BuckyCap: Wisconsin Whips Xavier in Revenge Game
In many ways, Wisconsin could be on a revenge tour from last season. We’ve heard Michigan football use this term for their successful season, and Wisconsin was on it thus maybe Badgers basketball fans do not want to use that terminology. That said, it fits what Wisconsin wants to this season. They want revenge from a dreadful 2017 that saw them miss the tournament for the first time since the mid-90s. Their first loss of the year was the Xavier at home. Badgers held serve and beat them handily at the Cintas Center, 77-68. Wisconsin stays unbeaten.
Player of the Game: Ethan Happ – What a stat line for Happ on Tuesday night. He went off for 30 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. The 30 points came very close to him tying his career-high of 32 points. Happ looked dominant in this game. Whether it was him in the post showing off the different post moves or finding back cuts to the lane. Wisconsin’s guards did a great job of finding him on a regular basis. Happ looks much better this year. I’m unsure if he’s lost a little weight, but he is moving much better out there.
Silver Star: D’Mitrik Trice – What a difference a year makes, eh? Badgers did not have Trice after mid-December, and they struggled from the guard position. Trice makes so much of a difference for Wisconsin. Trice had 22 points, five rebounds, five assists and also found his range from behind the arc. Trice made five threes. A couple of those helped WIsconsin extend their lead out in the second half. Like Happ, Trice looks much improved this year.
Positive: Badgers have an established big three – It’s clear that the three scorers on this team are Happ, Trice and Brad Davison in that order likely. They’re going to be asked to do a lot, but they seem up to the task. Wisconsin won this game with those three players scoring a combined 71 of the 78 points yesterday. That feels excessive and might need some more assistance in games down the road.
Negative: Free throws were a concern – Last year, Wisconsin struggled from the line. Things continued versus Xavier. They made six of 13 from the line and struggled down the stretch to put away the Musketeers. Wisconsin held the door open but the young Xavier team couldn’t make any noise.
Next up: Badgers head home to for a Saturday evening game with the mighty Houston Baptist. A good refresher before the Badgers head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.