a big stepping stone for what’s to come.
Athleticism is Off the Charts
One thing to like about a younger team is the athleticism that they carry along with their game. The Badgers showcased just that Tuesday night on both ends of the floor. Defensively, blocking shots, jumping the passing lanes, and playing great on-ball defense gave the Badgers the upper hand. Hoping to see much of the same on Friday night when Wisconsin plays Green Bay.
One big thing to point out with this team is the athletic big men that the Badgers have. On multiple occasions, Steve Crowl, with his 7’0 frame, ran the floor very nicely generating early offense for the Badgers. Being a Badger fan for so long, it is nice to see the ball wanting to be pushed to turn defense into offense.
Pushing the Pace?
This came as a bit of a surprise knowing the reputation of Wisconsin basketball, but I am loving every second of it. I love that Greg Gard is allowing this team to push first when warranted. Wisconsin ranked 316th in the country last year in possessions/game. Hopefully pushing the pace is the norm with how young this group is. The backcourt has the pieces able to push the ball all season long.
Obviously, this is still the first game of the season. There are things to still be worked out on both ends of the floor, but overall there is a lot to like about this team. The young back-court looked good in a lot of areas, Davis and Hepburn only combining for two turnovers all game. With them being so young, the only way to go is up.
Overall, a great first look at the team and the different lineups that Greg Gard might be sending out as the season progresses. The next look at the Wisconsin basketball team will be on Friday evening when your Badgers host Green Bay.
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