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Badgers suffer worst loss to Marquette in Kohl Center era

Wisconsin suffers worst lost to Marquette since 1982, and many troubling trends are continuing for Badgers

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Marquette has owned the Badgers as of late, winning two of the last three meetings at the Kohl Center alone heading in to Saturday’s rivalry matchup. A less than full-strength Badgers team going against a red-hot MU team didn’t look good on paper heading in to the game.

It was even worse than expected as the game went along though, with Marquette blowing out the Badgers 82-63 at the Kohl Center and extending the streak to three of the last four in Madison.

With both D’Mitrick Trice (right foot surgery) and Kobe King (a knee injury suffered in practice on Friday) announced as out indefinitely on Saturday morning, the prospects for beating the visitors from Milwaukee were low to begin with. But, the Badgers just couldn’t keep up with the sharp-shooting perimeter game of Marquette.

The Eagles shot 14-22 from beyond the arc, with Andrew Rowsey leading the charge. The junior scored a game-high 24 points and was 5-6 from beyond the arc. Wisconsin countered by only hitting 4 of 12 three-point attempts on the game.

Even when Brevin Pritzl got hot and led the Badgers to within six points twice early in the second half, it didn’t matter. Marquette had quick answers and would stretch the lead right back to double digits.

Rowsey was joined in the 20-point club by fellow guard Markus Howard (23) and Sam Hauser also contributed 16 points in the winning effort.

Wisconsin was led by Brad Davison’s 20 points, 11 of which came at the free throw line. Ethan Happ had 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Pritzl was able to chip in 10 points in his return to the starting lineup.

The problem is that was all the Badgers had on offense and they played some of the worst defense we’ve seen from a Badgers team in decades. In fact, the win was Marquette’s largest over the Badgers since the 1982-83 season.

It was certainly a showpiece for the visitors and a loud statement of where these programs currently stand.

 

Will Anyone Follow Davison’s Lead?

No one can say Brad Davison is not a leader for this Badgers team. He led UW is scoring on Saturday, but his effort was also exceptional. With both Trice and King out, Davison was forced to basically play every minute of this game and it was an all-out effort from the freshman. He added three rebounds, four assists and a steal to the 20-point effort on the offensive end of the court and could be seen hustling after balls even when he had nothing left to give.

The problem was, few others came along for the ride. Happ wasn’t scoring when Davison needed the help, fellow freshman Nathan Reuvers struggled through a 2 of 8 day from the floor and Aleem Ford and Kahlil Iverson combined for just eight points.

Davison is doing a rare thing and stepping up as a leader in his first season. Will anyone follow his lead is the big question? The answer so far this season seems to be no one wants to also step up along side of him in the backcourt and that’s troubling.

Where is the 2015 Class?

When you have a 5-man class in college basketball, you better hit on that class. One look at the Badgers roster this season shows a severe deficit from that class.

Sure, it was nice to get 10 points from Pritzl, but Iverson hasn’t been a consistent scorer to compliment anything up front. That’s not to make any mention of the fact that both Aaron Moesch and TJ Schlundt are getting playing time over Charlie Thomas and Alex Illikanen. Need we make mention of the fact that Illikanen came in to Madison as a 4-star recruit alongside Pritzl?

There was supposed to be stretch-four in the mix as well with Andy Van Vliet. He’s still on the roster, but he was the first one out of the starting lineup as he struggled shooting from distance and keeping up on the defensive end of the court. It’s been an utter disaster from this group.

With a young group of players having to step up, now would’ve been the perfect time for the guys in their third year in the program to step up. Instead, that group is largely shrinking under the weight of this season. Minutes are there to be had for anyone willing to step up, yet this group isn’t doing that.

If you want to know why the Badgers are 4-7 this season, look to a lack of anything from a class that should be the backbone of a team steadying itself and at least playing good basketball. We certainly can’t say that after the start this team has had and the run of awful basketball that has been played in December so far.

Gard Has Chance to Show His Chops as a Head Coach

Tough times make the man, and the Badgers are hitting some of the toughest times they’ve seen since the Kohl Center opened back in 1998. Wisconsin has no home court advantage anymore, as Ohio State and Marquette have come to the Kohl Center and just destroyed the Badgers — something that was a rarity for more than a decade or so.

It isn’t good news for a program that is supposed to have its share of high-valued recruits on the roster. There are five players on the Badgers roster that were part of the 247Sports’ Top 247 in their respective classes. One can say only Brad Davison and Nathan Reuvers – both freshmen – are even close to showing the potential that their recruiting rankings showed.

That’s a major problem, one that requires quality coaching to overcome. Now is a good time for Gard and his staff to show their coaching chops.

But, so far that has been a questionable situation in 2017. There was the inability to see Davison needed to start from the beginning, the reliance on the likes of Thomas and Illikanen up top early on and now the desperation of taking the redshirt off of Reuvers (even though that was the right move).

Those haven’t been good decisions made.

Wisconsin also has a major problem this season — no one is developing.

This is supposed to be a program built on developing players while others are starring. Where has that been this past year? It sure appears non-existent from what we’ve highlighted before.

Right now the fanbase is searching for answers, and so too is Gard. Sure, he may say there wasn’t any time to prep a rotation for tonight with the losses of King and Trice, but that’s a flimsy excuse for getting blown out. It only works if you are losing a close game, and Wisconsin has done plenty of that before the month of December.

Gard hasn’t found an answer and he really needs to quickly in order for the Badgers to avoid missing out on the NCAA tournament for the first time in nearly 20 years. If he can right the ship, get something resembling quality consistent play, perhaps the season is salvageable. If not, you can bet the questions about Gard as the right man for the job are going to grow from a Twitter minority to a majority in the fanbase.

Such is the nature of what Dick Bennett and then Bo Ryan built in Madison.

There’s little excuse for the talent that was brought in to this program to be executing in such poor fashion. It’s time for Gard to pull out some real coaching magic. Does he have it in him?

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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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