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Badgers Basketball

Five Takeaways From Wisconsin Basketball’s Schedule

The Big Ten released their dates for all conference games on Wednesday, which put the finishing touches on Wisconsin Basketball’s 2017-18 schedule. Their are some tough stretches and game times, but also chances for quality, resume building wins.



1. Non-Conference Schedule is Tricky

Wisconsin may be an inexperienced team, but they don’t have the luxury of taking their time before they hit their stride. They need to come out of the gate strong. The Badgers open the regular season against a tough Yale Bulldogs team, led by 2015-16 March Madness hero Makai Mason. They then host a Xavier team that will likely open the season in the Top 25 and be thirsty for revenge. Just four days after that, the Badgers will take on an always tough Baylor team in the first round of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City with the winner taking on Creighton or UCLA.

It doesn’t get easier after that brutal opening stretch. The Badgers play a pair of tough true road games. The first one is against Virginia in the Big 10/ACC Challenge and will likely set the record for the most jokes about pace of play and “boring” basketball ever made in a two hour stretch. The second one is against Temple, an NCAA Tournament contender, and will be played in the historical Palestra. The Badgers also host a talented mid-major team in Western Kentucky, play hungry intra-state mid-majors Green Bay and Milwaukee, and host rival Marquette. That is a lot of tough, losable games. Yes, even the Marquette one.

2. Early December Big Ten games are favorable

The Big Ten schedule will look slightly different this season because the Big Ten Conference Tournament will be played a week earlier to accommodate Madison Square Garden (It is dumb idea for a number of reasons, but that is a rant for a different time).  As a result, teams in the Big Ten will play two of their conference games in early December. Luckily, the Badgers drew Ohio State and Penn State on December 2nd and 4th.

It’s no secret that this Wisconsin team is young. Like the post Kaminsky-Dekker Badgers, it may take this team a little while to reach their full potential. Therefore, it wouldn’t be good for them at all if they had to play two tough Big Ten teams in December. Fortunately, the Badgers dodged a bullet. Ohio State is in full rebuilding mode and while Penn State should improve, they aren’t exactly a terrifying matchup.

3. Touch stretch to end season could make or break the season

The top four teams in the Big Ten to start the season are Northwestern, Purdue, Minnesota (vomit), and Michigan State. The Badgers play all four of those teams consecutively to end the season. So yeah… that’s not good.

Or is it? All of those games except Northwestern will be played at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin also usually peaks around that time. So this could be a chance to pick up some quality wins right before the regular season ends. If Wisconsin is a bubble team, this stretch could be pivotal. Even if they aren’t, those four games will play a big part in their seeding.

4. Wisconsin plays three of the top Big Ten teams twice each

As mentioned before, the top four teams in the Big Ten will likely be Northwestern, Purdue, Minnesota, and Michigan State. Actually, strike that. Wisconsin hasn’t finished outside the top four in the Big Ten in 15 seasons. There are kids in high school that have never been alive in a year where Wisconsin finished outside the top four, so I’m not going to be the idiot that picks against them.

So allow me to rephrase. On paper, the four best teams in the Big Ten are Northwestern, Purdue, Minnesota, and Michigan State. The Badgers will play all of them except for Minnesota home and away. On one hand, that is bad news. It will be even harder to keep the top-four streak alive with so many games against the top tier of the Big Ten. On the other hand, there will be a lot of chances to pick up quality wins

5.  Where are the Saturday games?

Saturdays are for college sports. They have been forever. It is the most fan friendly day for games. That is why it is a travesty that Wisconsin was only given three Saturday games, and only one in conference. For contrast, Wisconsin has four Friday games, which is by all measures (AKA my brain) the least fan friendly game day. Between this, the Big Ten Tournament on the east coast debacle, and Friday night football games, Jim Delany is not making many friends in Madison.

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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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