Last we saw the Wisconsin Badgers they were clawing their way back agains the Virginia Cavaliers in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship. That effort came up short and the Badgers dropped their first game of the season.
But, beating Stanford and Oklahoma in the process impressed voters as UW moved up to No. 22 in the AP Poll.
The challenges won’t get much easier back on home soil though, as the Badgers get right back to Power 5 business with a home matchup against a 6-0 North Carolina State Wolfpack squad.
Let’s dive in to the matchup.
No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers
Record: 5-1 (0-0 B1G)
Head Coach: Greg Gard, 4th year at Wisconsin & overall (62-37 UW and overall)
Notable: Wisconsin is 9-10 overall in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, which may not seem great but actually is. That’s because the Badgers nine wins are tied for the second most of any team in the Big Ten in this challenge.
G – D’Mitrik Trice – 16.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.3 apg
G – Brad Davison – 9.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.7 apg
F – Khalil Iverson – 5.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.2 apg
F – Nate Reuvers – 7.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg
C – Ethan Happ – 17.8 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 5.7 apg
NC State Wolfpack
Record: 6-0 (0-0 ACC)
Head Coach: Kevin Keatts, 2nd year at NC State & 5th overall (27-12 at NC State & 99-40 overall)
Notable: 6-0 may seem impressive on its face, but this will be the Wolfpack’s first contest of the season against a fellow Power 5 program. In fact, there will only be four games against Power 5 foes in the non-conference season for NC State as a whole.
G – Braxton Beverly, So. — 7.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 2.8 apg
G – Markell Johnson, Jr. — 10.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 3.6 apg
G – Torin Dorn, Sr. — 18.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.5 apg
G – C.J. Bryce — 12.8 ppg, 6.0 ppg, 2.2 apg
F – Wyatt Walker — 6.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 apg
Matchup to Watch: Ethan Happ vs. Everyone
The Wolfpack have an impressive scoring duo at guard in Dorn and Bryce, who are long and athletic and play well in the uptempo style Keatts wants his team to play with.
But, how does a team with just one starter at 6-9 or better try and defend one of the most versatile forwards in the country? It’s going to have to be a team effort and therein lies the problem for the Wolfpack, just like other opponents all season.
Double and triple-team Happ, you’ve got open looks for the likes of D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison in the outside and likely another option in Khalil Iverson, who is likely to be cutting towards the basket. Nate Reuvers has shown his love of the top of the key and willingness to shoot from outside of 15-feet as well.
How the Wolfpack decide to defend against Happ is likely to dictate this game. I just can’t see them going one-on-one on the inside and allowing Happ to get to the rim.
It may be up to the rest of the team to pick up the free spots that will be open when they collapse on Happ.
Wisconsin 77, NC State 60
Here’s the problem for NC State — who have they played? So far, Mercer is likely their best opponent to date and they narrowly escaped that game with a 78-74 victory.
Wisconsin is battle tested at a high level with four games against quality opposition and a 3-1 record in those games already.
Happ has found a way to help his team win games in very different ways so far this year. Look for that to continue as he will take the shots and points NC State will give him, but may be more of a facilitator in this game.
Home will be sweet for Trice and Davison from beyond the arc and I also fully expect to see the growth from Kobe King that we saw in the Bahamas to continue as well.
It appears he is finding his place in this team and the confidence is showing in his increased point production as of late. He was 5-8 from beyond the arc in the Battle 4 Atlantis and if he can add 6-10 points per game off the bench then the Badgers are in good shape.
Season Prediction Record: 6-0
Carlson commits to Badgers 2020 basketball class
It appears the 2020 Wisconsin Badgers basketball class has come to a close.
The four-star center chose the Badgers over a who’s who of basketball offers in the Midwest including Ohio State, Xavier, Stanford, Purdue, Creighton, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa State, Kansas State, Wake Forest, and others.
Much like Crowl, Carlson took his official visit to Madison earlier this month for the Central Michigan football game.
Carlson comes to the Badgers as the No. 15 ranked forward in the entire country per the 247Sports composite rankings, the No. 82 ranked player overall and with a .967 grade from the composite.
He was high up the Badgers list for a long time, even as they targeted other highly rate options at forward like Jalen Johnson. However, as the board began to shake out, it was clear the Badgers wanted Carlson no matter what Johnson or anyone else was going to do in this class.
It appears that the relationship that Carlson formed with the current roster while on his visit is what put the Badgers over the top in this lengthly recruitment.
“A big focus was on getting to know the players, so I hung out with them a lot,” Carlson told Badger247. “They talked about how the coaching staff tells you straight-up how everything is going to be, they don’t sugarcoat anything. They told me about how much they liked it there.”
“I had a pretty good idea of how Wisconsin was going in,” he continued. “The biggest thing was getting to know the players and I really liked them. I know about the history and the campus, but getting to know the players was big for sure.”
Adding this type of nationally known name to an already big class is huge for the Badgers. In fact, UW has the No. 4 ranked class per the 247Sports composite team rankings.
It would be the highest the Badgers have ever finished in the rankings, with the 2006 class under Bo Ryan the next highest at No. 20 in the country.
Wisconsin is getting easily one of the most skilled big men in the class and an instant impact type of player. What has been a question mark up front could easily be a strength of this team quickly thanks to Carlson and Crowl’s commitments to the class.
Badgers add 4-star center to 2020 basketball class
What could be a historic recruiting class for the Wisconsin Badgers got another boost on Tuesday as 4-star center Steven Crowl verbally committed to the Badgers.
He went on his official visit this past weekend and apparently it was all he needed to see.
Crowl has since cancelled trips to other contenders like Colorado, Iowa, and Northern Iowa. He also had an offer from the in-state Gophers and was thinking about a visit there.
However, his official visit for the Central Michigan football game weekend was all he needed to pull the trigger on a commitment to Gard and the Badgers.
Crowl joins an already loaded Badgers 2020 class that includes in-state star Johnny Davis and his twin brother Jordan Davis, as well as the No. 25 ranked point guard in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings, Lorne Bowman.
This class also already has preferred walk-on Carter Gilmore, who chose that offer over other mid-major D1 offers and saw his recruitment pick up considerably in the July evaluation period.
While his name wasn’t a hot one on the recruiting trail, he was a late riser and currently sits as the No. 102 ranked player in the class overall and the No. 17 center in the nation per the 247Sports composite rankings.
The St. Paul, Minn. native is also continuing the pipeline of players coming from the cross-border rival Gopher state. He comes from the same AAU program — Minnesota D1 — that produced both Tyler Wahl and Nate Reuvers.
With Crowl in the fold, Wisconsin has added 12 players from the state of Minnesota in the 247Sports composite era, according to Badger247.
When you take a look at Crowl’s film, what you see is someone that has begun to both physically and mentally mature. He’s got the skill set that UW likes out of their bigs as well, with a nice looking shot from the outside.
However, what you also see on tape is someone that may need to take a year to adjust to the college game and that may be perfectly fine with the coaching staff as they still will have Nate Reuvers and Tyler Wahl to work with up front as starters.
It will be interesting to see how Crowl digests the speed of the college game early on. If he can adjust to that and the physicality, he may indeed find himself in the rotation quickly though.
He is certainly in the mold of what has become the classic Wisconsin big man.
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.
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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