Wisconsin held an 8-7 lead with 14:42 to play in the first half. It would be the Badgers last lead of the game, as the host Huskers fought off the Badgers 63-59 to drop UW below .500 in Big Ten play.
Nebraska was able to come away victorious despite allowing another double double from Ethan Happ (19 points, 11 rebounds) and making just two three-pointers on the night.
Instead, Nebraska got to the line like crazy in the second half and took advantage of it.
The Huskers were 21 of 28 from the free throw line, and it was a good thing for the hosts in the second half.
Nebraska went the final eight minutes of the game without hitting a field goal, yet they were able to actually extend a lead.
The loss drops the Badgers to 2-3 in Big Ten play and is the second straight road loss. Wisconsin also drops to 1-6 on the road this season.
Ethan Happ recorded a double double, but once again had little help around him on the night. Freshman guard Brad Davison also landed in double figures with 15 points, but he was just 5 of 15 from the field. Brevin Pritzl completed the double figure scorers for the Badgers with 10 points.
Wisconsin found itself finally playing some quality defense, but it couldn’t get the shooting needed to control the game. Nebraska was held to just 42.6 percent shooting from the field and made just two three-point attempts, while committing 13 turnovers.
That’s usually a recipe for Badgers success, instead the Huskers used a big run in each half to keep UW at an arm’s length and ultimately from winning.
Wisconsin did cut it close in the later stage of the second half as Nebraska suffered through an extended scoring slump and the lead was cut to 51-47 with under five minutes to play.
However, fouls caught up with Wisconsin and that four-point lead was able to somehow stretch to a seven-point lead thanks to the free throw line and Wisconsin’s inability to hit shots in consecutive possessions until it was too late.
Wisconsin will finish its three-game road swing with a visit to Mackey Arena to take on Purdue next Tuesday. Tip is scheduled for 6pm CT on ESPN.
But, what do we take away from this loss? Let’s look at the three big points of this game.
Happ Can’t Do It Himself…All the Time
Ethan Happ will never give up, and that was clear on Tuesday night. He had 15 of his 19 points in the second half while no one else on the Badgers wanted to help him.
That didn’t matter though, as his effort in the second half wasn’t enough to win the game.
Yes, Brad Davison had 15 points and Nate Reuvers put in eight points, but those points didn’t come in unison with Happ doing his thing. In fact, most of the time those points came in too few spurts to matter.
I mean, most of Davison’s 15 points came in scramble mode when the game was out of reach anyway.
When you look at the stat sheet and see what the Badgers did defensively, this should’ve been a win for Wisconsin. When you look at everyone not named Happ on offense, you see why the Badgers lost this one.
It’s as simple as Happ can’t be the only one to show up on both ends of the court for most of a half and have the Badgers win.
Free Throws Again?
Free throws have been a pain-point for the Badgers over the last two years and they continue to be in 2017-18 as well. That was certainly highlighted in Tuesday’s loss to Nebraska.
Nebraska had 28 attempts from the free throw line, while the Badgers only got to the charity stripe 10 times. It doesn’t matter how poor the Huskers would’ve shot, they were likely to have more points from the line than the Badgers could’ve even attempted.
In a game that saw so many scoring droughts, allowing a team to just salt the game away from the line while not hitting shots is brutal to watch. That’s what happened on Tuesday night and it was no fun indeed.
Everyone keeps waiting to see this free throw issue get corrected, but it just doesn’t seem like it is going to get fixed. Not finding an answer for nearly three years is certainly frustrating.
What Else Can Gard Do?
There has been a lot of hand-wringing and arm-chair coaching suggesting that Greg Gard is just an awful head coach.
But, bagging on Gard the head coach makes little sense. Put yourself in his shoes with the injuries he has and what exactly would you do different that would make this team suddenly click?
Chances are you don’t have an answer, and that’s because Gard has literally thrown the kitchen sink at this season and nothing is sticking.
Free throw woes? You don’t think their all working on that?
Scoring droughts? You don’t think Gard has a feel for when they are coming?
I think you get the point here…and at some point it is on the players who are given opportunities to do something with them.
Gard has literally given everyone on the roster a chance to show they belong on the court and few outside of Davison, Happ and on occasion Ford and Pritzl are actually taking advantage of the playing time there for the taking.
Are there little in-game things that Gard can learn from for himself? Sure.
But, harping on those things like they are the difference between this group winning and losing right now is just asinine.
At some point, ownership of what is happening on the court belongs to the players who are out there. If there was an easy answer and Gard didn’t have it, that would be one thing, but he’s trying to find an answer in a very tough situation and that’s all you can ask from a coach.
Players not showing up when they get an opportunity is on them, not the coaching staff.
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.
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.
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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