Badger basketball: Fourth and fifth week review

  • Post Author
    by Sports director
  • Post Date
    Fri Jan 01 2021

Author: Zack Cherney

MADISON- After dominating nearly all of their non-conference games, the Badgers entered Big Ten play with a 6-1 record. Their first couple of games showed the Badgers are a dominant presence, but they also showed there is still a lot they need to work on. With 2020 coming to an end they needed to make sure they finished a rough year as well as they started it.

Record: 7-1

The Badgers' eighth game of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 22 came at home against a struggling Nebraska team where the Badgers pulled out a commanding 67-53 win. After Nebraska lost their last 16 Big Ten games last season they hoped for a better start this season, but the Badgers looked to continue their eight-game winning streak against Big Ten teams and they did just that. Four Badgers reached double-digit points including Micah Potter (10), Nate Reuvers (10), Aleem Ford (13) and Brad Davidson (15). The most notable performance was Micah Potter who recorded the first double-double of the season for the Badgers with 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Badgers as a whole have been outrebounded plenty so far this season, but they dominated in rebounds with 40 compared to Nebraska's 31. Most importantly, the Badgers were perfect from the free-throw line at 15-15. These are the numbers the Badgers want to see consistently, especially once they get into playing ranked opponents, but a game against a poor team is the perfect time to work on being successful in those areas which they did.


Good – Four of the five starters reached double-digit points.

Bad – Gave up six steals (Badgers did not have any).

Record: 8-1

The Badgers played their first-ever Christmas Day game, where they faced their first ranked opponent of the season on the road at No. 12 Michigan State where the Badgers gifted themselves a strong 85-76 victory. For the second game in a row, the Badgers had four of their starters finish with double-digit points. The most impressive performance came from D'Mitrik Trice who scored 29 including four three-pointers. Free throws as usual proved to be crucial as the Badgers made six more than the Spartans and that was also the final margin of victory. The Badgers did miss seven which is way too many in such a crucial game, but they got plenty of Spartans into foul trouble as they racked up 26 personal fouls. The area which really pushed the game in favor of the Badgers was turnovers. MSU turned the ball over 14 times, including seven by their starting forward Aaron Henry, whereas the Badgers as a team only coughed it up seven times. Against a tough team like MSU, it is important for the Badgers to take advantage of mistakes by the opponents because most strong ranked teams will not do it often.


Good – Won by the difference in free throws made. Made nine more, won by nine.

Bad – Slow starts. Took three minutes to score the first points of the first half and four minutes to score the first points of the second half.

Record: 8-2

Their third Big Ten game came on Monday, Dec. 28 against unranked Maryland, who had lost their first two Big Ten games of the season. Coming into this game the Badgers had been named as the Team of the Week in college basketball, but Maryland came in making sure the Badgers did not win it in consecutive weeks. With a strong second-half surge, Maryland was able to hand the Badgers a 70-64 loss for their second loss of the season. The Badgers are continuing to make the same mistakes day after day. Although they have majorly improved upon in the department of free-throw shooting from a couple of years ago, they are still missing too many for a top tier team. When in close games free throws can win games, and Maryland won due to seven misses by Wisconsin. Their second major mistake is the amount of time they spent behind the three-point line. As the game started to fall towards Maryland, the Badgers were forced to shoot more threes, but shooting 38.1% from behind the arc is a tough number for any team to see no matter the score. The main bright spot for the Badgers was Trice who recorded 25 points for his second game in a row of 20 or more points. Many of these experienced seniors continue to show they can play strong, but they still have much to improve upon.


Good – Stayed out of foul trouble.

Bad – Missed seven free throws (Lost by six).

Record: 9-2

Wisconsin closed out 2020 facing off against No. 21 Minnesota, where the Badgers made a statement as they came away with a 71-59 win. After a bumpy game against Maryland, the Badgers came out with determination as they took a 14-7 lead early on and they never looked back. Starting the second half with a 29-22 lead, the Badgers came out firing and eventually took a 60-34 lead with eight minutes to go in the game. This was a great feeling coming off a loss, as they led comfortably and were able to keep the pressure on Minnesota. Once again the Badgers had multiple starters with double-digit points including Trice and Ford who each recorded 14 points, but the brightest star of the day was Micah Potter. After recording the team's first double-double just a few games earlier against MSU, Potter kept it going with another as he recorded 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Badgers were able to benefit from some poor shooting by Minnesota, who shot almost half of their shots from behind the three-point line and were highly unsuccessful with it finishing 7-31 (22.6%). The one area where Minnesota did dominate was with offensive rebounds. Minnesota finished with 16 offensive rebounds, whereas the Badgers only had eight. In close games, offensive rebounds could be a major difference-maker so the Badgers should be happy it did not come back to haunt them. The combination of an important rivalry game and the pain of the recent loss, fired the Badgers up to finish 2020 on a strong note.


Good – Led the entire game (Largest lead of 26).

Bad – Minnesota got 16 offensive rebounds (Double what the Badgers had).

In the third AP Poll the Badgers jumped from No. 13 to No. 9 but then in the most recent poll jumped from No. 9 to No. 6.

Looking ahead the Badgers begin 2021 with a game on Sunday, Jan. 3 at Penn State (3-4) who is coming off of a tough overtime loss against Indiana so they will be determined to come back stronger and get back to a .500 record. Following that game, Wisconsin comes back home on Thursday, Jan. 7 to play Indiana (6-4). After those two games, the Badgers will play four consecutive games against ranked opponents. The first two will be on the road at No. 16 Michigan and No. 14 Rutgers.