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Game notes: No. 11 Iowa 77, No. 21 Wisconsin 62

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Iowa’s offense was too good and Wisconsin’s offense was nowhere near good enough on Thursday night.

Iowa v Wisconsin Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers (15-8 overall, 9-7 Big Ten) lost to the No. 11 Iowa Hawkeyes (16-6 overall, 10-5 Big Ten) in Madison on Thursday night. It was not a particularly pretty game from UW’s perspective and despite a couple of runs to get within two possessions, the Badgers never really seemed to be in the game.

This was another in a long line of frustrating games for the Badgers and it’s difficult to see a path forward for this team without a couple of players getting hot at the same time. On that cheery note, let’s get into some game notes and observations!

  • The Badgers made eight two-point baskets all game against Iowa. This was the first time all season that they didn’t hit double digits in two-pointers and, in fact, their opponents have never done it. The last time Wisconsin made single digit two-pointers was Feb. 18 of last season when they made seven in a win against Purdue. It didn’t happen at all the season before that!
  • They were predictably poor around the rim, because the always are, going 4-for-9, and then were a ghastly 4-of-27 on mid-range shots with only Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter making two each.
  • Wisconsin did make 13 three pointers, which is the second most they’ve made in a game this year, but it took them 34 attempts (a respectable 38.2%). The problem there was that Iowa made 12 threes on only 19 attempts (63.2%) negating Wisconsin’s volume.
  • As has been the case for a lot of games recently, the shots that UW was missing weren’t really BAD shots...they were just missed. For as bland as the offense can look on occasion, the Badgers are able to get some good looks at the hoop they just can’t make them.
  • UW had one of their best offensive rebounding nights of the season, collecting 17 total. Micah Potter (six) and Jonathan Davis (four) stood out in particular. Somehow, those 17 offensive rebounds led to only four second chance points. This doesn’t seem statistically possible until you look at this sequence with just around four minutes remaining in the game:

04:05 5 WAHL T 3pt FG, jump shot missed
04:00 1 DAVIS J offensive rebound (8)
03:58 34 DAVISON B 3pt FG second chance, jump shot missed
03:56 1 DAVIS J offensive rebound (9)
03:52 5 WAHL T 3pt FG second chance, jump shot missed
03:49 11 POTTER M offensive rebound (9)
03:46 0 TRICED 3pt FG second chance, jump shot missed
03:43 11 POTTER M offensive rebound (10)
03:43 11 POTTER M foul drawn (3)

Media timeout, Badgers to inbound the ball

03:40 0 TRICE D 3pt FG second chance, jump shot missed

WHAT THE SHIT!?!?!?!

  • Brad Davison had a nice game. He scored 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting (5-of-8 from three) and grabbed two rebounds. He also played his usual solid defense.
  • Micah Potter played well too. He dropped 23 points, tying a season-high, on 8-of-15 shooting (3-of-6 from three) while hauling in 11 rebounds (five offensive), blocking a shot and dishing out an assist. He also played defense well and, quite frankly, has looked much improved on that end of the floor the past two games.
  • D’Mitrik Trice had 11 points, nine assists and kept Jordan Bohannon off the score sheet until very late in the game. He just shot really poorly (3-of-15 from the field) which sometimes submarined the offense’s efforts.
  • Tyler Wahl may as well have been invisible.
  • Aleem Ford made a couple of key threes in the second half but overall stunk it up on offense. He was alright on defense.
  • Jonathan Davis rebounded the ball well (nine total) and played decent defense but wouldn’t have been able to find the bottom of the basket if his life depended on it.
  • Nate Reuvers had two blocked shots but otherwise looked like he’d rather be anywhere else than the court at the Kohl Center and, to be perfectly fair, I get it. This has been a really weird season and not having the motivation to play night in and night out is a perfectly reasonable response. I have a fucking easy job. I get paid to blog about sports from the comfort of my own home and just about every day for the past nine or ten months I haven’t wanted to do it. The fact that Reuvers, who is still a college kid no matter how many times these broadcasts tell you how old every player on the team is, isn’t playing his best isn’t shocking. I bet a lot of us aren’t doing our best currently. I get upset watching this team play and find them joyless and ineffectual but I also get why that may be. This is basically a lost season and I’m frankly impressed that the Badgers have been able to win as many games as they have. I can’t wait until we get back to “normal” or whatever that may be, but for now I think we should cut these players a little slack and hope for the best.
  • The “best” is probably two wins in their last four games, btw, so let’s not get too crazy.
  • I think we should all appreciate how good Luka Garza is. He is either the best or second best player in the country and watching him play basketball is pretty fun.
  • The Badgers were down 20-10 after 10 minutes and, as we have seen this year, that usually means they are going to lose. Wisconsin has never really been a team built for huge comebacks and that’s especially true when there isn’t a Kaminsky or Dekker in the lineup.
  • Not really sure what else to say. The game on Sunday against Northwestern is as “must win” as they come.