Badgers Fall Apart Late As The Defense Disappears in the Second Half
Wisconsin Badgers were riding high heading into Monday evening. They won five straight games against five good teams. Wisconsin had two straight Big Ten wins. They seemed to be the class of the Big Ten. But the thing with the Big Ten is it is really fucking hard to keep winning in the Big Ten this year. They had nine ranked teams in the Top 25. For non-math majors reading this, that means 64 percent of the conference is ranked. Maryland isn’t one of them. But they’ll probably be after their victory against Wisconsin. They take down the Badgers in a surprising upset as Wisconsin lost their lead and could never seem to get it back.
What went wrong for Wisconsin: Badgers’ defense fell apart in the second half – Wisconsin could not stop Maryland in the second half. Terrapins could not miss as they went for 14 for 22 from the field. It is hard to think of Wisconsin struggling defensively in the past few games. Even the back and forth against Michigan State, it didn’t seem like the defense was an issue. Is this something to be alarmed by or just one bad half? We’ll see.
What also went wrong for Wisconsin: Potter and Reuvers need to be better – Part of the reason why Wisconsin lost this one is they got a combined 12 points from Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers. They had a total of eight points in the paint. This happened now and again with Ethan Happ where Wisconsin settled for outside shots. Potter and Reuvers cannot no-show games. Wisconsin is a talented team, but they cannot have that from their two big men.
Player of the Game: D’Mitrik Trice – You want a positive here, Badgers fans? D’Mitrik Trice is on a complete heater. He dropped 29 against Michigan State. Then against on Monday, he went off for another 25. This is the first time Trice did that against two Big Ten teams. He is 50 percent from three and getting to the line. Trice is playing great basketball right now. If they can get something out of Potter or Reuvers, they’re going to be really special.
Honorable Mention: Eric Ayala – There are many Maryland players that could get this as all of the Terrapins starters hit big shots. But Ayala had a very efficient game. He had the second-best offensive rating and made all of his free throws including a couple of shots from deep. For a Maryland team that lost to Clemson and Rutgers, they have a talented roster.
Next up: Wisconsin continues their holiday tour with a New Year’s Eve game against their rival Minnesota. Despite losing Daniel Oturu, Minnesota is damn good. Fresh off wins versus Iowa and Michigan State, Gophers will be looking for another big win. Marcus Carr against Trice will be a great matchup. Same with Liam Robbins against the Badgers big men.