The Wisconsin Badgers have won a third straight game on the road at Michigan State, harking back to 2020. For a Greg Gard led team that came into the game ranked 23, they did not trail during any part of the game. Having just come off of a dominant win over Marquette, it was important for the Badgers to open up their Big Ten conference schedule with a strong performance.
Wisconsin Badgers Most Impactful Player
In a game in which his teammates had excellent shooting nights, Chucky Hepburn was the most impactful player on the court. His toughness and tenacity really set the tone against the Spartans. Not needing to score to effect the game, the junior point guard established the flow of the game well.
By either creating off the dribble for himself or distributing the ball, Hepburn ended with 8 assists, and five rebounds, two of which came off of the offensive glass. Hepburn did well as a primary ball handler by also only turning the ball over once the entire game. He controlled pace, and ran the offense in a way for the ball to end up in the hands of good shooters tonight.
Wisconsin Badgers Standout Freshman
John Blackwell is in conversations of playing at the level one of the best freshman in the country so far. Having recently come off of a Big Ten Freshman award from the end of November, Blackwell is showing that he can fit in well off of the bench, and keeps the standard of play when other starts go for a rest.
On a night that had a team shooting 43.5% from three, the freshman guard found a way to contribute to scoring by going a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. The Wisconsin Badgers will welcome his 20 minutes that he contributed off of the bench. He is likely to only see increased minutes as he develops throughout the season.
Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Postgame Thoughts
For team that withstood another early second half run from a team, Coach Gard said the following:
I thought their ability to handle their run in the second half showed a lot of maturity.
This should bode well for this Wisconsin Badgers team, they have been able to win by large amounts against quality opponents, but going through and with standing this early adversity will benefit the Badgers more in the long run.
Coach Gard also had the following to say about the big 22 point performance of AJ Storr
AJ you know having a really good night. You know where Max led us the other night against Marquette, I think the mark of a good team is having different guys at different nights step up.
This may prove to be one of the more balanced Wisconsin Badgers teams, as Coach Gard alluded, having any player in a position to potentially have a career night will be good for long term season success.
With teams unable to game plan against one person specifically, it will be interesting to see who the go-to guy ends up being for closer games that come down to the wire.
Following the road win against Michigan State, the Wisconsin Badgers will not face of their toughest tests heading into the number 1 ranked Arizona. With how this team has stepped up in is playing right now, a road win against the Wildcats would definitely be a statement signature victory.