On Saturday afternoon, the newly ranked No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers (14-6 overall, 8-5 Big Ten) were dominated by the newly ranked No. 6 Illinois Fighting Illini (13-5 overall, 9-3 Big Ten) 75-60 in Champaign, Ill. The Badgers did not play particularly well in any facet of the game and the Illini took total advantage of that.
Here is what head coach Greg Gard as well as seniors Nate Reuvers and D’Mitrik Trice had to say after the game:
- On defending lobs against Kofi Cockburn, “We’ve got to look at how we were guarding that ball screen...they were downhill and just throwing it up to him. We’re going to have to change that up because it was not working.”
- On what is not working or what needs to change, “We have to be more locked in and play more confident.”
- On missing so many threes, “Part of it is just confidence, we’re all great shooters we can make those shots. Getting to the free throw line can help with confidence too.”
- Reuvers mentioned multiple times about Cockburn setting ball screen for Ayo Dosunmu and how they have to defend it better. I’m aware that both Cockburn and Dosunmu are quite good, but what is so confusing about a ball screen that there is anything to work on? Maybe I missed some other action that Illinois was running out of those sets?
- On defending Dosunmu in ball screens, “Obviously he’s a great player, NBA-caliber athlete. We’ve got to make it a little more uncomfortable for him.”
- On shot selection, “We got a lot of really good looks...I think from time to time it really depends on how the first one does. If the first one goes in that helps the confidence.”
- On what he didn’t like about the game overall, “The fact that we shot it so poorly. The way we shot it offensively we almost had to pitch a perfect game defensively. It was going to be our counter to the size of Cockburn was to try to be able to knock down some shots and we had to be able to do that and we were not able to.”
- On poor rebounding performance, “Well, it’s 46-20 because we shot horribly.”
- On trying to mount a comeback in the second half, “I thought we were right there in the second half. I thought second half we did a better job converting in the paint.”
To be quite honest, none of these guys had long, or particularly thoughtful, answers as they were all clearly frustrated by their performance. Hell, you or I would be too! It will be interesting to see how the Badgers come out against Nebraska on Thursday after multiple days to prepare and rest. Wisconsin SHOULD blow them out, but nothing has seemed particularly easy for this group this year.