Connect with us

Basketball

Wisconsin Badgers Mailbag: Greg Gard’s Job Status, Football Expectations, More

Published

on

Wisconsin Badgers
BadgerNotes ✍️ Mailbag

BadgerNotes received a wide variety of questions about the Wisconsin Badgers football and basketball teams from our dedicated readers/followers earlier this week.

So, without further adieu, Let’s jump into your mailbag questions…

There’s been a lot of talk about Greg Gard being on the hot seat entering this season. Realistically, how hot is his seat, in your opinion?

As I write this, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team is coming off a disappointing season that finished in an NIT appearance, and the Greg Gard detractors certainly didn’t take long to grab their pitchforks.

Coach Gard is, was, and will always be a hot-button topic among the Wisconsin faithful, but people need to pump the breaks a little here.

Greg Gard has won two of the last four Big Ten regular season championships, and I’ll never understand how anyone in the fanbase can be dismissive of that feat. But from a fanbase standpoint, it’ll always be a what have you done for me lately type of deal.

There were some serious issues from a roster construction standpoint last season, which falls squarely on Gard’s lap. However, he’s done an excellent job keeping the team’s core together (he only lost Jordan Davis) while adding an impact wing like AJ Storr, a former top-100 recruit with impactful athletic traits.

Returning Tyler Wahl was huge, and then you sprinkle in his 2023 recruiting class, and all the ingredients for a bounceback are in place. If Gard fails to live up to this group’s expectations, I think his seat will start getting warm.

Also, consider that Chris McIntosh extended Greg Gard’s contract through 2027 last offseason. That extension increased his base salary, provided additional compensation bonuses, and upped his termination buyout.

Plenty of areas in this program need to improve in 2023-24, and it’s reasonable for Badgers fans to want results in the postseason, but his seat is probably lukewarm at best.

Can the Wisconsin Badgers compete for a Big Ten title in football this season?

Luke Fickell has been the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers for roughly seven months now, and the life he’s injected into the fanbase is truly incredible.

Based on talent, expectations, and schedule makeup, Wisconsin winning the Big Ten West and appearing in the conference title game is where the bar of expectation currently lies, at least in my eyes. By no means do I think it’ll be a cakewalk, but there’s enough talent to suggest it’s possible.

However, winning the Big Ten title game is another discussion entirely. The B1G East features Ohio State and Michigan, both of which were in the college football playoffs this past season, and Penn State, who won the Rose Bowl.

Call me a pessimist, but I just don’t see us leap-frogging those teams that quickly. There’s a size-able gap the Wisconsin Badgers still need to close, and in time I think they’ll get there. To expect them to win and put themselves in a position to appear in the college football playoffs is too rich for my blood.

Who is a Wisconsin Badgers football player not getting enough love that you think can make a major impact this upcoming season?

Personally, my pick for an “under the radar” player that can make a major impact is sitting at the top of the cornerback depth chart.

Entering 2023, sixth-year cornerback Alexander Smith could be among the most impactful players on the entire defense–even if he doesn’t fill up a stat sheet.

According to PFF, Smith was the highest-graded cornerback on the Wisconsin Badgers last season (72.8) and only gave up 14 catches in 185 coverage snaps.

His most significant impact will come from players like Ricardo Hallman making plays on the ball as a result of him blanketing the opposing team’s top WR. At “The Launch,” while sitting with the crew from Locked on Badgers, we all marveled at just how impressive he was out on the boundary.

Smith gives UW a legit CB1 for Mike Tressel to set and forget, and I think he will put enough on tape to be considered a late-round NFL draft pick or priority UDFA at season’s end.

Which Wisconsin quarterback do you see being the successor after Tanner Mordecai graduates?

It’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that the Wisconsin Badgers have a quarterback room full of high-pedigree signal callers. 

After Tanner Mordecai graduates, the answer to your question becomes which one of Braedyn Locke and Nick Evers is most ready to step in and run Phil Longo’s air raid system. You can throw in four-star QB Mabrey Mettauer in 2024, but starting as a true freshman seems unlikely. 

Right now, I’d have to lean toward Locke because of how quickly he picked up the system and carved out the role of QB2 during spring practice. 

“He [Locke] is the model of consistency, and he’s gotten better with each practice,” Longo told reporters.

According to reports, he was consistently accurate, made good decisions, and showed an elite understanding of the playbook. He also demonstrated a passable arm, capable of making all the throws required in Wisconsin’s offense.

If Evers can close the gap in terms of playbook knowledge and execution, it could make for an exciting QB battle. But the safe choice and one that Wisconsin Badgers fans should feel good about is Locke. 


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.

Follow this link and use promo code: BADGERNOTES for 25% off your next True Classic order.

