The No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers ended their week on a high note with a 91-78 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers, thanks to a 26-point performance from guard Max Klesmit, who had an incredible run with 20 straight points in the second half.
In the win, the Badgers shot the ball extremely well, hitting 60 percent of their shots, while shooting 48 percent from free and 86 percent from the free throw line, scoring an impressive 1.44 points per possession.
Defensively, the Badgers allowed Indiana to shoot 54 percent from the field, thanks to 28 points from Malik Reneau, but their offensive spree kept the game out of hand for a majority of the second half.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers' 91-78 win over the Indiana Hoosiers.
Mad Max (Again)
Y’all know the drill by now. Whenever Mad Max goes off, we have to write a section on it because he usually is scorching hot.
But, today was a different level for Max Klesmit, who scored 26 points overall and 20 consecutive points for the Badgers in the second half on his own, ultimately breaking the game wide open for Wisconsin.
In our preview, I shared how, while it was clear the game was going to be a battle down low, the Badgers had an advantage with their guards, and Max Klesmit shined, scoring a majority of his points in the second half and finishing the game shooting 8/11 from the field and 5/7 from three.
Klesmit has now shot 26/38 (68 percent) from the field and 14/20 (70 percent) from three over his last four games, which includes three performances of at least 15 points.
Klesmit’s performance is why the Badgers are a different team than their 2022-23 selves; they have several players who are capable of creating their own shot, and it has reflected in an extremely efficient offense this season.
During the offseason, I asked head coach Greg Gard about his offense and its pace, to which he responded by revealing that the most important factor for the Badgers this season was their efficiency, rather than how fast they played.
Thus far, he’s been absolutely correct, as the Badgers possess one of the more efficient offenses, shooting 47 percent from the field and 35 percent from three entering Friday’s game.
However, efficiency delves further than the field goal percentages; the Badgers are getting to the free throw line at a high rate, and are shooting a Big Ten-high 77 percent from the line.
They’ve averaged over 1.2 points per possession in each of their last five games, where they’ve scored as high as 91 points and as low as 71 points.
Many question whether the Badgers could field a competitive team with their style of offense, and head coach Greg Gard is not only proving that it’s possible, but that it is also sustainable with the way Wisconsin has played this season.
With one of the more exciting games for the Badgers this season, I don’t want to harp too much on the negatives, but it was intriguing that Wisconsin had a slow start for the second consecutive game.
Indiana jumped out to an early 8-3 lead, much like Penn State’s 12-2 lead on Tuesday, as the Badgers had multiple turnovers, while A.J. Storr couldn’t get his shot going with a few early attempts.
Wisconsin, who had generally been one of the better teams when it came to turnovers prior to their last two games, had three in the first 4.5 minutes of the game, while looking a little out of sorts offensively.
However, after the first media timeout, the Badgers settled in with their bench unit, as John Blackwell scored seven points in a short stretch, while Nolan Winter, Carter Gilmore, and Kamari McGee played their roles well.
Within minutes, the Badgers bounced back, taking a 13-12 lead, which only expanded as the first half continued.
The Badgers have started slow now in consecutive games, which is an issue, but they’ve also responded well, and today’s game showcased their bench talent and depth.