With the loss, the Badgers continue their inconsistent stretch of failing to win two consecutive games, which last happened on January 3rd.
Here are the quick takeaways from Wisconsin’s loss on Saturday.
The Wisconsin offense was all about the three-pointer on Saturday, as 36 of their 57 shots came from beyond the arc.
As a result, the Badgers were extremely streaky against Rutgers, going on significant cold stretches, but compiling together a barrage of threes that kept them in the game at times.
Wisconsin’s top three-point shooters, Chucky Hepburn and Connor Essegian, struggled on Saturday, with the former hitting 2/6 of his threes and the latter missing all seven attempts from beyond the arc.
The biggest contributions came from backups Jordan Davis and Kamari McGee, who each had three three-pointers, as well as guard Max Klesmit.
The Badgers were going to live and die by the three-pointer and it didn’t go their way as much on Saturday, finishing with a 33% clip on the day.
Wisconsin had a stronger start, hitting 6/14 threes in the first half, aided by two a piece from Davis and Klesmit, before cooling off in the second half, hitting just 6/22 of their threes.
For the second-straight game, the “unsung heroes” played a vital part in the game, as Davis led the team with 14 points, while Kamari McGee was third on the team with nine points, all off three-pointers.
The Badgers’ starters struggled, as Connor Essegian had a career-worst 0/10 shooting day, while Chucky Hepburn connected on just 2/7 of their shots, which is why it was integral that the role players stepped up on Saturday.
Despite the one-point loss, the backups showed out, with Davis playing 20 minutes and McGee seeing 23 minutes with Hepburn in foul trouble for much of the game.
McGee and Davis were a +9 and +7, respectively, which were amongst the team’s best, and have played well down the stretch, which will be integral for the Badgers as the Big 10 tournament arrives.
Tyler Wahl needs to get more touches.
The Badgers’ forward was easily the best starter when he saw the ball, shooting 3/5 for seven points and displaying aggressiveness when he got the ball at the top of the key.
Wahl is a better player when working downhill, rather than from the post, but has operated out of both looks and executed.
For some reason, his shots have decreased, be it him not commanding the ball enough, but more so the lack of designed plays.
Instead of looking for Wahl down low, the Badgers have focused on providing Steven Crowl with more touches, who, frankly, hasn’t been physical or efficient enough during the second half of the season after his counterpart returned from injury.
There need to be more sets for Wahl, who, when aggressive, has shown the ability to score off the dribble, but also set his teammates up with open looks.
The Badgers have gone towards their guards for significant scoring this season, which is reasonable given Hepburn and Essegian’s contributions, but Wahl provides offensively, and can open up better looks for his guards.
If the Badgers don’t get Wahl going, they’re not going to win games.