Oct 30, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers Connor Essegian (3) looks to pass the ball against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Three Things: Wisconsin Basketball vs. Wake Forest

Wisconsin looks to keep its momentum from the Battle 4 Atlantis as they take on Wake Forest in the BigTen vs. ACC challenge. Wisconsin couldn’t pull out the win and lost this one 78-75. Here are three things from the loss. 

Defensive Struggles

A surprising first takeaway from this game was the defensive effort from the Badgers. Right from the tip, Wake Forest started the game 3/3 from behind the line. Wisconsin gave up 77 points with Wake Forest shooting 54% from the field and almost anytime Wake Forest needed a big-time bucket they got one. Tyree Appleby finished with 32 points. Hard to win a game for this Badger group when they aren’t locked in defensively. 

Big Shot Chucky

This is what the Badgers were expecting from Chucky Hepburn entering the season. When Wisconsin needed a bucket tonight they looked no further than the second-year point guard. Highlighted by his half-court buzzer-beater heave to end the first half. Chucky had a career-high with 6 threes. 

Every good Wisconsin team in recent memory has had a guard that can bail them out late in the shot clock. Traevon Jackson, Bronson Koenig, Brad Davison, etc. Without superstar Johnny Davis, many people, including myself, thought Chucky would be that guy this year. After a slow start to the year, it seems like Chucky has started to find his groove. 

Wisconsin Big 4? 

Wisconsin certainly has figured out who their main scorers are. Chucky Hepburn, Steven Crowl, Connor Essegian, and Tyler Wahl combined for 67 of the Badger’s 75 points. Including all 41 points in the second half. 

While it is good to see a plethora of Badgers contributing in the scoring column, you hope to see more production from guys like Max Klesmit and Jordan Davis. I think it’s fair to ask the question, should true Freshman Connor Essegian be in the starting lineup? Let me know what you think Badger fans. 

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 Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Griffin Gamble on Twitter, @gamble_griffin3

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

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Early Season Grades

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Early Season Grades

The Wisconsin Badgers basketball season is well underway, with UW getting off to a solid 5-1 start.  Their showing at the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis was admirable, winning games against Dayton and USC and being just one final rebound away from beating the then-third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in overtime.

The overall depth has shined in the first few games, with new additions to the regular rotation providing meaningful contributions.  Let’s grade each of the Badgers’ regular contributors. These grades take into account not only current performance but also expectations coming into the season. Only players who have seen action in each of the first six games are included.


The Wisconsin Badgers Starting Five

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

Chucky Hepburn  C-

Chucky came into the season with high expectations and is one of the clear leaders of this team. While he’s averaging a solid 9.7 points per game, his less-than-average start was highlighted by the performance against Dayton.  Hepburn was 1-of-10 from the field with 2 points, one assist, and three turnovers.  Not only was his production low, but he also displayed a lack of leadership and couldn’t perform as one of the top players.  

This performance spilled into the next day, where it took great games from his fellow starters to keep the Kansas contest close.  It must be stated that his showing against USC was far better, and he has continued to be a huge asset on the defensive side of the ball.  Chucky Hepburn will have to be better for this team to thrive this season.

Max Klesmit  B

A new addition to the Badgers, Max Klesmit, has provided a massive jolt to the defensive side of the ball and performed admirably offensively.  A transfer from Wofford, Klesmit has fit well into the starting lineup and has added much-needed production shooting the ball.  He is averaging 40% from the field and 46.7% from the 3-point arc. Perhaps his most important contribution, though, was a block with 3 seconds left on the clock against Dayton to help seal the victory.

Jordan Davis  B-

Stepping out of his brother’s shadow, Jordan Davis has moved into the starting lineup this season and has already become one of the team’s top defenders.  His shooting can still improve as he is hitting just 23.8% of his three-point shots, a stat that will prove to haunt Davis if the number doesn’t tick upwards.  His energy and effort are clear, and he will have to keep making strides to avoid potentially losing his spot in the starting rotation.

