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Badgers Basketball Preview: 5 things to know vs. Michigan



The Michigan Wolverines come in to the Kohl Center as one of the best teams in the country and the Badgers are looking to right the ship.

It’s hard not to think back to 2013 and the iconic “let’s play 5 more minutes in Madison” call from legendary radio voice Matt Lepay.

Wisconsin proceeded to knock off the No. 3 team in the country in overtime.

Fast forward six seasons and the Badgers face off with the No. 2 team in the country and an undefeated Wolverines squad at that. The task in front of a reeling Badgers team, who have lost four of the last five contests, seems daunting.

So, let’s look in to some numbers and things you should know ahead of this matchup at 11am CT on ESPN.

5: Wisconsin has lost to Michigan just six times since 2005

Yes, the Wolverines appear to be the big, bad team in college basketball in 2018-19. But, few teams in the country have had a better run against them than the Badgers have had historically.

Put aside that 2013 upset, UW owns a 19-6 record against the Wolverines since 2005 and that’s regardless of where the game has been played. Additionally, the Badgers are 8-5 in home games against top 10 ranked opponents over the last 10 seasons.

Clearly the Kohl Center is a magically place.

4: Nate Reuvers ranks 4th in the Big Ten in blocks per game

Wisconsin’s rising sophomore big man has become a huge help on both ends of the court as of late. His 1.7 blocks per game rank him 4th in the conference.

He’s also a dangerous offensive weapon as of late. Reuvers 18 points against Maryland was a career high and he’s scored in double figures in 6 of the last 9 games.

Interestingly enough, one of the three players ahead of Reuvers is Michigan’s Jon Teske, who averages 2.2 blocks per game.

With Reuvers also becoming a threat from anywhere on the floor, can UW do enough to neutralize Teske’s presence on the inside when the Badgers have the ball?

3: Wisconsin is looking to become just 3rd team to even come within 10 points all season against Michigan

You know you’re a dominant team when getting within single digits by the end of the contest is an accomplishment. But, such has been the case for only two of the 17 opponents Michigan has faced so far this season.

Only Western Michigan and Northwestern have kept their games inside 10 points so far this year.

Yes, a win is always the goal, but it seems like the key has to be keeping within striking distance for most of the game and that’s something most teams clearly aren’t capable of.

Michigan’s average scoring margin of +17.0 is second in the conference to MSU’s +18.0 on the year. The Wolverines also have a +12.5 scoring margin in Big Ten games alone.

It’ll be a tall task for the Badgers on Saturday.

2: Wisconsin is 2nd in the Big Ten in three-point shooting as a team

How do you combat a team like Michigan? Well, being able to shoot from the perimeter is a great place to start. The good news is that Wisconsin has been largely capable of doing that, to the tune of 39.1 percent from beyond the arc as a team. That ranks 2nd in the conference this season.

Only Michigan State’s 39.3 percent as a team is better in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin has gotten key contributions from beyond the arc lately from sophomore guard Brad Davison. Over the last 7 games, Davison is shooting a crazy 62.1 percent from three-point range (18 of 29). He is a great 43.8 precent from beyond the arc on the season.

Paring him with D’Mitrik Trice, who has cooled off a bit as of late, is a dangerous combination for teams to have to guard on the perimeter. But, Michigan is allowing opponents to only shoot at a 30.5 percent clip from deep.

Something is going to have to give there, and let’s also remember Michigan can be deadly from the perimeter too. They’re shooting a respectable 36.7 precent from beyond the arc to rank fifth in the B1G.

Both teams are going to have to defend against the perimeter well in order to win this game.

1: Michigan leads the conference in defensive rebounding percentage

If there is one glaring stat that should scare Badgers fans, it is this one — 76.9 — as in Michigan have a 76.9 defensive rebounding percentage.

Normally that’s not a big thing, because it just indicates how much a team relies on defensive rebounding versus offensive. But, when you pair that with the fact that the Badgers rank dead last in offensive rebounding, you see the potential for trouble.

Wisconsin has to be efficient on the offensive end and they can’t go in to prolonged scoring droughts, because Michigan will be able to take advantage of misses thanks to that glaring discrepancy on the glass.

In fact, UW’s ability to neutralize Michigan’s obvious advantage on the glass overall is going to be crucial to success on the day as a whole.

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badger Jon Leur traded to Milwaukee Bucks



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



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



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



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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