Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard is shown during the second half of their game Monday, November 7, 2022 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin beat South Dakota 85-59. Uwmen07 17

Per usual, Wisconsin Basketball will rely on defense as its calling card

Per usual, Wisconsin basketball will rely on defense as its calling card

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin basketball program has built a sustainable, winning culture around its trademark defensive principles over the past two decades. 

UW prides itself on always being in the right place at the right time, making things difficult for its opponents by following the rules of its system. Here is a link to a story that teaches coach Gard’s defensive practices.

Thus far, the Badgers have compiled a 2-0 record, winning games at home against South Dakota and Stanford at American Family Field in the Brew City Battle. And while there have been some encouraging moments offensively, Wisconsin is winning games the best way they know how – with defense.

According to KenPom, Wisconsin basketball is No. 26 in adjusted defensive efficiency to begin the 2022-23 campaign.

“They understand what we need to be good at and what’s non-negotiable,” said Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard. “Offense comes and goes.”

Through the first two games, Wisconsin’s stingy defense is holding its opponents to just 38.4% from the field and 9.7% from beyond the arc.

There are several factors responsible for the impressive start. Despite lacking the size we’re accustomed to seeing, UW is making up for its deficiencies by leaning on its defensive versatility and ability to switch seemingly any matchup.

“This group knows that our strength is in our toughness and our grittiness, said Gard. “That’s embedded in the fiber of our program. To stray from that would be foolish.”

Wisconsin Basketball defensive standouts

Oct 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, US; Wisconsin Badgers players Steven Crowl, Chucky Hepburn, and Tyler Wahl speak to the media during the Big Ten Basketball Media Days at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Players like Chucky Hepburn and Tyler Wahl are already considered elite defenders at their respective positions. But we’ve also seen quality defensive efforts on the wing from Max Klesmit, whose shown an impressive motor, and Jordan Davis. Not to mention Carter Gilmore has played with great energy off the bench and hasn’t been afraid to mix it up and dive on the floor after a loose ball.

With the added weight, junior big man Steven Crowl has begun establishing himself as a better rebounder/interior defender. The 7-foot center has already blocked five shots in 2022, just one season removed from swatting nine in 33 games as a starter. He also hauled in a career-high 11 rebounds against the Stanford Cardinals last week – one of the country’s biggest teams, according to KenPom.

Wisconsin’s defensive-minded brand of basketball might not be flashy, but it’s their calling card, and it gets the job done. Albeit a small sample size, the early returns on that end of the floor lead me to believe the Badgers will surprise some people this season.

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Jan 9, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA;Wisconsin Badgers forward Tyler Wahl (5) takes a shot against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half at the Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Kucin Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Forwards Preview

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Forwards Preview

The Wisconsin Badgers are set to begin their basketball season on November 7th, 2022. Wisconsin experienced some shakeups in their roster with the losses of Brad Davison and Johnny Davis.

One of the returning starters will be forward Tyler Wahl. The Badgers have limited depth in the frontcourt but have some solid options in that spot.

Let’s take a look at the forwards for the Wisconsin Badgers 2022-23 basketball season.

Tyler Wahl

Wahl heads into the season as one of the team’s leaders. The senior forward was productive last season, averaging 11.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Wahl has continued to make strides in his game over his three years with the program. In his senior season, he’ll be one of the most significant contributors for Wisconsin.

Wahl was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team, a testament to his outstanding play last season. Wahl is improving every year, and he’s poised to have an excellent season as one of Wisconsin’s top options.

Carter Gilmore

Gilmore is entering his third season as a Badger. He’s seen time as a contributor off the bench and will see a much more significant role this season. With limited depth at the forward spot, Gilmore will be a staple in the second unit. The 6-foot-7 forward has a knack for rebounding, and that will be crucial for providing the Badgers’ second unit with second-chance opportunities.

Gilmore saw limited reps in his first two years with the program but should handle a larger role in 2022. He’ll head into the season looking to contribute with his athleticism and defense.

Markus Ilver

Ilver heads into the season as a sophomore. The former three-star forward played in eight games last season as a true freshman. In the offseason, Ilver helped his native country of Estonia to a third-place finish in the FIBA U20 European Championship. After getting some time to compete in the offseason, Ilver could see some additional playing time this year.

While Ilver may not see much playing time, his depth will be needed. Ilver’s ability as a scorer makes him an intriguing player to watch as he develops. In his second year, he’ll have plenty of time to develop to fill a need for Wisconsin down the line.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter. @JakeJMaier.

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