Tyler Wahl  A-

Undoubtedly our star thus far this season has been none other than Tyler Wahl.  Leading the team in points and rebounds, Tyler Wahl has also posted the second-highest steal total with 9.  Wahl is averaging 14 points per game and is shooting nearly 38% from the field.  He continues to lead the front line and shined brightest in the near comeback victory against Kansas, logging a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds.  

Tyler Wahl must continue his production and will be a key cog of this team as the season progresses.  Why an A- instead of an A?  Wahl also leads the team in turnovers with 16 on the season.  If he takes care of the ball and keeps playing well in the paint, he will likely remain at the top of most statistical categories and lead this team to its height.

Steven Crowl  C-

Steven Crowl, while somewhat productive offensively, has shown he has a great deal of room for improvement.  The tallest member of the Badgers at 7’0″, Crowl needs to finish stronger at the rim and become a more dominant force inside the paint. He isn’t afraid to take the three as he continues to find himself open at the top of the key. The issue is success, as he is shooting just 25% from beyond the arc. 

There’s no reason to think he won’t continue to be open, and in order for this team to be successful, Crowl will need to find the bottom of the net more often. His rebounding stats have been good, logging 43 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive side. 

The Bench

Oct 30, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers Connor Essegian (3) looks to pass the ball against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Essegian  A

The highest grade of the group goes to Connor Essegian, the newest Wisconsin Badgers Freshman out of Fort Wayne, IN.  

Essegian has proven he isn’t afraid to take a shot…ever.  His confidence with the rock is unmatched, and he has the production to prove it. He has taken a team-high 24 threes and made 54% of them while shooting 46% from the field.  He has also shown defensive prowess, although this continues to remain an area of growth for him as he continues to learn Gard’s system.  Connor is becoming a star before our eyes, and if his offensive production continues at this rate, look for him to make a move into Gard’s starting lineup.

Carter Gilmore  B

The Badgers don’t have a great deal of depth at the forward position, but Carter Gilmore has shown he wants a place in the regular rotation.  A man of all trades, Gilmore is doing the dirty work.  He’s hustling on the floor, playing strong defense, and isn’t afraid to pull up from behind the 3-point line if necessary.  Only Tyler Wahl and Chucky Hepburn have logged more steals than Gilmore, who has eight on the season. Gilmore should continue seeing minutes, and if his growth on the court matches his effort, the Badgers will see a nice return.

Isaac Lindsey  B+

Isaac Lindsey has provided much-needed depth at the point guard position.  While not originally expected to be a key contributor, Lindsey has come off the bench and given valuable minutes to a position proving to be a question mark for the Badgers. In just 38 minutes this season, Lindsey has taken 13 shots and is shooting 38.5%, including 33% from behind the arc.  His minutes will continue to be key going forward.  Look for Isaac Lindsey’s confidence to grow and his time on the court to slowly increase.


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 Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Rajeev Chhabra on Twitter @Rajeev_722

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 23: Chucky Hepburn #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates after Steven Crowl #22 made a three-point shot against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first half of the game at Williams Arena on February 23, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Basketball: 3 Takeaways From Win Over USC

Three games in three days. That’s what Wisconsin basketball signed up for when they accepted the invitation to play in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis.

After yesterday’s heartbreaking loss at the buzzer against No. 3 Kansas, UW (5-1) won a back-and-fourth game against USC, defeating the Trojans 64-59 behind a 17-point bounce-back performance from sophomore point guard Chucky Hepburn.

UW also got meaningful contributions from Tyler Wahl, who finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, and three assists, along with freshman Connor Essegian who scored 12 of his own, knocking down four three-pointers.

What we learned about this team during the three-day holiday tournament should give Badgers fans plenty of hope for the future.

Here are my takeaways from Wisconsin’s win over USC…

Chucky Hepburn bounced back in a major way

Nobody entered today’s contest needing to see the ball go in more than Chucky Hepburn, who came in shooting a paltry 26.8% from the field.

It’s been painfully evident that Hepburn’s forced the issue thus far and needed to slow things down and let the game come to him.

Against the Trojans, Hepburn finished with a game-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting, connected on a trio of threes, recorded two steals, and matched a season-low one turnover in 31 minutes.

