Badger Bits: It is Time for Sam Dekker to Start

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Inserting the young freshman into the starting five would help get him into a better rhythm and give the Badgers a much needed boost offensively.

Let's get this out off the top: Wisconsin's offense is challenged right now. The lids on the Kohl Center rims seem to be permanently attached.

One good possession, one questionable possession and then one awful possession -- that is the revolving sequence Badger fans are seeing all too often out of Wisconsin's offense. The reoccurring inconsistencies and unbearably long droughts on the offensive end are testing the Grateful Red's patience.

At some point, Bo Ryan has to make a switch that will give his team a jolt. I think an easy fix could be inserting Sam Dekker into the starting lineup in favor of Mike Bruesewitz. Is Dekker really so challenged defensively that the Badgers will see a substantial drop-off on that side of the ball? I think sacrificing a little on defense will ultimately help Dekker and Wisconsin put the ball through the hoop at a more impressive clip.

You hear college coaches talk about needing five games to see just how good their teams can be. Five games tell them all they need to know. In light of the fact the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines come to town Saturday morning, let's look closely at Wisconsin's offense during its past five HOME games.

The Badgers are shooting 37.5 percent (107-of-285) from the floor and that includes a game against Illinois in which they shot just a shade under 50 percent. During this stretch at the Kohl Center, Dekker has scored 33 points on 12-of-28 shooting in 97 minutes played. Compare these numbers with Bruesewitz, whose struggles from the field continue: 34 points on 11-of-31 shooting in 159 minutes of action.

Are Dekker's numbers that much more impressive? No. But he's the far more efficient and talented player on the offensive end, and I don't know how much longer Ryan can afford to let his team struggle. The Badgers need one game where it all just clicks (like it did at Assembly Hall), and I think the chances of that happening are much greater with an assertive and aggressive Dekker.

After all, Bo and the boys are in the thick of the Big Ten title race after Illinois stunningly knocked off Indiana last night. The conference crown is up for grabs, but if Wisconsin wants a say in the outcome, the offense must improve... and fast. A few more cold-blooded threes from the freshman would certainly help, too.

Friday’s Links

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus outlines the Big Ten title race.

Jim Polzin looks at the friendship between UW's Traevon Jackson and UM's Trey Burke.

Bleacher Report hands out its midseason awards in the Big Ten.

Head coach Gary Anderson isn't worried about the risk that comes with recruiting junior college players.

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