The No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers lost their fourth consecutive game in a 78-56 loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in arguably their ugliest loss of the year on Saturday (yes, I said the same on Wednesday).
With the loss, the Badgers drop to 16-8 on the season and 8-5 in conference play, while Rutgers adds another game to their winning streak, moving to three straight now.
Offensively, Wisconsin shot 33 percent from the field and struggled once again from deep, hitting just 5/21 of their threes.
Defensively, the Badgers struggled early, allowing points off turnovers and in transition, leading to Rutgers shooting 45 percent from the field and 59 percent from three.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers’ 78-56 loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
It seems like I’m just repeating the main takeaways, but that’s Wisconsin’s main issue: their problems are recurring.
The Badgers got off to a slow start, turning the ball over four times in the first three minutes, leading to a 9-0 start for Rutgers.
It just seemed like they weren’t ready to play; Wisconsin struggled against the press, while allowing a team that entered the game shooting 38 percent from the field to have an efficient offensive attack.
Wisconsin turned it over on 29.7 percent of their first-half possessions, which is uncharacteristic of them, but a pattern evolving as of late.
Rutgers ultimately took a 37-28 lead going into halftime, with 24 points coming in the paint and 12 off turnovers.
Then, in the second half, Wisconsin got off to a slow start again, as the Scarlet Knights quickly jumped out to a 45-30 lead.
From there, Wisconsin never cut the lead to single digits, ultimately losing 78-56.
Once again, the Badgers looked to shoot the three ball at high volume and failed to shoot efficiently.
Wisconsin took 21 threes on the day, hitting just five of them, of which three came from Connor Essegian.
Once again, the Badgers did not look to attack the paint enough, taking 36 percent of their shots from behind the arc, and it was an ineffective attack.
The starters were especially bad, as the starting five shot 1/12 from deep in an ugly shooting game for the team.
Wisconsin needs to continue attacking more, and it starts with Chucky Hepburn in the pick-and-roll, as the Badgers guard frankly doesn’t look to score when coming off the screen.
Defenses have picked up on the trend, as they’ve mainly looked to limit his playmaking ability now.
Additionally, Wisconsin has gone away from utilizing its interior attack as a focal point of the offense.
Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl both were big factors in the rebounding department, but didn’t get many looks designed for them offensively, leading to more of a perimeter-centric focus.
The Badgers need to figure things out sooner than later, otherwise; their fall isn’t going to stop here.
Just two weeks ago, Wisconsin jumped all the way to No. 6 in the AP Polls, having won 15 of their last 17 games ahead of a major week against Nebraska and Purdue.
Now, they’re on the verge of dropping out of the AP Poll, having lost their last four games, including ones to Michigan, who was the worst team in the Big Ten at the time, and Rutgers, who are the third-worst team in the conference.
Wisconsin’s primary issue is that the concerns are repetitive, despite the team talking about needing to fix those problems.
The actions aren’t being done, and Wisconsin won’t improve until that factor changes.
They’ve now fallen to 8-5 in the conference, which is a full game back of Illinois, who stands at 8-3 in Big Ten play.
Additionally, Northwestern is right on their tails, standing at 7-5 in Big Ten play, even after losing two of their last three games.
The Badgers return home for a game against Ohio State before facing Iowa on the road next weekend.
They’ll need to sort things out sooner than later if they want to get their season back on track and remain in the AP Top 25.