The biggest play of the game for Hepburn came up 62-59 with 20 seconds remaining. Needing one last stop, the Nebraska native put a bow on UW’s third-place finish by picking the pocket of USC’s best player, Drew Peterson, and taking it the other way for an easy bucket, putting the game out of reach.

Wisconsin had a balanced offensive attack

With Johnny Davis off to the NBA, coach Gard and company needed a more balanced offensive approach in 2022-23. Against USC, it took everyone to squeak out a win.

UW finished the game shooting 44.6% from the field, which was the first time shooting above 40% since the season opener against South Dakota. The Badgers played inside out and connected on 10-of-24 three-point attempts (41.7%), with five players knocking one down. Additionally, seven of the nine players that entered the game scored, and five had eight points or more.

It’s always good to see Wisconsin win by playing a balanced brand of basketball.

Connor Essegian is the truth

I don’t have enough good things to say about Connor Essegian. Despite having just six games under his belt, the true freshman has already become Wisconsin’s third scoring option behind Wahl and Hepburn.

He finished in double-figures in all three games during the Battle 4 Atlantis, works his tail off on defense (although he still needs work), and continues to eat into Jordan Davis’ minutes.

There is no telling how high of a ceiling he has, but I look forward to watching coach Gard find ways to get him shots in this offense. He’s a critical piece of the puzzle moving forward.


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 Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

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.

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 Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Griffin Gamble on Twitter, @gamble_griffin3

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

3 Takeaways From Wisconsin Basketball Win Over Stanford

3 Takeaways From Wisconsin Basketball Win Over Stanford

On Friday night, the Wisconsin Badgers improved to 2-0 on the young season after defeating the Stanford Cardinals 60-50 in front of 17,927 fans at American Family Field in the inaugural Brew City Battle.

Coach Gard and the Badgers, who controlled the game from the jump, overcame a rough shooting night by winning the ole Wisconsin way – with suffocating defense, holding the Cardinals to a mere 36.2% from the field and 1-of-17 from beyond the arc.

UW struggled to find an offensive rhythm, connecting on just 5-of-20 three-point attempts but mitigated their shooting woes by taking care of the basketball – turning the ball over only eight times.

Senior forward Tyler Wahl again led the way for the Badgers, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds, and three steals in 32 minutes. UW also received contributions from Jordan Davis and Chucky Hepburn, who registered 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Here are three takeaways from Wisconsin basketball’s win over Stanford.


Wisconsin’s defense looked fantastic

UW showed enough moxy to win the old-fashioned way on a night when the shots weren’t falling, holding the Stanford Cardinals to 36.2% from the field and an abysmal 5.9% from beyond the arc.

In addition, Wisconsin’s defense forced 16 turnovers, which they turned into 18 points, and prevented Stanford from scoring a single fastbreak point. Small sample size, but the defensive versatility and grit were on full display tonight.


Connor essegian was ready when called upon

Starting shooting guard Max Klesmit spent a healthy portion of the game in foul trouble, forcing freshman Connor Essegian into an extended role right out of the gate.

In 23 minutes, Essegian was active on defense and added eight points and two rebounds on 3-of-9 shooting from the field (2-of-4 from three).

The Indiana native has proven to be a spark plug off the bench offensively and has already made my prediction of him becoming the sixth man look good. Every time he shoots the ball, it feels like it’s going to go in.

Buy Connor Essegian stock now, Badger fans, because this kid is really damn good.


Tyler Wahl is a star

The Wisconsin Badgers have a star, and his name is Tyler Wahl. Not only is he the best and most versatile defender on the court, but he’s also become an assertive low-post presence on offense for UW.

Wahl led the Badgers with 17 points tonight, and it’s abundantly clear that coach Gard wants the offense to run through him and Hepburn whenever possible. UW has made a concerted effort to touch the post, which will undoubtedly lead to a greater potential offensive efficiency as they work to find their identity.


What’s next

Wisconsin basketball (2-0) returns to the court on November 15 when the Badgers take on UW-Green Bay at the Kohl Center.


