Last week the Badgers hosted a pair of teams on their home floor and the results could not have been more different. Let's start with the good.
Wisconsin took care of a far inferior NW team and they did it handily by a score of 68-52. Tyler Wahl led the team in scoring last Wednesday night which is one of the few bright spots for the future of this team as they will lose the entire starting 5 to the local nursing home at the end of the season. Wahl played with a ton of energy and Coach Gard rewarded him with 30 minutes of play...behind only Trice and Davison on the night. I really thought this was a good opportunity to get Nate Reuvers going offensively, but he was disappointing yet again with only 6 points on just 2 of 8 from the field. As I've said before, Reuvers has to get going if this team wants to make a deep run in March.
One the defensive end they did a nice job on Boo Buie holding him to just 9 points and turning him over 4 times. Outside of Chris Audige nobody could really get going on offense for the Wildcats and Wisconsin was able to keep them at arms length for most of the night. It was an overall good performance and helped them continue to build momentum after the brutal lost to Michigan a few weeks back.
Unfortunately, the Saturday game against Ohio State did not go as smoothly. Ohio State jumped out to an early lead and outside of a quick 3 point flurry by Aleem Ford in the 2nd half, Wisconsin had trouble closing the gap in the 74-62 loss. It felt like every time Wisconsin got going on offense, Ohio State had a run of their own to answer. The story of the game, though, was Wisconsin's incompetence from the three point line. Outside of that stretch by Ford in the second half, it was a brick show from deep all day long. Wisconsin shot just 25% from 3 and somehow it felt even worse than that. This team just isn't built to sustain that kind of a cold streak on offense. Outside of D'Mitrick Trice, nobody seemed to be able to manufacture their own shot and they turned the ball over 10 times which is more than we are accustomed to seeing from this team.
I actually thought they played pretty decent defense, but Ohio State made a lot of difficult shots. Like I said earlier, it felt like every time Wisconsin got close, Ohio State would hit a few shots to re-extend the lead. EJ Liddell was a problem all night and they got some timely threes from Justin Ahrens. Ohio State is a good team, but this definitely felt like a winnable game. If just a few more of those threes go down for the Badgers the result would have looked much different.
The Badgers dropped to #14 in the AP Poll this week and will look to rebound from the OSU loss in a revenge game at Maryland on Wednesday before traveling to newly COVID-free Penn State for a little double dip on both Saturday and Tuesday.