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Wisconsin 2018-19 Men’s Basketball Preview

 Wisconsin Badgers

 

2018-2019 Overall Rank: #51

Conference Rank: #8 Big Ten

 

Wisconsin missed the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 1998. Coach Greg Gard led the Badgers to the Sweet Sixteen during his first two seasons heading the program, but the team took a big step back last year, finishing with just 15 wins. But that was a very, very young team. With five starters returning and all seven players from the regular rotation, Wisconsin is sitting in a position to start a new streak of NCAA Tournament appearances.

 

2017-18 Record: 15-18, 7-11

2017-18 Postseason: None

Coach: Greg Gard

Coach Record: 57-36 at Wisconsin, 57-36 overall

 

Key Departed Players:

Andy Van Vliet, Forward, 3.4 ppg

Aaron Moesch, Forward, 1.2 ppg

 

Key Returning Players:

Ethan Happ, Senior, Forward, 17.9 ppg

Brad Davison, Sophomore, Guard, 12.1 ppg

Brevin Pritzl, Junior, Guard, 8.9 ppg

Khalil Iverson, Senior, Guard, 8.6 ppg

Aleem Ford, Sophomore, Forward, 5.8 ppg

D’Mitrik Trice, Sophomore, Guard, 9.4 ppg

Nate Reuvers, Sophomore, Forward, 5.3 ppg

 

Key New Players:

Trevor Anderson, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Green Bay

Taylor Currie, Freshman, Forward

Joe Hedstrom, Freshman, Center

Carter Higginbottom, Freshman, Guard

Tai Strickland, Freshman, Guard

Owen Hamilton, Sophomore, Center, Transfer from Northern Illinois, not eligible

 

Projection:

Ethan Happ will once again have to carry this team. The senior forward led the Badgers with 17.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. It is rare for a single player to lead a team in all of those categories. It proves how talented Happ is, but he will need help from the rest of the team. Aleem Ford and Nate Reuvers had decent freshmen campaigns in the frontcourt. Ford, a 6-8 forward, connected on an impressive 40.9 percent of his three-point attempts. He is the big man who can stretch the defense in traditional Wisconsin fashion. The return of D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King should bolster a backcourt that struggled last season. Both played in just ten games before missing the rest of the season with injuries. In their absence, Brad Davison emerged as the team’s top perimeter scorer, averaging 12.1 points and hitting a team high 60 three-pointers. Brevin Pritzl is also a very capable outside shooter and Khalil Iverson is a 6-5 wing who will help out on the glass. The backcourt also adds Trevor Anderson, a transfer from Green Bay who averaged 9.8 points and 2.7 assists with the Phoenix back in 2016-2017. If this group can stay healthy, they should reach the NCAA Tournament, but they also need to find ways to win close games. If they cannot do that, the Badgers will again find themselves on the outside looking in.

 

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

 

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 66.8 (316th in nation, 13th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 66.0 (32, 5)

Field-Goal Percentage: 44.8 (169, 9)

Field-Goal Defense: 45.9 (274, 12)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (279, 12)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (253, 11)

Free-Throw Percentage: 69.9 (239, 10)

Rebound Margin: -0.5 (218, 13)

Assists Per Game: 12.5 (263, 13)

Turnovers Per Game: 10.7 (17, 2)

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