MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 30: Max Klesmit #11 of the Wisconsin Badgers is fouled going up for a shot during the second half of the game against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds at Kohl Center on October 30, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball vs. Dayton

Wisconsin started the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament with a matchup against the Dayton Flyers. Dayton started the year ranked in the top 25, so a tough matchup for the Badgers. Wisconsin pulled out the win 43-42. Here are my thoughts on the game. 

Smothering Defense

If you are a fan of offense, this wasn’t the game for you. As ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg called it “a rock fight” it was spot on. Typically a play style that favored the Badgers. Wisconsin was playing fantastic defense and forcing Dayton into quick jump shots. 

At halftime Dayton had scored only 14 points, going 2/16 from three. The badgers also forced them into 10 turnovers. The defense was the reason for the 9-point lead at the half and should be a major reason Wisconsin will have success this season. 

With the game on the line, clinging on to a one-point lead Wisconsin came up with a massive stop. Led by Max Klesmit locking down Kobe Elvis on the final possession. In a game where you shoot 24% from the field and 22% from three, you better have a stellar defense on the other end. 

Bench production

A major question mark entering this season was going to be the bench production for the Badgers. Freshman Connor Essegian has answered the bell for Greg Gard. He started today scoring 11 of the Badger’s first 13 points. 

Today, Isaac Lindsey provided some impactful minutes off the bench. The former walk-on who was just granted a scholarship gave Greg Gard something to think about moving forward regarding his minutes. Lindsay scored or assisted on the last 7 points of the half for Wisconsin. At the half, the bench had 16 of the 23 points. Markus Ilver even came in the second half, kept a play alive, and knocked down two huge threes when the momentum was shifting. 

Wisconsin’s bench unit finished with 24 huge points. 

Kansas Tomorrow Morning

It doesn’t get any easier for Wisconsin as this tournament goes on. Tomorrow morning they will take on #3 Kansas. Kansas is a powerhouse and looks like a final-four contender this year. 

The Badgers will need much more from Hepburn and Wahl if they want any chance against the Jayhawks in the semifinals.

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