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 Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

Oct 30, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers Connor Essegian (3) looks to pass the ball against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball vs. South Dakota

The 2022-2023 season is officially underway for the Wisconsin Badgers as they hosted South Dakota. My thoughts on the season opening win. 

3-Point Shooting

Wisconsin finished last season as the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten. Without the presence of Johnny Davis’ 19.7 points per game, the Badgers will rely heavily on their outside shooting. Tonight was a nice start in that direction as the badgers went 9/15 from 3 in the first half. With the improvement in Wahl’s shooting, Crowls ability to step outside, all five Badgers on the floor at a given time can shoot it from deep. 

New Faces?

There are some new faces for Badger fans to get used to. Max Klesmit is a transfer from Wofford that will start. Kamari McGee will come off the bench and play some point guard, he is a transfer from UW-Green Bay. Finally, Freshman Connor Essegian who will also come off the bench and provide some scoring. 

Klsemit looked really solid in his Badger debut. He is a transfer that didn’t go nationally recognized but I think is and will prove to be one of the biggest impact transfers this season. I would love to see more minutes from Connor Essegian, especially in non-conference games like this. I believe he will be pivotal for this Badgers offense that will look stagnant at times. Greg Gard will have to live with the defensive mistakes, because Essegian belongs on the floor more. 

Improvements

A few familiar Badgers have really improved their games this offseason and it shows. Tyler Wahl didn’t shoot it well tonight, but he has improved his outside game and play making ability. Steven Crowl looks much stronger and more comfortable in the post. Chucky Hepburn picked up where he left off last season and is looking like that next great Wisconsin point guard. 

Overall, a nice start to the season and this seems like it will be a fun team to watch all year. Come back for more Badger Basketball recaps all season long.

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 Badgers news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Griffin Gamble on Twitter, @gamble_griffin3

Oct 30, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers Connor Essegian (3) looks to pass the ball against the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Basketball: 3 Takeaways from win over UW-Eau Claire

Wisconsin Basketball: 3 Takeaways from win over UW-Eau Claire

Madison, Wis. – Wisconsin basketball had a busy offseason. Big Ten Player of the Year, Johnny Davis was selected in the NBA draft lottery, Brad Davison wrapped up his tenth year of eligibility, and several notable players departed from the program.

After some re-tooling, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team finally took the court on Sunday afternoon in a preseason exhibition against UW-Eau Claire.

In their first game in front of the Kohl Center faithful, Wisconsin took an early lead and never looked back, defeating the visiting Bluegolds 76-45 behind a game-high 14 points from Steven Crowl and double-digit scoring efforts from Tyler Wahl (10) and Connor Essegian (10).

The Badgers are now 18-0 vs. the WIAC all-time.

In no particular order, here are three takeaways from Wisconsin’s exhibition victory over UW-Eau Claire…

Rotation taking form

Greg Gard rolled out a starting five of Chucky Hepburn, Max Klesmit, Jordan Davis, Tyler Wahl, and Steven Crowl, as was to be expected. 

Behind them was a bit of a mystery entering Sunday’s contest, with as many as 12 players vying for a spot in the rotation. 

Even though it was an exhibition, it’s clear the rotation is beginning to take form. Jahcobi Neath, Carter Gilmore, and Connor Essegian were the first three players off the bench and figure to be the core members of the rotation. 

Interestingly enough, Kamari McGee and Chris Hodges, who play two key positions, were in the next tier of players to enter the game. This indicates coach Gard feels good about his team’s versatility and ability to play multiple roles. 

At times, Klesmit and Neath shared ball-handling duties when Hepburn was on the bench, which surprised me, although it allowed UW to put additional shooters on the floor. We’ll see a lot of mixing and matching depending on matchups this season.

Connor Essegian looked the part

Wisconsin’s lone scholarship recruit in the 2022 recruiting class, Connor Essegian, is quickly ascending his way up the depth chart. 

Against UW-Eau Claire, Essegian played 15 minutes and scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, adding one rebound and one assist. 

His confidence was on full display, showing zero hesitation in hoisting several shots from beyond the arc we typically wouldn’t see a freshman take. 