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

*Subscribe to Locked on Badgers on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the only daily Wisconsin Badgers podcast on the internet.

Basketball

3 Reasons Wisconsin Basketball Will Bounce Back in 2023-24

Published

on

Wisconsin Basketball; Badgers coach Greg Gard
Mar 28, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard looks on during the first half against the North Texas Mean Green at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

There is a great deal of excitement surrounding the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program heading into the 2023-24 season. From the amount of returning talent — to the incoming freshman — and even a promising transfer portal addition, fans can’t wait to see the Badgers right the ship.

Not only is the hype warranted, but I also believe that Greg Gard and the Badgers have the chemistry and talent to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017.

Here are three reasons why.

Wisconsin Basketball Returns All of its Meaningful Contributors

Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball team underwhelmed last season, and that’s putting it mildly. The Badgers ended with a 20-15 record, finished No. 11 in the Big Ten, and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. 

However, the Wisconsin Badgers have a remarkable 92% of their scoring and 90% of the total minutes played from last season coming back — which is the most in the conference. 

The lone departure this offseason was Jordan Davis — which was no surprise because of his diminished role late in the year. That said, Tyler Wahl decided to use his Covid year — plus players like Chucky Hepburn, Connor Essegian, Max Klesmit, and Steven Crowl could all take steps forward. 

Wisconsin Basketball has all the right pieces to play their system effectively, and bringing back a hungry & talented roster is a big reason why I’m optimistic heading into the season. 

Wisconsin Basketball Has Improved Front-court Depth 

As previously mentioned, Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl are back in the fold and will be Wisconsin’s starting bigs. But it was the depth, or lack thereof, behind them last year that killed the Badgers. 

For all the heat Carter Gilmore takes, he filled in admirably as the backup big man. The 6-foot-7 former walk-on plays terrific post defense, acts as a connector on offense, and hustles until the whistle blows. However, he was an offensive liability, essentially leaving Wisconsin basketball to play 4-on-5 on that end of the floor. 

UW kicked the tires on a few big men in the transfer portal but ultimately felt comfortable rolling with incoming freshmen Gus Yalden and Nolan Winter to push Gilmore for frontcourt minutes. 

The Badgers also return players like Chris Hodges and Markus Ilver, but neither project to factor into Greg Gard’s rotation this season. 

Regardless of how playing time shakes out in the frontcourt, Wisconsin basketball returns everyone from last season while welcoming a few talented freshmen into the mix. No matter how you look at it — depth is better now than a year ago. 

The Badgers Made a Noteworthy Transfer Portal Addition 

Adding AJ Storr in the transfer portal to the Wisconsin Badgers basketball roster could be a game-changer for Greg Gard and company.  

Storr’s arrival addresses several key deficiencies that became apparent when Johnny Davis left the team after his sophomore year to enter the NBA Draft. This departure threw off the team’s development arc, leaving them with several glaring holes that needed to be filled. 

One of the issues was the need for a player with a combination of height and length on the wing. Storr’s wingspan and defensive potential provide the Badgers with a versatile option who can switch & defend more traditional small forwards.

Another aspect of the team’s game that took a hit was their transition offense. Storr gives Wisconsin basketball a catalyst for fast breaks and quick scoring opportunities. He also provides a significant boost in athleticism, shooting, and slashing shot creation that the team was sorely missing. 


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

Follow this link and use promo code: BADGERNOTES for 25% off your next True Classic order.

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

*Subscribe to BadgerNotes After Dark on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the official Wisconsin Badgers podcast of the Big Banter Sports Network.

Continue Reading

Basketball

Wisconsin Basketball: In-State Recruits Notable AAU Transition Adds a Twist

In-state recruiting for Wisconsin Basketball just got a whole lot more convenient.

Published

on

Wisconsin Badgers Basketball
Mar 1, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; A Wisconsin Badgers cheerleader takes the "W" flag across the court before the game with the Purdue Boilermakers at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Gard and the Wisconsin Badgers basketball coaching staff are in deep with multiple 2025 in-state recruits. One player in particular that the Badgers coaches feel is a perfect fit for their system is Middleton big man Will Garlock — who plays just 12 miles away from The Kohl Center.

UW offered the 6-foot-11 center in July, joining an offer list that now includes Marquette, Penn State, and Virginia Tech. Iowa, Purdue, and Virginia have also been in contact.

But last night, it was announced on social media that Garlock, formerly of the Wisconsin Playground Club, would join Team Herro of the Nike EYBL.

The decision to join Team Herro may appear inconsequential at first glance, but it significantly streamlines the recruiting process for the Wisconsin basketball coaching staff.

