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Game notes: No. 12 Illinois 75, No. 19 Wisconsin 60

Not much went right on Saturday for the Badgers.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

As we may have mentioned in multiple places already...not much went right for the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (14-6 overall, 8-5 Big Ten) against No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini (13-5 overall, 9-3 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon in Champaign, Ill. The Badgers lost 75-60 and, despite a few runs that cut the lead to seven in the second half, it never really felt a lot closer than that.

The Badgers lost the first 10 minutes of the game 18-12 and, as has been the case in most of their losses this year, that led to them losing the game in the end. Here are some interesting (nothing about this game was fun) facts and highlights from the game.

  • Wisconsin shot 4-of-24 (16.7%) from three point range (0-for-9 in the first half) for the game. That is dreadful, especially for a team that gets 34.9% of its points (No. 69 in the country) from beyond the arc. Micah Potter and Brad Davison were each 0-for-5 from deep, Aleem Ford missed both of his attempts, D’Mitrik Trice was only 2-for-7 and Nate Reuvers was 1-for-4. On the bright side, Jonathan Davis continued his hot shooting from three by nailing his only attempt
  • Speaking of being ineffective! Davison and Ford combined to go 1-for-10 from the field with two points...combined. Just devastating when 40% of your starting lineup is basically invisible on one side of the court. It’s not like any of their other stats were that good either. Ford had one (1) rebound, three assists, two turnovers and a steal while Davison had four boards, two assists and one turnover.
  • Potter, while he did score eight points, may have had the worst game out of anyone.

Potter was 4-for-12 (0-for-5 from three) from the field, had one (!!!) rebound, zero assists, four turnovers, one steal and one block. I don’t know how the starting center ends up with one rebound in any game, but here we are. The four turnovers were as impressive as they were frustrating. Per usual, Potter was not good enough on defense, especially in any sort of pick and roll situation, making it hard to play him when he’s scoring and almost rendering him unplayable when he isn’t scoring well.

  • Wisconsin shot 11 free throws all game and merely two in the second half. They only made six of them! Long gone are the days where the Badgers make more free throws than the other team attempts. Kofi Cockburn drew seven fouls and Ayo Dosunmu drew six, showing how a big man and perimeter creator should be playing in an ideal world.
  • Speaking of Cockburn and Dosunmu, they were both dominant on Saturday. They could get whatever shot they wanted and there was nothing Wisconsin could do about it. Cockburn was 10-of-13 (8-of-8 on dunks!) from the field for 23 points and added 14 rebounds. He had a double-double in the first half for goodness sake! Dosunmu cooked any and every defender UW threw at him, recording an eye-popping triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Dosunmu also had seven turnovers but they never seemed to matter.
  • The Badgers corralled a paltry 19 rebounds, compared to the Illini grabbing 46, on the game. Cockburn, Dosunmu and Da’Monte Williams (nine boards) dominated the glass.
  • Somewhat strangely, the Badgers were very active on defense in the steals category. They had 10 as a team, Trice led the way with four while Tyler Wahl and Nate Reuvers each had two. Part of this may be that Dosunmu was careless with the ball on occasion, but it would be nice if the Badgers continued to be aggressive with defending opposing ball handlers.
  • Reuvers had a nice game off the bench (11 points, two boards, two steals, two blocks) and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him inserted back into the starting lineup for Potter against Nebraska.
  • Wisconsin, per tradition, were outscored 38-28 in the paint. The Illini also outscored the Badgers in fast break points, 9-0.
  • The Badgers shot an absurd 27 mid-range jumpers, making only 12. Presumably the Illini were ecstatic about the fact. Even though UW wasn’t shooting well from three, taking mid-range shots is not the correct answer to fix the inefficient offense. On a positive note, the Badgers were 8-for-8 at the rim against Illinois. Missed bunnies has been a hallmark of the UW offense for years so that was nice to see.
  • Illinois had 1.04 points per possession. Wisconsin had 0.83.