Five Things You Need to Know About Badgers Hoops
Wisconsin Badgers begin this season with hope that things will be different this year. Wisconsin suffered a fall from grace as one of the Big Ten elites with an awful 2017-2018 season. The year featured countless injuries that shaped the season. The injuries created a talent gap for this team, and the lack of depth really hurt them in the long run. Can Wisconsin bounce back? They do have their leader for one final run to glory.
1. Ethan Happ’s one last hurrah – The leader of the Van Wilder team for 2018 is Ethan Happ. I cannot believe this guy is still in school with a full year left to go. Happ should have left two years ago, but that’s his choice. Last year was a rough one on him as teams focused on him without any help around him. Hopefully, that changes this year. Also, Happ showed off a bit of a three-point shot last week against UW-Oshkosh. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of that from him this year.
2. Year 2 of Brad Davison – As someone who merely watches and doesn’t cheer for Wisconsin, Brad Davison gets under my skin. Just like as a Marquette fan, I watched Andrew Rowsey do the same thing to people watching the Golden Eagles. Davison is fully healthy after getting shoulder surgery in the offseason. It should not affect him from a shooting or scoring perspective. He is one of the many members of this team that Wisconsin will get back fully healthy.
3. Nathan Reuvers finds the beef – Most of the reason why Nathan Reuvers did not play as many minutes as a freshman was due to being underweight to bang with Big Ten bodies. Good news for Reuvers and Wisconsin is that he put on weight in the offseason and looks like a different human. Reuvers might be the top player to breakout this season for the Badgers. he has a great inside/out game that could be beneficial to Wisconsin. Reuvers doing more in the post will free up opportunities for Ethan Happ.
4. The Greg Gard hot seat – When does Greg Gard’s seat start getting warm? It feels almost sacrilegious to talk about it, but I feel it’s going to be a thing if Wisconsin struggles again this season. Wisconsin has not missed the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years since 91-92 and 92-93. It’s been a long time, and if Wisconsin suffers another bad year, Gard’s job will be put in question. Couple that with former Badgers commit Tyler Herro getting a ton of buzz at Kentucky, and if he has an amazing year plus Wisconsin struggles again, things will get testy in Madison.
5. Remember D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King? – Crazy to me that Wisconsin did not have two of their top guards for 66 percent of the season last year. D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King both missed significant time last year. Having Trice and King back will help tremendously around the perimeter where Wisconsin did not have much scoring. It was Happ or Davison. If neither of those players scored or could score, the blowout happened. That shouldn’t be an issue for the Badgers this year.
Prediction: Using T-Rank to figure out the Wisconsin season, I have the Badgers slated as a 20-9 team and likely making the tournament yet again. They could make some noise in the non-conference if they’re able to beat Florida in Battle 4 Atlantis which would give them a shot at potentially Virginia. Big Ten is not as strong as years past, so, the opportunity is there for Wisconsin.