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3 point takes: Michigan State 76, Wisconsin 61

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Michigan State was supposed to beat Wisconsin on Friday night and that’s exactly what they did, winning 76-61 at the Breslin Center.

It was the third straight loss in the series with the Spartans and the fifth in the last six games for Wisconsin. The Badgers drop to 3-6 in Big Ten play and are two games under .500 overall on the season. As for the Spartans, it was a much-needed win with all that is surrounding the athletic department and the program specifically.

So, what do we take away from yet another loss for UW? Let’s get in to our three takeaways from Friday night.

Effort was there against an elite team

Yes, this is where the Badgers program is at this season — we’re talking about effort.

Unlike the last few times Wisconsin has played against the upper echelon of college basketball, at least this time they put up a big fight and made Michigan State work for it. Blowouts to Ohio State, Purdue and Marquette earlier in the year suggested this one was going to be over before it even started.

However, the Badgers fought hard and clawed their way to within single digits at points throughout the game. UW was down just 46-40 with just under 10 minutes to go in the game, but the Spartans responded right back to make it a nine-point game and the Badgers never got closer.

Michigan State had an answer for every run the Badgers made, but this was a strong showing in terms of a full team effort in this one. That’s a positive and if they can play with this effort against the rest of the Big Ten, there may be an upset or two brewing for this team.

Perimeter Shooting Sucks Again

As much as the defense has been the Badgers Achilles heel this season, so has the shooting from anywhere not within 5-feet of the basket.

That was on brutal display against Michigan State, as the Badgers shot an awful 36.2 percent from the field and an even worse 20.8 percent from beyond the arc. UW made four three-pointers in the first half, but only mustered up a single made basket from beyond the arc in the second half.

It’s a shame too, because there were plenty of good looks and this was a game just begging for those shots to go down for Wisconsin. Make three or four more and a 15-point loss would’ve been a very different game.

Point guard Brad Davison’s shoulder is clearly affecting his long-range shooting, while Brevin Pritzl can’t hit the broad side of the barn when it matters most. The two combined to go just 3 of 15 from beyond the arc, with Davison shooting a woeful 0 of 6 on his end of the deal.

While nothing at this point isn’t an unknown with the Badgers, this game highlighted the fact that a perimeter game is badly needed. Simply put, Wisconsin had a legit shot to win this game if it could’ve strung together anything from the outside.

UW couldn’t and here we sit with a pat on the back for a nice effort in a losing situation.

 Gard Through In the Kitchen Sink

No seriously, he couldn’t have thrown anything more at this game in terms of trying to get something consistent going from beyond the arc.

Case in point…Andy Van Vliet actually made a token appearance in this game. Sure, he only played two minutes of the game but he’s been buried so far on Gard’s bench that any sighting is worth noting. He didn’t take a single shot, but did record a rebound for his time on the court.

Beyond that, Alex Illikainen saw 14 minutes, Charles Thomas saw 11 and T.J. Schlundt saw 10 minutes too.

If that isn’t throwing everything in hoping to get a positive result somehow, I don’t know what is.

Clearly Gard is frustrated because he knows there are winnable games happening but his team is simply not performing up to standard. That’s how you get completely underperforming players like Illikainen, Thomas and Schlundt coming in for double-digit minutes in the middle of a road game in which you are contending, but just can’t get over the hump.

At this point, there really isn’t much more that Gard can do if the players he is putting in won’t show up the way he needs them to.

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badger Jon Leur traded to Milwaukee Bucks

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They say you can always go home, and for one former Wisconsin Badger he’s coming back to a state he called home for four years.

Former Badgers forward Jon Leuer was traded early on Thursday morning from the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange for Leuer, the Bucks gave up the 30th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft and traded away Tony Snell.

Last season, Leuer played in 41 games for the Pistons and made just one start. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his ninth season in the NBA.

Leuer is a very similar player to Snell, but comes at a much more team-friendly salary.

In trading away Snell, the Bucks free up an additional $4 million in salary this year and another $12 million next year.

This could be seen as a way for the Bucks to pony up the big money that Khris Middleton wants from the team in order to stay in Milwaukee.

As for Leuer, he is 17th on the all-time Badgers scoring list with 1,376 points to his name. He also finished his career with 551 rebounds.

Leuer’s final season in Madison was his best statistically, as he helped lead the 2010-11 Badgers team to the Sweet 16. He averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game that year.

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers basketball land Davis twins

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After missing out on the Hauser brothers late last month, the Wisconsin Badgers added a different pair of siblings on Saturday night.

Following an offer to the brother of 4-star shooting guard Johnny Davis and an appearance at a team camp this weekend, the Davis brothers announced their pledge to the Badgers according to Badger247.

It took less than a week after head coach Greg Gard gave the O.K. to offer Jordan for the pair to commit to Wisconsin.

Johnny held offers from Marquette, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, DePaul, UNLV and others.

Jordan had offers from UW-Milwaukee and Green Bay, while also becoming a sought after recruit on the football field as well. Once he became serious about wanting to play basketball first, it seemed like a matter of time before Wisconsin offered.

That time came after seeing Jordan play in a camp last weekend.