Wisconsin Basketball Coaching Staff Will Be Courtside for Plenty of Team Herro’s Games Next Summer

It’s still early in the recruiting cycle, but the Wisconsin Badgers Basketball coaches are heavily pursuing 2025 in-state talent. As it stands, Greg Gard has offered scholarships to 10 players — with six of those going out to prospects from Americas Dairyland.

With Will Garlock’s recent decision to join Team Herro, he officially joins forces with Wisconsin Badgers commit Zach Kinziger and newly offered forward Xzavion Mitchell.

Having all three in-state recruits, each of whom is very much in play for Wisconsin basketball, housed within the same program presents a unique opportunity. It allows a committed Badgers prospect to communicate with them directly and offers the chance to be present court-side, streamlining recruiting efforts and evaluations.



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

Follow this link and use promo code: BADGERNOTES for 25% off your next True Classic order.

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

*Subscribe to BadgerNotes After Dark on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the official Wisconsin Badgers podcast of the Big Banter Sports Network.

Continue Reading

Basketball

Wisconsin Women’s Basketball 2023-24 Schedule Preview

Published

on

Wisconsin Badgers Women's Basketball
Julie Pospisilova (5), Halle Douglass (10) and Maty Wilke (11) are among the Wisconsin players celebrating a basket during the team's victory over Bradley Wednesday Nov. 16, 2022 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Uwwomen Bradley 2 Nov 16 2022

We are just over a month away from the 50th season of Wisconsin Badgers women’s basketball! According to UW’s release about the new schedule, “the Badgers will highlight the program’s rich history and traditions” throughout the season. This is a cool opportunity for fans, both new and old, to learn about the program and the players that paved the way for this year’s team.

UW opens their 2023-2024 campaign with an exhibition game against UW-Whitewater on Oct. 29 at the Kohl Center. With the Big Ten announcing the conference schedule on Thursday, we now have a full slate of games to analyze. So, let’s get to it.

Wisconsin Women’s Basketball 2023-24 Schedule Preview

First up, a few key dates:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 7, season opener vs. Milwaukee
  • Friday, Nov. 24, Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-Off vs. Arkansas
  • Saturday, Nov. 25, Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-Off vs. Marquette/Boston College
  • Sunday, Dec. 10, Big Ten opener vs. Iowa
  • Sunday, March 3, final game of regular season vs. Michigan State
  • Wednesday, March 6, Big Ten Tournament starts in Minneapolis
  • Sunday, March 10, Big Ten Tournament final in Minneapolis

Wisconsin has 29 games on their schedule, including 18 Big Ten games, and will be looking to improve upon last season’s 11-20 (6-12 Big Ten) record that saw them win four of their last five regular season games, including an upset of No. 12 Michigan, and earn a bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Badgers have 15 games at the Kohl Center and 14 games away from home, which includes two down in Fort Myers at Thanksgiving. Wisconsin’s non-conference schedule is a bit more forgiving than last year’s slate, but there are still many challenges for a young, inexperienced team.

Based on last year’s Her Hoops Stats rankings, Wisconsin women’s basketball should be favored to win their first two games of the season, before a tough home test against the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State. SDSU, who finished last season as the 14th best team in the nation per HHS, lost two starters from last year’s offensive juggernaut, but they will still pose a challenge to a leaky Wisconsin defense.

After playing Kansas State at Miller Park (I’ll NEVER call it AmFam Field) last season, the Badgers make the return trip to the Little Apple and play the Wildcats before heading off to sunny Florida for the Fort Myers Tip-Off. Arkansas and, most likely, Boston College await UW in the holiday tournament, but a potential matchup with in-state Marquette would be very fun.

UW rounds out their non-conference slate with various directional Illinois’ and a trip to St. Paul to play St. Thomas in a game I hope to attend. Wedged into the end of the non-conference schedule is the Big Ten opener against…ah shit, against national runner-up Iowa and Caitlin Clark. Not to sound glib, but keeping that one within 30 should actually count as a win for Wisconsin.

The Badgers play the Hawkeyes, Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Rutgers twice this season. As far as single plays, they travel to Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State, and Maryland while getting Nebraska, Penn State, Indiana, and Michigan State at home.

All things considered, this is a pretty favorable schedule for Wisconsin women’s basketball. Of their home-and-home series’ the only one in which they’ll be heavy underdogs for both games is against Iowa. Their “road only” games all look like losses to me and, in an ideal world, they’ll split their “home only” games.

Per UW, single-game tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 9 a.m. (CT). The pre-sale for single-game tickets for donors and season ticket holders is set for Tuesday, Oct. 10. Student tickets are available through Area Red.


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 women’s basketball news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Drew Hamm on Twitter @DrewHamm5

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

*Subscribe to BadgerNotes After Dark on Youtube and wherever you find podcasts, the official Wisconsin Badgers podcast of the Big Banter Sports Network.

Continue Reading

Trending