Badger basketball: First-week review

Author: Zack Cherney

MADISON- After nearly eight months, the Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball team tipped off on Wednesday, Nov. 25 against Eastern Illinois at home where they claimed victory with a score of 77-67. Nate Reuvers showed that he was ready to play as he recorded 18 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks, all of which led the team. For the rest of the starters Trice racked up 11 points and Potter recorded nine. The biggest surprise was the debut of Ben Carlson, a 6-foot-9 freshman out of Minnesota. Carlson took advantage of 17 minutes on the court by recording 13 points, finishing second on the team in scoring, as well as earning two rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Takeaways:

Good – 10 blocks by five different players.

Bad – The Badgers only went 7-23 (30.4%) from three point range.

The second game of the season took place at home on Friday, Nov. 27 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff where the Badgers won easily with a score of 92-58. The Badgers jumped out to a commanding lead as they went into halftime up 53-19 and never looked back. Unlike in the first game of the season where only three players scored in double digits, this game resulted in four of the five starters with double-digit point totals. Micah Potter, who only played 20 minutes, led the team with 19 points while also recording five rebounds, three steals, and one block. The biggest presence made off the bench was Jonathan Davis, 6-foot-5 freshman guard out of La Crosse, Wis. In 25 minutes, Davis recorded eight rebounds to led the team, as well as nine points, two assists, and one block.

Takeaways:

Good – 11 different players recorded at least one point.

Bad – Missed seven free throws. FT’s are going to be crucial against better teams.

Game number three took place Tuesday, Dec. 1 at home against UW-Green Bay where the Badgers made it a 3-0 start to the season with a commanding 82-42 victory. The Badgers dominated offensively with 12 players scoring at least one point and five had double digits. Micah Potter once again led the team in scoring with 14 points, but Aleem Ford and Nate Reuvers were right behind him with 13 points each. The most powerful presence was sophomore Tyler Wahl who came off the bench and in 20 minutes recorded 15 rebounds (12 defensive) which was seven more than the next closest Badger and over half as many as Green Bay had the entire game (25). He also finished with 11 points, four assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Takeaways:

Good – Shot 34-61 (55.7%) as a team.

Bad – Blowout game yet let Green Bay shoot over twice as many free throws.

In the latest AP Poll, the Badgers jumped from No. 7 to No. 4. The last time the Badgers were in the top five after the first week of play was in the 2014-15 season when they were ranked No. 3.

Looking ahead to their next game, on Friday, Dec. 4 the No. 4 Badgers (3-0) have a huge game away against their in-state rivals of Marquette (2-1). In the last decade, they split the series 5-5. Both teams are looking to start the new decade with a big win. In 2018 the Badgers lost a tough one 69-74 but came out with a chip on their shoulders at the start of the 2019 season where they won 77-61 at home. The Badgers and Golden Eagles tip-off at 6 P.M. CST in what should be the first true test for the Badgers this season.