The Wisconsin Badgers lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday. We all watched the game or, more luckily, didn’t watch and just saw the score and hollerin’ on Twitter and chalked it up as a loss, so we don’t need to rehash the officiating abomination that the end of the game included.
The funny thing about this game was that it was the best the Badgers had played in over a month on both sides of the court and we all just kinda overlooked that fact for the few hours immediately following the game.
Wisconsin held Luka Garza in check (or as much as he can be held in check since he still scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds) and played solid defense on everyone (not named Joe Wieskamp). The offense continued to generate open looks from three and while not enough found the bottom of the net, some did! Let’s take a look at some individual game notes on the players and other things I noticed while watching.
- I would be remiss if I didn’t start off by saying I hope that Wieskamp’s injury isn’t serious and he is healthy enough to play in the NCAA Tournament. He started the game as a man possessed and was giving the Badgers fits to the tune of 5-for-5 shooting (2-of-2 from deep) for 12 points in only 12 minutes played. He then stepped on Tyler Wahl’s foot during a loose ball scramble and had to be helped to the locker room. He reemerged with a boot on his foot and obviously didn’t play again. If he hadn’t have gotten injured the final score may not have been as close as it was.
- Micah Potter has improved so much as this season has gone on. He had a masterful performance on Sunday against Iowa, scoring a game-high 23 points (9-of-12 from the field, 4-of-6 from three), dishing out two assists, grabbing one rebound (kinda concerning, but whatever the rest of his game was good) and blocking one shot. He made life difficult for Garza on both ends of the floor and should be commended for a great game.
- The Badgers, yet again, missed too many open three-pointers (9-of-24, 37.5%). Only Potter and Brad Davison (two) made more than one three-pointer and a whole lot of them were uncontested or lightly contested. I think it is now painfully clear that this is an average shooting team that can sometimes get scorching hot. UW did make two more threes than Iowa and once Wieskamp was out of the game, the Hawkeyes struggled from deep.
- The free throw disparity was a major problem. Wisconsin shot well from the charity stripe, a perfect 8-for-8, but Iowa attempted 20 free throws and made 14 of them. That’s more than the final score difference right there. Outside of the terrible officiating which I said I wouldn’t mention again, the Badgers need to continue to try and take the ball inside and draw fouls at the rim.
- Speaking of shooting at the rim, the Badgers were 14-of-21 on shots at the rim and ended up with 32 points in the paint. Iowa was 12-of-17 at the rim and scored 38 points in the paint. This may be anecdotal, but it did seem like UW was trying to work it inside early in the game. Two of Wisconsin’s first three possessions were paint shots (Aleem Ford miss and Nate Reuvers make respectively) but then four of their next five shots were three point attempts (of which they only made one and the one shot that wasn’t an attempted three was a made driving layup by Davison).
- Garza and Keegan Murray (13 points, six rebounds, three blocks) were active on the offensive glass for Iowa, including a back-breaking o-board that Murray grabbed around Ford that set up Jordan Bohannon’s three point attempt where he was “fouled” by D’Mitrik Trice.
- Freshman Jonathan Davis had a nice bounce-back game for Wisconsin. He was extremely active on defense, recording four steals, a couple while sneaking up from behind the guy getting the pass and deflecting the pass away. He also made a clutch corner three in the second half and made all four of his free throws. For the game he scored 11 points, had three assists and pulled down two rebounds. He also drew four fouls, the most on the team. He has a bright future.
- Brad Davison also had a good game, scoring 14 points (5-of-10 shooting, 2-of-4 from deep), grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists and had two steals. He played stout defense and was only involved in one major foul review.
- Tyler Wahl had six points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal and fouled out. He was perfectly serviceable in his complimentary role.
- D’Mitrik Trice was hindered by foul trouble all game, he also fouled out, and never quite got in the flow of things. He scored eight points on 3-of-8 shooting, adding three rebounds and three assists with two turnovers too. Trice was a game-high +12 in just under 26 minutes of action. The only other times this season he’s played fewer than 32 minutes were in the first three games of the season (non-con blowouts) and the Louisville game (B1G/ACC Challenge blowout). Another six plus minutes of Trice in this game probably would have made a big difference.
- Especially when you consider how poorly backup point guard Trevor Anderson played! The usually reliable Anderson was 1-for-6 from the field (0-for-3 from deep) for two points. He also had two rebounds and a foul. Those were all of his stats from the game. He was a game-low -20 on the afternoon.
- Aleem Ford and Nate Reuvers were mostly invisible. Ford scored five points (2-of-7 shooting, 1-of-4 from deep) and had four boards and an assist. He was out-maneuvered by Murray on a critical free throw box out and missed the potential game-tying three with 11 seconds left when he could have continued moving the ball for a better look. Reuvers scored four points on 2-of-5 shooting (0-of-2 from three), had two rebounds, one assist and one block. I literally remember nothing else from his game.
- Wisconsin scored 1.12 PPP, Iowa scored 1.18 PPP.