Badgers

Defense Carries Wisconsin Over Cornhuskers

It wasn’t a pretty game, but the #21 Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 61-48 last night in Lincoln. The Badgers improve to 15-6 overall and 9-5 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin only had one player reach double figures. That was freshman Johnny Davis with 10 points. However, the Badgers had five others score at least 8 points. Below are some takeaways from last night’s game!

The Offense Continues To Struggle

It’s certainly become a habit as of late for this Wisconsin team. They continue to win games they should win, but it’s not because of the offense. The Badgers shot 32.3% from the field last night, their second worst shooting night of the season. They also shot 9-32 from three. That is not good and can’t be a recipe for success moving forward. Give the Cornhuskers credit as they trapped the top the free throw line extended. This forced Wisconsin to shoot more threes than they probably would have liked to. Wisconisn also became too stagnant at times with little movement around the ball.

Image result for trevor anderson nebraska
Creator: John Peterson | Credit: AP

Brad Davison also had a nice night for the Badgers. I mentioned in the preview that I was looking for him to have a better night. While Davison was only 3-7 from the field, all his points came from three. This is a better team when he’s shooting better. Leading scorer D’Mitrik Trice seems to be in a shooting funk as well. He shot 3-14 and 2-7 from the three last night.  Senior Trevor Anderson provided another spark off the bench last night, contributing 8 points. He’s in line to earn some more minutes in the closing stretch of the regular season.

The Defense Was Solid Again

While the offense has been inconsistent most of the year, the Badgers have been able to hang their hat on defense. Last night was no different. After a fast start from both sides, the Cornhuskers went on a 10-0 run. Coach Greg Gard took a timeout to reset his defense. That made a huge difference has Nebraska only scored seven points the rest of the half. Wisconsin also forced 12 first half turnovers from Nebraska that kept them in the game despite poor shooting.

In the second half, the defense continued to lock down. Nebraska only scored 21 points in the second half and had to earn every point they got. Credit the Badgers for locking down on defense in a game they couldn’t afford to lose. Between halves, Nebraska was 4-20 shooting at one point during this game. The Cornhuskers ended up shooting 36.7% from the field and 33.3% from three.

Time To Find Their Stride

With six regular season games left, five of them against ranked teams, we’ll know a lot more about this Badger squad. They’ve dropped some games that they should have won (at Penn State and at home against Maryland), but have won a majority of the games they should be winning. In a tough Big Ten conference, that’s a must to get into the tournament.

Most projections have Wisconsin as either a 4 seed or 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers will have plenty of chances to boost that seeding and their tournament resume. While their resume is pretty solid to begin with, it can get a lot better if they can steal some wins. Wisconsin has a great chance to start this win a win against Michigan Sunday. The Wolverines have not played since January 22 after a COVID shut down.

We know what this team is capable of doing. We saw it at the end of last season. This can be a very streaky team, especially from three. The Badgers have not hit their stride yet from three. The question moving forward is if they will and if they can, when.

Up Next

The Badgers host #3 Michigan at the Kohl Center on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how Michigan comes out after a long pause from basketball activities. Tip time is scheduled for 12 PM CST on CBS.

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