The Wisconsin Badgers are struggling.
Simple as that.
After losing five of their last six games, Badgers fans are left wondering whether this team will even qualify for the NCAA Tournament in March.
And there is good reason to think they won’t. A few reasons include the obvious lack of scoring production, minimal depth off the bench, and the struggling defense over these past few games.
In the last six games, the Badgers have averaged 60 points per game. That simply won’t cut it.
Off the bench, there hasn’t been a steady stream of production to help score points.
And on defense, this has not looked like the typical Wisconsin Badgers defense that we are used to seeing. Instead, it has looked easy for opponents to score, while it has been difficult for the Badgers to score on the other end of the court.
During these past six games, the Badgers have played like the ninth-best team in the Big Ten, which they were previously voted as by the media.
However, there are also reasons to believe this team will put things together and finish the season strong.
First of all, the incredible improvement from Steven Crowl has been entertaining to watch. Crowl has averaged 12.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game this season while also shooting 50% from the field. He has been one of the best players on this team, if not the best player on the team in recent weeks. Additionally, Crowl has become a dominant player in the paint.
Second, the team should get healthy, hopefully. The Badgers have been struggling with injuries these past few weeks. It started with Tyler Wahl missing a few games, and now Max Klesmit missing a couple of games. Typically, when a team is missing two starters, they tend to struggle. Both Wahl and Klesmit are crucial defensively for the Badgers, and the struggles have been very noticeable without them on the floor.
Lastly, the Badgers have only missed the NCAA tournament once since 1999. This is one of the most consistent programs in the country. If there is any team that knows how to get hot at the end of a season and punch their ticket into the tournament, it’s the Badgers.
Although it has been frustrating at times, I still believe this team has what it takes to grind out wins and push through to the tournament.
Greg Gard is a good coach who will undoubtedly do everything he can to push this team to its maximum potential. And this team has a strong starting lineup that is capable of winning lots of games.
Chucky Hepburn is one of the best point guards in the Big Ten. Although he has struggled a bit in the last two games, it is hard to forget how strong of a player he has been the rest of the season.
Tyler Wahl is having another strong season for the Badgers and has averaged almost 13 points and 6 rebounds per game.
And Connor Essegian is one of the best freshman scorers in the entire country.
Even though the results have not quite been what fans expected at this point in the season, there is still plenty of time for the team to turn it around and put together a nice run into the postseason.