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Badgers Basketball

Wisconsin Badgers drop 10th straight to Michigan State at the Breslin Center



The Breslin Center has been a house of horrors for the Wisconsin Badgers, who came in to Sunday’s contest with a nine-game losing streak at Michigan State. Make it 10-straight at the Breslin Center and four of the last five on the season.

Even a 22-point night by Nigel Hayes along with 15 points from fellow senior Zak Showalter couldn’t save the Badgers. That’s because MSU countered with 22 points from freshman big man Nick Ward and had four players reach double figures in the 84-74 victory.

Wisconsin’s offense has struggled mightily out of the gate in its recent slump. That wasn’t the case on Sunday, as UW shot 43 percent from the field and committed just eight turnovers on the day.

However, the Spartans hit on 28 of 60 shots and were much more efficient at the free throw line, hitting 21 of 23 from the charity stripe. UW had an opportunity to really make the Spartans pay for foul trouble, but Hayes couldn’t find any rhythm from the foul line and was just 4-12 from the free throw line. The rest of the Badgers were 9-10 from the line, but Hayes’ struggles were just too much to counter down the stretch.

It was evident offense wasn’t going to the be problem for the Badgers on Sunday, as Wisconsin was up 10-4 at the under-16 minute timeout thanks to good hustle from Ethan Happ and some big shooting by Showalter.

Michigan State wasn’t going away though, instead it kept pace with the Badgers and after UW cycled out Happ, Hayes and Koenig it was all MSU for the next 15 minutes or so. It led to an 8-0 run, MSU’s first lead of the game and eventually 13-point lead at 26-23 with 6:02 to play in the first half.

The Spartans took UW to school down low for much of the first half. Nick Ward put up 13 of his 22 points on the day in the first half, while Matt McQuaid came off the bench to give MSU 11 of his 15 points in the half as well.

McQuaid came in averaging just 5.1 points per game on the season, but he went off in the first half and managed to outscore UW’s bench 11-9 by himself. However, the Spartans hot hand eventually ended.

UW took advantage of MSU’s misfortune late in the half, bursting out to a 14-2 run to end the half. It resulted in just a one-point Spartans lead at 38-37 as the teams went to the locker room.

The hosts came out hot to start the second half, going on a 6-2 run to start the half and push its lead to 44-39 with 17:10 to play. However, Wisconsin went to the all-Hayes offensive strategy and the senior put the team on his back to try to get things back in UW’s favor.

He had 13 of his 22 points in the second half, but even his effort offensively couldn’t slow down a hot-shooting Spartans squad.

After a Hayes layup made it a two-point MSU lead with 12:26 to play, the Spartans woke up and put together a 16-5 run to re-establish dominance in the game.

Wisconsin tried mightily late in the game, going on a 7-0 run over a 2:14 span to cut Michigan State’s lead to 72-66 with 3:11 to play. It was just too little, too late though and the Spartans were able to settle down and force the Badgers in to rough shooting situations down the stretch.

Michigan State controlled the game late, and even got senior guard Eron Harris, who suffered a career-ending knee injury just a few weeks ago, in to the game to take in the crowd one last time.

Harris also got to participate in the Spartans tradition of kissing the court, doing so after a traveling call with a few seconds left in the game gave Harris a safe opportunity to take center stage.

Wisconsin’s road to the NCAA tournament isn’t going to get much easier either, with a red-hot Iowa and Minnesota left on the regular season schedule. UW will look to end its late-season skid when it hosts Iowa on Thursday March 2 at 8p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN.

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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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