The Wisconsin Badgers saw their winning streak come to an end in a brutal 98-73 defeat to the Arizona Wildcats where they were effectively beaten in all aspects of the game.
Offensively, the Badgers struggled to finish, while turning the ball over six times in the first half, and they could never overcome Arizona’s big lead.
Defensively, Wisconsin easily had their worst game of the season, as Arizona had everything going their way, shooting 68 percent from inside the arc and 46 percent from outside the arc in a dominant performance.
Here are the quick takeaways from the Badgers 98-73 loss to Arizona.
Pick & Roll
The pick-and-roll action has been a major staple in Wisconsin’s offense all season, which is why it was clear they would rely on those actions against Arizona.
The Wildcats have also relied on pick-and-rolls significantly, which has worked well, given their ability to shoot the three, as well as their ability to score inside the paint.
In this one, the pick-and-roll was going to be important, and Arizona absolutely dominated this aspect of the game.
On the offensive end, Arizona scored at a high rate in the pick-and-roll, as guards were able to convert on threes when the Badgers sagged, and found the bigs on lobs when attacking.
Wisconsin’s centers just seemed out of place defensively in the pick-and-roll, and Arizona, who seemed extremely well-prepped, took advantage.
Defensively, the Wildcats consistently went over screens and were in position defensively to counteract the roller.
Wisconsin’s guards weren’t very aggressive coming out of the pick-and-roll actions, as Chucky Hepburn took just three first-half shots.
As a result, the offense became stagnant, and Wisconsin couldn’t get much going after the first ten minutes, leading to a widened gap as the first half came to a close.
The Badgers need to find a balance against more athletic teams in their pick-and-roll actions, otherwise; it’ll be hard for them to find offense.
Coming into this one, Wisconsin was a strong rebounding team, as they allowed around 27 rebounds a game to opponents, by far the best mark in the Big Ten. Additionally, they were able to secure around 11 offensive rebounds a game, dominating on both ends.
However, they faced an Arizona team that came in as the fourth-best rebounding team in the nation, securing 47 a game, and that translated to Saturday’s game.
Arizona allowed just six second-chance opportunities to the Badgers, with only one coming in the first half, and out-rebounded Wisconsin 39-30.
But, the physicality stretched to more than just rebounds; there was a clear distinction with finishing.
Arizona was consistently aggressive, attacking the rim, where they finished 12/14 on layups, whereas the Badgers finished 12/23.
Additionally, the Wildcats shot 26 free throws, compared to Wisconsin’s eight, although it seemed that the whistle wasn’t blown for the latter at times.
The Wildcats were able to consistently finish at the rim, be it the guards or the bigs, shooting 68 percent inside the arc, while the Badgers shot just 38.8 percent from two-point range.
Moreover, Arizona’s physicality seemed to suck the energy out of the Badgers, and the Wildcats punished Wisconsin with their tempo (more on that in a minute), leading to a blowout.
Coming into this one, Wisconsin had recently faced the Marquette Golden Eagles, who were known for their offensive pace, and held their in-state rivals to 64 points, their lowest output of the day.
However, in Arizona, they faced one of the highest-paced teams in the NCAA, and it showed on Saturday, as the Badgers couldn’t keep up.
Wisconsin has done a good job of controlling the pace this season, but struggled to contain Arizona, who continuously pushed in transition and used their athleticism to attack the rim at a high rate.
The Wildcats had 19 fastbreak points and 12 points off turnovers, which outpaced the Badgers, and the pace of play disparity was clearly seen during the game.
Tommy Lloyd’s Wildcats were clearly prepped to counter the Badgers, who will now have to go back to the drawing board to see how to better defend the fastbreak scenarios.
As the Providence and Tennessee losses were learning points for Wisconsin, this Arizona loss should be a learning point for the Badgers, who now have experience against the best team in the nation early in the season.
All hope isn’t lost for the Badgers; they’re coming off a brutal three-game stretch and now can settle into the remainder of their non-conference schedule, but Saturday’s loss was a reality check where Arizona just flat-out beat Wisconsin in all aspects of the game.