On Monday afternoon, two days before they tip off their non-conference portion off their schedule against Eastern Illinois, head coach Greg Gard and seniors Micah Potter and D’Mitrik Trice of the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team met with the media to discuss the upcoming season.
First up at the virtual podium was Gard and he started off by saying how he’s glad that he’s going through a crazy season like this with a senior-laden team and how he “couldn’t imagine” doing it without all of the veterans he has.
There was a lot of news on Monday about various college basketball teams having COVID-related cancellations and other teams travelling across the country even though they didn’t have a set opponent. Gard was asked about that and he talked about how the Badgers tried to build their non-conference schedule.
Gard notes that they built their non-conference schedule they way they did (they aren't leaving the state for any games) to try and avoid as many potential COVID pitfalls as possible. #Badgers— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) November 23, 2020
"The most important thing is that we are playing games."— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) November 23, 2020
"The last thing I wanted to do was fly somewhere and have an opponent we can't play."
"This isn't a fail safe, but it gives us the best chance to play."
Gard on how the non-con schedule will shake out. #Badgers
Both Gard and the players mentioned how odd it will be to play in front of no fans this season. This is quite similar to how the football team has mentioned “bringing their own juice” for games this season since the football stadiums are mostly empty around the Big Ten.
"As a team we're going to have to be very consistent" because there won't be a crowd to feed off of Gard says about the strange playing circumstances this season will be played under. #Badgers— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) November 23, 2020
"The biggest thing we have to do is create our energy."— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) November 23, 2020
Potter thinks that the team will do a good job with that because it's a veteran squad. #Badgers
“Obviously it’s hard and it sucks not having fans and your family in the crowd,” Trice said. But he thinks that the team is prepared for the challenges of playing in an empty arena. Trice also mentioned that some of the nerves the team experiences before games might be less since there will be no crowd. He noted freshman guard Jonathan Davis as a player who told him he would be looser in the first game since there won’t be fans in attendance.
Trice had more to say about how Davis looked in practice:
Trice on freshman Johnny Davis— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) November 23, 2020
"He's really come into his own. He honestly shoots it a lot better than I anticipated. He get's rebounds & really explosive. He brings a lot of energy."
Notes that he's "one of the main guys dunking the ball in practice."
MOAR DUNKS PLZ #Badgers
Lastly, many of you might not know her name but you certainly know what she sounds like when the opposing team is shooting free throws if you’ve watched a Badgers game over the last few seasons. Trice’s mom will not be at the games this year, but hopefully the Kohl Center staff can figure something out.