The Wisconsin Badgers missed the NCAA Tournament. However, the NIT run to the semifinals is showing the Badgers’ roster is close to being a tournament team. While some may not see the Badgers’ three NIT wins as meaningful, the team seems invested. The run has provided some positives for many players, but perhaps none more so than big man Steven Crowl.
The play of big man Steven Crowl being on the uptick is pivotal for the Badgers heading into next year. Wisconsin is not a deep basketball team. They need its top players like Crowl to take jumps if this team is going to reach the NCAA Tournament next year.
Steven Crowl Providing a Much-Needed Boost Offensively
Crowl is evolving into a needed scoring source for Greg Gard and the Badgers. In fact, with the help of a 36-point performance against Bradley in the opening round of the NIT, Steven Crowl actually leads the Badgers in scoring.
Heading into the season, it was the expectation that Tyler Wahl and Chucky Hepburn were going to have to carry the Badger offense. But Crowl has arguably taken the biggest leap of any player.
Crowl is averaging a team-best 12.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
That has definitely been the case lately. Steven Crowl has been on a terror for the Badgers. Crowl has scored 14 or more points in seven of the last 11 games, including two 20-point, 10-rebound double-doubles. Crowl had just two double-doubles all of last year. The big man had two in a four-game stretch in much-needed games for the Badgers.
Wisconsin is at its best offensively when they play through Steven Crowl in the low post.
— Badger Notes (@Badger_Notes) February 3, 2023
Badgers’ Steven Crowl Can Be a Big presence for UW
Crowl has shown great growth from last season to this season. Last year, Steven Crowl averaged 8.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. His numbers are up across the board and if he can use this strong postseason play as a springboard going into next year, Crowl could be a difference maker.
With offense like pulling teeth at times for Wisconsin, having another dependable option for buckets is huge for the Badgers. Hepburn and Wahl have been looked at (when healthy) to carry the load offensively, but with Wahl being out at times, it almost forced Crowl to take a bigger role offensively. He’s filled that role and actually is now averaging more points per game than Wahl.
Crowl is the most important Badger. Everything starts with him. Whenever the offense is flowing, it's generally going through him. Tyler needs to figure it out. Max is so good defensively. On to the next critical game.
— Tranquil Chaos (@TuckerChicken18) February 3, 2023
Crowl’s confidence should be high now. The Badgers don’t have a deep team. So with a third primary scorer with Connor Essegian and Max Klesmit there to knock down open 3s, the Badgers have a dependable core with just Wahl being a senior.
Crowl’s growing confidence could be springboard into next year
Crowl could be benefitted from a stretch 4 transfer in the portal who can space the floor. He is at his best right now in the post with his back to the basket. His 3-point shooting isn’t consistent, but Crowl has taken a huge leap this season. If he can add a consistent 3-point shot with his growing post game, he could be looked at as a dependable scorer consistently next season. While some looked down on this NIT bid, the Badgers are seeing growth in players like Steven Crowl who can use it as a confidence boost and springboard into propelling the Badgers back to the NCAA Tournament.
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