Wisconsin Basketball: 3 takeaways from the Badgers’ loss to Illinois

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Wisconsin basketball

Feb 2, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini fans try to distract Wisconsin basketball Badgers guard Johnny Davis (1) as he shoots a free throw during the second half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I think we all knew last night’s game was going to be a tough matchup for the Wisconsin basketball team. Illinois, a team the Badgers have struggled with over the past couple of years, came into the season with extremely high hopes. They have had players banged up for most of the season and are now getting back to full strength. Kofi Cockburn missed a few games with a concussion this season and guard Andre Curbelo was also returning after missing 14 games this year as well.

Despite losing by 13 points, I still feel good about this team moving forward.

In the Big Ten, these types of games are going to happen, and with all the high-quality teams in the conference, you can bet it will happen again to other teams as well. A 13-point loss hurts a bit, but it isn’t the end of the world (season).

Here are three things we can take away from the Badgers’ defeat in Champaign.

1. Shooting remains an issue for the Wisconsin basketball team

Going into a hostile environment like that, you really need to be on top of your game, and one part specifically was their Achilles’ Heel.

Shooting.

Going back a few years, the Wisconsin basketball team has a tendency to go through scoring droughts. Sure, every team goes through them, but sometimes it feels like there is a lid on the basket for the Badgers and it does not come off for a while.

Earlier this year, it seemed like there was no lid for Johnny Davis at any point. When the team would start going a bit without a bucket, Davis would take over and produce for the team. Now, Davis is going through a bit of a struggle. Going back through the past six games, Davis is scoring 19.5 points per game, so still pretty good. But the amount of shots he’s taking to get there is a lot. He’s shooting just 37.8% from the floor over that span.

But even when he’s on, the Badgers are far from a good three-point shooting team. They are 12th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten Conference in three-point shooting percentage, hitting just 31.8% of their shots from long range.

Last night, they hit just three three-point shots while attempting 24. That’s a lowly 12.5%. Even if they hit their season average of 32% that would have been seven or eight threes, which definitely would have changed the game. They just couldn’t seem to hit anything.

If the Badgers are going to be a true threat in the Big Ten and the NCAA Tournament, they are going to need to find some consistency in their shooting.

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