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The Starting 5: Wisconsin vs. Marquette basketball preview

A preview of Wisconsin Basketball’s rivalry game against Marquette.

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The Wisconsin Badgers will take on in-state rival Marquette in the Kohl Center on Saturday at 12 PM. The Badgers are coming off a heartbreaking loss at Temple, while the Golden Eagles are riding high after a win over a quality Vermont team. Wisconsin is 4-6, with all six of their losses coming to teams ranked inside the Pomeroy Top 60. Marquette is 6-3, with wins against VCU, LSU, and Vermont, and losses to Purdue, Wichita State, and Georgia. The game will air on Fox Sports 1.

1. Badgers need to win this one for their NCAA Tournament chances

The Wisconsin Badgers have made the NCAA Tournament 19 years in a row, but that impressive streak is in jeopardy this season. The Badgers are 4-6, and the best team they’ve beaten in the non-conference is a Yale team that was missing its star point guard. However, don’t count Wisconsin out just yet. They have hung around with some really good teams, like Xavier, Baylor, UCLA and Temple. All four of those games could have gone either way. That proves they aren’t as bad as their record indicates. However, in order to make the tournament, they are going to have to start building a resume. This game against Marquette is going to be their last opportunity to win a non-conference game against a Power 6 opponent. If the Badgers lose here, it is going to be extremely difficult to make the big dance no matter how many Big Ten games they win.

2. Marquette has a trio of deadly three-point shooters

According to the Pomeroy Rankings, Marquette has the 19th most efficient offense in college basketball. A lot of that has to do with their three-headed monster of Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, and Sam Hauser. Howard, a 5’11 guard, is averaging 22 points a game while putting up a 40-50-90 shooting line. Rowsey, another 5’11 guard, is averaging 21.6 points per game and hitting 40% of his three-point attempts. Hauser is not a 5’11 guard. He is a stretch-four that hits 44% of his three-pointers. It’s safe to say that you don’t want to give these guys open looks from deep.

3. Badgers dealing with some nagging health issues

Ever since the Baylor game, Wisconsin freshman Brad Davison has been dealing with a left shoulder injury that won’t go away. It gave him some problems against Virginia last week, and he reportedly reinjured it in practice on Thursday. While it might be smart to give it some time to rest in order to not jeopardize his bright future, Davison has proven to be extremely tough. If he is allowed to play, he will be in the game. But it is something to keep an eye on.

Davison isn’t the only Badger guard with health issues. According to Jim Polzin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, starting point guard D’Mitrik Trice was held out of practice on Thursday with an undisclosed injury, while key backup Kobe King is dealing with an illness. Trice is expected to play, while King’s status is up in the air.

4. Marquette’s defense is a work-in-progress

That may actually be kind. According to the Pomeroy Rankings, Marquette has the 169th best defense in college basketball, which is one of the worst rankings out of all Power-6 teams. They have given up 80 points or more in six of their first nine games of the season. In fact, this porous defense might be exactly what this struggling Wisconsin offense needs. Marquette has nobody that can stop Ethan Happ, and all of Wisconsin’s guards except Trice will have a size advantage that they can take advantage of in the post.

5. Contrast in styles and tempos will be evident

These two teams will play very different styles and tempos. Marquette is going to look to play fast, using their quick, shifty guards to get into the lane and kick-it out for open three-pointers. They aren’t gun shy either. Rowsey and Howard will shoot it from anywhere on the floor at any time in the possession.

Meanwhile, the Badgers are going to try to slow down the game and get as many post touches as possible. Happ will likely dominate this game, and Iverson, King, and Davison can also have success in the post against an undersized Marquette squad.

Prediction: Wisconsin 71, Marquette 66

Wisconsin is currently favored by 6-points according to Bet Online, and I think Marquette’s dynamic guards will hit just enough three-pointers to cover that spread. But Marquette will have no answers for Happ. In the Bradley Center, I would have taken Marquette. But I can’t see the Badgers losing to Marquette at home with the size advantage they possess.

 

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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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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 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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