It has not gotten any better lately fro Wisconsin basketball. The Badgers losing streak now sits at four games after an embarrassing 78-56 loss to Rutgers yesterday. The let the Scarlet Knights to anything they wanted in the paint and was careless with the basketball again, committing 11 first half turnovers. This was in a way a gut check game and this team did not show up. Here are three takeaways from the loss.
Wisconsin Basketball Continues to Start Games Slow
In the Michigan game Wednesday, Wisconsin basketball turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions. Yesterday, they turned the ball over on their first three possessions and were down 9-0 in the blink of an eye. Credit the Badgers as they went on some small runs on the first half to only trail by nine.
I know there are still fans who do not like Greg Gard. Personally, I don’t understand why, but a lot of what is going on is a player issue in my opinion, Yes, Gard and his staff need to get this team ready to play, but that’s on the players if you can’t wake up in a tough atmosphere ready to play. Wisconsin basketball flew straight to New Jersey after the Michigan game. They had three days to get ready in this arena. It looked like they had never been there before.
Connor Essegian was a Bright Spot
I thought Essegian as the best Wisconsin basketball player on the floor yesterday. After freshman John Blackwell was ruled out with a hip injury, we know Essegian would get minutes he was used to a season ago. The sophomore sharp shooter played 24 minutes and led the Badgers with 15 points on 5-12 shooting and 3-8 from three.
It’s been a long and tough season for Essegian, There was a the back injury and then trouble getting on the court because of his defense. Over the course of the season, he has improved on the defensive side while still putting up points in limited time. I think it’s time for Greg Gard to give Essegian more minutes. he’s earned it.
What Does This Team Do Now?
In the first three games of this losing streak, Wisconsin basketball was right there in every game. A few things went against them and some things had to go right for either Nebraska, Purdue, or Michigan. It felt like there was a few things to clean up.
Yesterday was clear. There is more to clean up than we thought. Maybe getting humiliated and embarrassed is the best thing that could have happened. You could see in the final minutes the body language from the Wisconsin basketball starters and roles players. It was not good.
At the end of the day, there is only so much Greg Gard and the staff can do. There;s veteran players on this team who went through the losing streak last year that saw the Badgers lose 7 of 8 games in January. I think this is on the players to fix. They have to buy back in on defense and they have to take better care of the ball. That’s a player issue and not a coaching issue.
Maybe returning home will help as the Badgers face Ohio State Tuesday night. If Wisconsin basketball is going to get their mojo back and go on a run into March, those steps have to start now.
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