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The backbone of the Badgers offense isn’t a player, but rather a philosophy

How is the Badgers offense structured for success?

The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions in a 79-74 game, aided by Chucky Hepburn’s late-game heroics that pushed them into overtime before scoring 11 points in the final period en route to a victory.

In the win, the Badgers’ big four: Chucky Hepburn, Steven Crowl, Tyler Wahl, and Connor Essegian all played big roles, showcasing the offense’s potential with a 52% shooting night from the field and a 45% game from three.

However, despite the strong performances from several Badgers players, the backbone of the Wisconsin offense isn’t a specific player, but rather a philosophy: the necessity to play clean basketball without turnovers.

Wisconsin runs a slow-paced offense, as they shoot the second-fewest field goals per game in the Big 10, hence their low-scoring numbers, especially when aligned with their poor efficiency.

However, there is a benefit to that style, which was revealed on Wednesday when the potential of the Badgers’ offense was unraveled: the playstyle creates minimal turnovers, which the team has mastered in 2023.

The Badgers committed just eight turnovers against Penn State, despite the additional period of play, which is their 12th-straight game with single-digit turnovers this season.

Overall, the Badgers have committed just 8.9 turnovers per game this season, while forcing 12.2 turnovers, creating the second-highest takeaway margin in the Big 10 thus far.

With a low margin for error given Wisconsin’s woes offensively, the Badgers set themselves up with extra opportunities by being more efficient with ball movement.

On Sunday, with the Badgers operating at a high level offensively, while committing a low amount of turnovers, they were an extremely tough team to beat.

It required lights-out shooting from the Nittany Lions in the second half(62% from the field and 78% from three) to remain close, which hasn’t been a norm against the Badgers this season.

The over-arching point? If the Badgers can replicate the offensive performance that they showcased against Penn State with high execution, they’ll be able to challenge stronger teams as the Big 10 tournament arrives.

And, how do they achieve that level of execution? It begins with the backbone of the offense: committing minimal turnovers, which provides more opportunities for that execution to occur in regard to field goals.