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Badger Bits: One more reason for Wisconsin's offensive ineptitude

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Just like it was during the last two minutes of last night's 67-66 loss at Iowa, Wisconsin's inability to score has been dragging the team down all season. Everyone seems to have their own reason for the struggles: Jordan Taylor has regressed. The Badgers miss the presence of a second scorer following the departure of Jon Leuer. They don't have anyone who can create his own shot. They don't push the ball in transition enough. They are over-reliant on the 3-pointer.

All those reasons certainly have something to do with the Badgers' incompetence at the offensive end, but I'll offer up one more---one more that's actually part of a worrying trend that extends beyond the 2011-12 season. Last night, you might have noticed the Badgers weren't getting to the line very often. In fact, the Badgers shot only three free throws all game (all by Ryan Evans, whose only miss came on the front end of a 1-and-1 with under a minute left), while the Hawkeyes made 15 trips to charity stripe, converting nine of them.

This disparity in free throw attempts has plagued the Badgers all season, just as it did most of last season. Remember the good ol' days when Bo Ryan's Badgers made more free throws than their opponents attempted on a regular basis? Those days are over.

As you can see, the Badgers have been shooting fewer and fewer free throws over last six seasons or so. They're on pace for their lowest total during the Bo Ryan era. Which has been the case in each of the past four seasons. It's certainly a troubling reality for Badger fans.

Is it Wisconsin's lack of athleticism that's hurting them? The numbers during the Devin Harris, Alando Tucker and Trevon Hughes eras are quite a bit better than those of late. Perhaps heralded recruit Sam Dekker is the answer? There's no way of telling now, but the Badgers certainly need to do something to buck this trend.


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