The defensive end, which has been a point of contention, wasn’t terrible whatsoever. Essegian played with energy and gave effort the entire time he was on the floor, which bodes well for his long-term development. He’ll be good enough to justify meaningful minutes and give UW a scorer off the pine. 

Chris Hodges showed flashes

One of Wisconsin’s most significant question marks entering the 2022-23 season surrounded the lack of frontcourt depth following the departure of Chris Vogt.

The only returning big man behind Crowl is 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman Chris Hodges, who is viewed as a long-term project. Although he’s outside the top eight right now, there will still be a role for the Illinois native.

He played physically down low in limited minutes and showed that he could make a serious impact if he sticks around long enough to develop under coach Gard.


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 Basketball news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

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: Wings Preview

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball: Wings Preview

The Wisconsin Badgers will kick off their basketball season on November 7th against South Dakota.

The Badgers are facing some roster shakeups after losing some key contributors. Wisconsin will be looking for a new starter at the shooting guard position this year, and one of their transfers may be the man for the job.

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

Max Klesmit

Klesmit, a transfer from Wofford, could be the potential starting shooting guard. The junior guard comes to Wisconsin after two standout seasons at Wofford. Klesmit shot a combined 45 percent from the field, including nearly 35 percent shooting from beyond the arc in his two seasons with the team.

It’s unclear at this time who will be the starting shooting guard. Although, Klesmit has put up two productive seasons and an excellent performance in the Badgers’ Red vs. White scrimmage. Those performances should carry him to earning the starting spot at shooting guard.

Jordan Davis

Davis heads into the 2022-23 season as a junior. The 6-foot-4, 202-pound wing played in 27 games for the Badgers last season and averaged 6.5 minutes per game off the bench.

After contributing off the bench last season, Davis will look to solidify his role this year as a starter. His scoring ability and athleticism will allow him to make an immediate impact in the Badgers’ starting lineup.

Jahcobi Neath

Neath, a senior guard, is entering his second season with the program. The 6-foot-4, 194-pound guard appeared in 23 games for Wisconsin last season, including one start. Neath averaged 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.

Neath was a contributor off the bench last season for Wisconsin and will see some time in that role once again. If Neath finds himself in the second unit, he will bring some solid defense and rebounding for that group.

Connor Essegian

Essegian is an exciting prospect for Wisconsin. The true freshman showed out in Wisconsin’s Red vs. White scrimmage, going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-4 guard showed promise as a shooter in high school, averaging 24 points per game while hitting 41% of his shots from deep in his senior year.

He’ll be an intriguing player for the Badgers this season as he may earn a chance to make an impact off the bench as a true freshman. If he replicates his shooting from the scrimmage, Essegian could see a decent workload for the Badgers.

Isaac Lindsey

Lindsey, a sophomore wing, comes into this season looking to make an impact off the bench. The Wisconsin native appeared in five games last season and scored his first points in a win over Illinois State.

The Wisconsin native just earned a scholarship with the program, a sign that he has improved from his redshirt freshman year. Lindsey’s development will be a key item to watch this season. His shooting ability is intriguing, making him a valuable depth piece off the bench.


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.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games for FREE by clicking this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark

Oct 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, US; Wisconsin Badgers men’s head coach Greg Gard speaks to the media during the Big Ten Basketball Media Days at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Basketball: 3 Bold Predictions for the 2022-23 Season

Wisconsin Basketball: 3 Bold Predictions for the 2022-23 Season

Madison, Wis. – Before the Wisconsin Badgers return to the court Monday, November 7, against South Dakota at the Kohl Center, BadgerNotes makes three bold predictions for the 2022-23 season…


Wisconsin finishes as a top-100 three-point shooting team

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 23: Chucky Hepburn #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates after Steven Crowl #22 made a three-point shot against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first half of the game at Williams Arena on February 23, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard isn’t oblivious to the difficulties his program faced on the court last season, specifically as it pertained to the offense.

Last season, the Badgers ranked 319th out of 358 division one programs in three-point shooting percentage (30.6%) and connected on just 6.5 threes per game (No. 262 in the country) – not good, not good at all.