It also came because it was time to figure out if Johnny was serious about the Badgers or not.

With the July evaluation period coming up, Wisconsin’s coaching staff put the final chips in the middle with this recruitment and it appeared to pay off.

Johnny joins as the No. 141 ranked player in the country and the No. 14 ranked combo guard in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

The twins will join Detroit, Mich. native Lorne Bowman in the 2020 class.

Wisconsin still has one scholarship available in the class as well, which is likely being held for 5-star and Wisconsin native Jalen Johnson.

After missing out on talented in-state players over and over again, this was a major win for Gard and his coaching staff considering how hard schools like West Virginia and Marquette were after Johnny’s commitment.

As for Jordan, it appears the coaching staff believes he is improving enough to get a scholarship and continue his improvement with this program.

Offers don’t come out just because it may win over a different recruit at Wisconsin. That wasn’t Bo Ryan’s style and it also isn’t Greg Gard’s style.

The trio of players put the Badgers at No. 8 in the country and No. 3 in the Big Ten in the 2020 class as of today.

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badgers get No. 2 seed in The Basketball Tournament Columbus regional

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Who doesn’t want $2 million? That’s the prize at stake for winning The Basketball Tournament and a group of former Wisconsin Badgers want in.

On Tuesday it was officially announced that the Kohl Blooded team — spearheaded by former Badgers point guard Kam Taylor — will be the No. 2 seed in the Columbus regional.

They will take on No. 7 seed Mid-American Unity, which is making its second appearance in the TBT after a year off. That group represents teams from across the Mid-American conference.

As for the Badgers, the roster will be made up of some very strong names from the past. The headline names include members of the back-to-back Final Four teams in Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown. Also joining will be Jordan Taylor, Ryan Evans, Trevon Hughes and recent grad Charles Thomas. You can see the full roster here.

The regionals will take place July 19-21 in Columbus with the winner of this regional meeting seven other winners in Chicago for championship week.

All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, so you should be able to find them either streaming or on cable television.

Kohl Blooded vs. Mid-American Unity will tip at 1pm ET on Friday, July 19.

The winner will take on the winner of Red Scare (Dayton alumni) and The Region (players from Northwest Indiana) in the regional semi-final the next day.

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers play final card in attempt to land 2020 G Johnny Davis

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A week after losing out on Joey and Sam Hauser, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program needs some positive momentum on the player acquisition front.

With three scholarships available in the 2020 class and two top in-state players in their sites, the Badgers coaching staff has been about as patient as possible.

On Wednesday, Badger247 reports that UW has offered Jordan Davis, the twin brother of top target Johnny Davis. It’s not a walk-on or grayshirt, but a full scholarship offer.

After two years of waiting for that offer to come, it finally did.

Jordan is an unranked player in basketball at this time, but I expect that to change once the scouting services catch wind of this offer. Johnny Davis is the No. 131 ranked player in the country, a 4-star rated prospect and the No. 3 ranked player in the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 class.

With the brothers set to make a weekend visit for team camp in two weeks, this is a move that undoubtably puts the pressure squarely on Johnny Davis at this point.

Simply put, the Badgers need to know if Davis is going to commit or if they need to move on.

Offering Jordan a full ride is about the only thing left in the Badgers quiver at this point. If getting the dream of playing basketball together at the same school and in-state no less doesn’t tip the scales, at least the Badgers know they can move on.

Is it a desperate move? In some ways one could see it as such. Clearly the Badgers want Johnny in a major way and they see offering Jordan as a critical move that could separate themselves from the competition.

However, this also isn’t a coaching staff willing to just throw away a scholarship in an effort to get a coveted player to play for them. That’s simply not Greg Gard’s style.

Jordan is also a player they see as a contributor, or he wasn’t getting an offer. Plain and simple.

There’s no doubt that this move ups the pressure, like I mentioned before. But, that’s not a bad thing, as UW needs to know where they stand heading in to July’s evaluation period.

If the Davis brothers can’t commit or at least internally give the coaching staff the information that will make them feel comfortable, they need to start getting offers out to other big time players whom they’ve been waiting to offer.

Consider UW is an underdog to land in-state five-star prospect Jalen Johnson, and you have to consider this move a smart one for the long term prospects of the 2020 class.

Will the Davis twins jump at the offer to play together at Wisconsin?

Some in the recruiting world believe this was the situation that was holding Wisconsin back all along. So, don’t be surprised to see this affect the recruitment of both players in a big way.

As for Jordan, his game has also caught the attention of Iowa and Minnesota and he did have scholarship offers from both Green Bay and Milwaukee prior to this one.

What may have really held the Badgers coaching staff and others back was the fact that Jordan is also a good player on the football side and wasn’t sure which sport he wanted to pick.

It seems like UW has gotten the clue that Jordan may be more receptive to a basketball future and pulled the trigger on the offer.

We’ll see how much longer the two stay uncommitted, but don’t be surprised to see something happen following July’s AAU season.

Letting that play out and getting all the offers out there on the table is just a smart move for the twins. From there, it’s up to them and clearly the Badgers have left no stone unturned in this situation.

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