There’s only one game left on the non-conference schedule for WI Badgers Basketball. Starting Jan. 3, Big Ten play resumes and will continue until the NCAA Tournament in March. Sitting at 9-2, it’s been a better start for the Badgers than most thought. Not bad for a team picked ninth in the preseason if Ten poll, right? Here’s what we know about this Wisconsin Badger squad so far.
WI Badgers Basketball Is Defense-First
WI Badgers Basketball has had a ton of success in its program over the last 20-plus years as a defensive-first team. When they made their back-to-back runs to the Final Four in 2014 and 2015, there was more offense on those teams. However, all those players were above-average to very good defenders.
From the defensive side, this team is no different. They are only giving up 60 points a game. That’s with playing teams such as Dayton, Kansas, Wake Forest, Marquette, Iowa and Maryland. Wisconsin isn’t just playing good defense against mid-major teams. They’re doing it against some of the best offensive teams in the country.
WI Badgers Basketball Can Win In Multiple Ways
There are two games that stick out to me about winning in multiple ways. In the first round of the Battle for Atlantis, they only scored 43 points against Dayton. However, they still managed to beat the Flyers. It was ugly in every way imaginable. But, the Badger stuck to their defensive background and escaped with the win as a result.
The second example is at Iowa. Iowa has consistently been a high-power scoring offense and was leading the Big Ten in scoring. Despite being on the road, WI Badgers Basketball didn’t have it’s best defensive showing. It took overtime, but the Badgers were still able to score 78 points in a 78-75 win. Big Ten teams are not supposed to go on the road and score 78 points. It’s too good of a conference top to bottom to do that.
This shows the Badgers can win a slugfest, and they can win a track meet when they need to. They are more efficient at shooting the ball than they were last year. They’ve hit some massive shots late in games, as well. It doesn’t matter the pace of play or the environment. This team is not phased at all.
This Is An NCAA Tournament Team
Early in the ESPN Bracketology, Wisconsin was considered a Next Four Out team. That means they would be a top team in NIT but not looked at as an NCAA Tournament team. It was fair at the time. WI Badgers Basketball lost Johnny Davis and Brad Davison. Davis was a top 10 pick in the NBA Draft. Davison was the all-time three-pointers made leader in program history.
Now? This team has really good chemistry and is putting together another solid NCAA Tournament resume. The Big Ten season will be a gauntlet and a battle every night. However, this team has been in plenty of fights already. Maybe we should stop questioning how good WI Badgers Basketball is. We should hear this team’s name yet again on Selection Sunday.
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