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Wisconsin Basketball Fans Should Remain Optimistic Despite Recent Struggles

It’s not time to panic yet, Wisconsin basketball fans.



If you’ve been following along with the  Wisconsin Badgers basketball program, you’re aware of the team’s recent stumble.

After starting the season 16-4 and being ranked as high as 6th in the nation, the loss on Saturday marked four consecutive losses for the Badgers. The most common reaction for fans when their favorite team faces adversity is to panic and feel like the sky is falling.

However, despite their recent struggles, Wisconsin basketball fans should remain optimistic.

Despite recent struggles, Wisconsin Basketball fans should remain optimistic

One of the things many had praised about this season’s Badgers team early in the season was their depth. Recently, that depth has taken a hit. Notably, John Blackwell and Kamari McGee are currently battling injuries.

Blackwell and McGee being injured simultaneously have caused issues with the team’s rotation. Both being guards, their absence puts much more pressure on starting point guard Chucky Hepburn. With a fully healthy squad, Hepburn already has an enormous responsibility on the defensive end on most nights. Taking away two players who will help him get a breather has hampered the Badgers more than most would have expected.

The loss of McGee, in particular, has been a devastating blow for Wisconsin. Since McGee’s last appearance on January 19th against Indiana, the Badgers have limped to a 2-4 record, including four straight losses. McGee’s defensive impact and ability to alleviate some of the load on Hepburn on that end were underestimated before his injury.

The argument with pointing out injuries will likely be that injuries are not unique to the Badgers, and every team has to deal with them. While that is usually true, the most significant focus point Greg Gard and his staff had to enter the offseason was to improve the team’s depth from last season. Once the improved depth is taken away, things start to look a lot like they did last year. The train should start rolling again in Madison when Wisconsin can get healthy.

Injuries aside, the other primary reason to remain optimistic is Coach Gard. Some within the fan base believe there are better options for the job than Gard. Regardless, his accolades speak for themselves. Since 2020, Gard has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year twice. For most, it’s hard to argue that there would be many better coaching candidates.

A situation like the one the Wisconsin Badgers currently find themselves in is perfect for Gard. Over the years, he has always delivered in the face of adversity.

It might be good that recent conversations surrounding Gard’s team have been so negative. There may not be anybody in college basketball at proving doubters wrong better than Gard.

Final Thoughts

First and foremost, the Badgers need to be healthy to consider pushing the panic button. We’ve already seen this season that they’re a completely different team when fully armed. 

Any Wisconsin fans of other sports teams within the state should think about channeling their inner Aaron Rodgers. R-E-L-A-X. Wisconsin basketball will be okay. They will be okay because we have Greg Gard, and they don’t.

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Lucas Valind is a correspondent for covering Wisconsin football and basketball. His previous bylines covering the Badgers can be found at FanSided's Badger of Honor and Dairyland Express.