Without Johnny Davis, who consistently got to the free throw line, those shooting splits aren’t going to cut it if UW’s going to contend in the Big Ten this season.

Wisconsin will have a much more balanced approach that relies on knocking down shots on the perimeter – and call me crazy, but I honestly believe we’ll see a marked improvement.

I’m not projecting Wisconsin to become the Golden State Warriors by any means, but they have more than enough players who, on paper, can provide perimeter shooting.

Players like Hepburn, Klesmit, Davis, Crowl, Essegian, Ilver and even Lindsey all have the ability to be above-average shooters – and with the offense likely running through the low post more this season – I believe those shooters will get plenty of open looks.

For Wisconsin to wind up in the top 100, they’ll need to shoot roughly 35% from beyond the arc, just above Wisconsin’s seven-year average on threes (34.6%) during the Greg Gard era.

I’ll eat my words if the shooting doesn’t look any better than last season, but my gut tells me three-point shooting won’t be UW’s Achilles heel in 2022-23.


Wisconsin basketball finishes with a higher adjusted offensive efficiency rating than last season, Per KenPom 

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

Without Johnny Davis and Brad Davison, Wisconsin loses 48% of its scoring from a year ago, but the big question is, how will the offense function without an All-American leading the charge?

My answer probably won’t excite you, but I expect Wisconsin’s offense to be a well-balanced, committee approach – much we’ve seen in the past.

UW’s formula for winning games will remain the same as its always been. Don’t over-dribble, move the ball, find the open man, touch the post, play inside-out and set up open threes.

Who steps up?

Chucky Hepburn and Tyler Wahl are the most logical options to take a noticeable step forward and become stalwarts for UW’s offense to lean on heavily this season. Add in a sprinkle of Big Steve on the low block and perimeter shooting from Max Klesmit and Jordan Davis, and the Badgers should be in good shape.

There are also several intriguing high-upside rotational pieces like Connor Essegian and Markus Ilver that could raise this team’s ceiling if everything breaks right.

I may take some heat for this, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Wisconsin’s offense is better than it was last season – at least from an efficiency standpoint.

According to KenPom, the Badges finished with an adjusted offensive efficiency ranking of No. 62 – which is slightly worse than Wisconsin’s seven-year average (56.8 Adj. O) during the Greg Gard era.

Davis was a high-usage, ball-dominant wing player that didn’t necessarily have terrific shooting splits. This season, I expect we’ll see a tradeoff in production, which is important, in favor of greater efficiency, at least on offense.

I predict Wisconsin will finish with a higher adjusted offensive efficiency, without Johnny Davis, by returning to a more balanced, systematic approach.


Connor Essegian becomes the 6th man as a true freshman 

I have always been a big fan of Connor Essegian’s game and figured he’d become a significant contributor to the program at some point in his career. Given his performances in France and the reports coming out of camp, it looks like he’ll be a part of the rotation from day one.

Essegian has a swagger about him as a scorer that I love. If I had a shot as fluid, aesthetically appealing, and pure as his, I probably would too. His ability to provide instant offense and give UW a true five-tool shooter ensured him meaningful minutes – even as a true freshman.

“He [Essegian] does so many things offensively you can’t teach; we will help him with his defense,” said Gard. “I think what I’ve seen from Connor is an increased level of toughness, which is the first step towards being a better defender,” Gard said. And the other thing is he understands the rules and concepts; now they have to become habits and instincts so he can play faster and more aggressive.

I think it’ll take some time to acclimate to the college game, specifically on defense (he needs to be average), but when that happens, I wouldn’t be shocked to see his minutes shoot up and become the unofficial sixth man by the end of the season for the Badgers.

I’d love to see Essegian playing behind Klesmit and Davis, grooming him for what I believe will be a featured role in the offense down the road. I cannot overstate how much I love his fit at Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Basketball: State of the Union Address

 


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 basketball news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Dillon Graff on Twitter @DillonGraff.

Join the Badger Notes watch party and stream Wisconsin Badgers games by following this link.

*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark