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Assessing Wisconsin basketball heading back into Big Ten play

The Wisconsin Badgers are back in Big Ten action and sit at 3-1 in conference play heading into Friday’s match-up against Purdue.

Now outside the top 25 of the AP poll, Greg Gard’s squad faces an intriguing schedule with the Boilermakers on Friday, a road trip to Maryland, and a home contest against undefeated, No. 2 Michigan next week.

Our writers, plus one of our tall, adult sons returning for another guest appearance, joined together in one of our Slack channels to discuss the recent good and bad, and what’s to come.

Jake Kocorowski: Welcome back to the B5Q roundtable where the points don’t count and we’re all waiting for Bama to come back in the national championship game.

Drew Hamm: Are we though?

Jake: I feel so. [Note: I was so, so, so wrong.] On the basketball court, Wisconsin dropped out of the Top 25. We’re here to break down the past couple weeks of action.

First question: What have you liked from the Badgers recently?

Drew: I’ve liked Nate Reuvers’ rim protection

THE RETURNING Curt Hogg: I’ve liked Nate Reuvers’ post game

Neal Olson: Confidence of Reuvers. With D’Mitrik Trice somewhat slumping, they definitely were/are in need of some more scoring.

Ryan Mellenthin: Happ and Trice have been a solid one-two punch for most of the season and with Trice in a bit of a funk, guys like Davison and Reuvers are stepping up.

Curt: I’ve also liked Drew’s liking of Nate Reuvers’ rim protection.

Drew: It is nice to have multiple players at each level that can score.

Jake: Reuvers really popped out the past two contests. Bonus question, if Nate Reuvers did in fact throw a block party, who would you want as DJ?

Drew: DJ Roomba!

Ryan: YES!

Curt: I think D.J. Wilson is the correct answer here.

Neal: SHAQ and the General

Drew:


Ryan: *gangsta love plays*

Jake: Back to the topic, would also like to note the effort of one Charles Thomas on Sunday night against Penn State. 10 minutes, seven points on 3-of 4 shooting.

Drew: A very nice performance by Thomas.

Curt: True, after he saw one minute in that Minnesota game and we didn’t really hear from him again, it was maybe his most assertive game yet.

Jake: That three-pointer = [fire emojis]

Curt: I may be missing a few games in the past, but people forget he’s been around a long time.

Drew: I am often one to decry his performance so it is important to note when he does his job perfectly.

Ryan: It was great to see the senior, formerly known as Charlie, get involved.

Neal: Charles Thomas IV indeed. Him shooting with assertiveness was a fun surprise.

Curt: Fun fact: Charlie’s freshman year, it was like October so basketball season hadn’t even started, and I walked past Charlie on the street. We gave each other the #SUPnod

Drew: He has the second highest usage on the team which is infuriating, but at least he scored some against PSU.

Jake: Oh I love that nod.

Neal: #SUPnod paying dividends four years later, Curt.

Drew: #tallguySUPnod

Curt: tbh he probably thought I was also on the basketball team, which,

Wisconsin halted a two-game losing streak on Sunday night, so there are a lot of things to call out that need to be cleaned up. Let’s discuss some of those.

Drew: OMG make more than half your free throws. I could, right now, in the dark, wearing no shoes go down to my neighborhood park and make six out of ten free throws.

Neal: Prove it with video, Drew.

Drew: And my park has a double rim!

Ryan: Free Throws.

Drew: Neal, I, uh, my phone is broken.

Curt: Unfortunately, I’m not really very confident in the free throw shooting turning around at any point soon. I mean, unless Brad Davison starts drawing every foul for the Badgers.

Ryan: Davison and Brevin Pritzl.

Neal: This may be heresy but I’d like to see the ball out of Ethan Happ’s hands more. Offense occassionally bogs down when they just get it to him and let him work. Sorta works when he’s on but like the start against Penn St he sometimes goes through tough stretches of missing layups

Drew: The Badgers also don’t get many offensive rebounds/second chance points but I suppose that’s probably part of the game plan to get back on defense.

Neal: Keeping the ball moving seems to give them more consistent open shots

Curt: Have they ever been a solid O-Reb team? QUICK, JAKE TO KENPOM. And by solid I mean “pretty significantly above average”

Jake: *munches on snacks during CFP title game* Huh?

Those bad turnovers at the end against Minnesota—three straight possessions—took a winnable game away from them, even with a dismal start.

Neal: Drew, willing to meet you at your neighborhood park with my perfectly working phone and associated camera.

Ryan: That first turnover by Trice just seemed lazy.

Drew: Why didn’t Davison shoot that three?

Curt: A lot of the poor offense and sloppy turnovers against Minnesota seemed to be from just a really stale offense. At points, guys like Trice started forcing things and that just wasn’t going to work.

Drew: Why drive and then try and pass it through a Gopher defender?

Ryan: Trying to force something that wasn’t there.

Curt: Also THEY WENT OVER NINE MINUTES WITHOUT A POINT

Jake: By the way, Drew, I’m willing to drive to Minneapolis to video tape you shooting free throws.

Drew: Curt, please. This is a family blog. You have to tag these statements as NSFW.

Ryan: What is more painful is that they went on two 9-0 runs.

Drew: At this rate we are going to have multiple angles of me owing the Badgers in free throws.

*owninf

*owning

Curt: There it is.

Drew: I shoot free throws better than I type.

Ryan: ‘Owning,’ the Happ free throw, of words.

Neal: Drew Hamm, amazing…ah…free throw shooter and typer guy.

Looking ahead to the next couple of weeks, what is your prediction record-wise against Purdue, Maryland, and Michigan?

Curt: Uhhhh you sure you want me to answer that?

Drew: 1.5-1.5? I don’t know … probably beat Purdue at home, toss up at Maryland and lose to Michigan?

Neal: 2-1 with the loss another dire shooting night. I don’t think they have gotten the woes out of their system yet.

Ryan: 2-1, wins against Purdue and Maryland and lose to Michigan

Curt: I’ve been saying that they’re going to end Michigan’s undefeated season since we all realized that Michigan is, like, actually good but I’m no longer super confident in that. I’ll go 1-2. Of course, the one win is gonna end up coming against Michigan.

Neal: Probably a fitting outcome for this stretch Curt

Curt: We all know the Badgers are good at ending undefeated seasons, ayoooooo!

Jake: LoL Curt.

Drew: As long as that Brazdeikis kid doesn’t have a good game, I’ll be happy.

Curt: Michigan’s defense would be legitimately frightening if I was playing against them, but who knows maybe it will be one of those 9-18 Kohl Center rim games!



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