It’s been a weird year for the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team this winter. Coming into the year many had very high expectations for what this team could do, and although they have not met that, it still feels like they could. The talent is there with an experience laden team, but it seems like the time to put it all together is now.
Wednesday night’s contest at Nebraska is a must-win game by every stretch of the imagination. The Badgers come in 14-6 (8-5 Big Ten) on the season with a brutal stretch still to go. After Nebraska, the Badgers face five ranked opponents in their last six games. With so many tough games, this one is important to get.
Here is what seniors Brad Davison and Micah Potter had to say about the importance of the contest, and how they can get some things corrected in key areas.
To start the presser Brad Davison was asked about his shot, which has fallen consistently against Nebraska over the course of his career. Davison has shot 60% from three against Nebraska over his last three games. Last year, the Badgers hit 15 threes at Nebraska on their way to a road school record. When asked why he seems to shoot well against the Huskers, Davison had this to say.
“I don't know, I wish I had the answer for you so I could put it in a bottle and save it for every opponent... maybe the way they play defense, the looks I'm getting. They do try to run people off the three point line so you do get more looks. Hopefully, we can continue that Wednesday.”
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 15, 2020
FIFTEEN 3s (road school record)
Brad Davison with 30 points alone
Top Plays from our win at Nebraska#OnWisconsin » #Badgers pic.twitter.com/MjxIzDg8t2
Speaking off shots falling, the last few games have not been kind to the Badgers from beyond the arch, especially on the road. From deep the Badgers are 21-for-78 (26%) from three in their last three road contests. When asked if the group was pressing Davison mentioned the group looking to find its rhythm.
“I think we’re just trying to find our rhythm offensively. Your shot gives your rhythm, your shot gives you confidence, your shot gets you going but we’ve got to find other ways to get into that rhythm... there’s a lot of other ways in a basketball game you can do it. I don't know if pressing is the word, but just still trying to find a rhythm. Finding a rhythm is key moving down the stretch here.”
Shooting continued to be the topic of conversation and when asked about the shooting woes and what might be causing it Davison added this.
“We just need to shoot better. We’re getting great looks from three. We’re moving the ball, playing inside out and doing what we want to do... we’re going to keep hunting them, that’s how you make a run. You gotta put the ball in the hoop and that’s what we’re looking to do in this stretch.”
After Davison spoke to the media, Micah Potter sat down to discuss what he has been seeing over the course of the last few games and what the Badgers need to improve on. To start, again, shooting was the topic of conversation. When asked if Potter had good looks that he felt confident in against Illinois Potter had this to say.
“Every single shot I took I liked, Coach even told me watching the film back that every one of the threes I took he liked. They were all open shots, all inside out, they just didn’t fall. It was one of those nights... there are going to be times where you make zero and games where you make six. That’s just the game of basketball.”
If you are sensing a theme here from the media you would be correct as shooting remained the focal point. When asked if cold streaks can be contagious to teammates around you, Potter said absolutely.
“Absolutely, shooting is 90% mental. Seeing one go in from another teammate can get the team going a little bit and the next one has a better chance of going in. I believe that 100%. I think anyone else who knows the game of basketball will agree with me. It’s just one of those things that you have to be able to bounce back.... you gotta leave it behind ya, move on, and go to the next game.”
"I always told my boys, I said, 'If you have bad shooting form, you're not welcome in our home.'"— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) January 26, 2021
Tim Potter, a third-generation basketball guy, made sure @BadgerMBB's Micah Potter (@BigJam_23) developed a pure stroke at an early age.
Fueled by @Gatorade pic.twitter.com/sJfl14ksxY
To round out the shooting discussion Potter was asked what he does after a tough shooting night. Of course, you have to move on from it, but how does one work to get out of that slump and not let it fester? Potter said the best course of action is to keep on working.
“I can tell you after the Illinois game I was in the gym and shot until the gun broke. I’m not exaggerating... I was frustrated after that game because I know I am a much better shooter than that... it’s good to be upset about it, but it’s also not good to dwell on it.”
Overall, as you may have noticed from the headline and the topic of conversation from the media, shooting is clearly the focal point for this team. As it stands now the Badgers have not shot well on the road over their last few contests but they have the opportunity to right the ship here on the home stretch. Last year at Nebraska, the Badgers shot 48% from deep, so maybe the road woes will get some friendly bounces against Huskers.