One Question for Each Wisconsin Basketball Starter
Wisconsin basketball has been in a rut over the last few weeks. The Badgers have lost five of their last six games, with their most recent loss being a blowout against Maryland.
A little over a month ago, UW was the number 15 team in the country. Now on a skid, Wisconsin needs to right the ship as they head into the second half of the season.
There are question marks all over the board for this Badgers team, but here are some questions for each position group for the second stretch.
Can Chucky Hepburn improve his offensive consistency?
Chucky Hepburn earned a Big Ten Preseason All-Conference Second Team honor at the beginning of the season. He’s had a productive season as the floor general, leading the team in assists and steals. However, some question marks have been raised about his play on offense.
Hepburn is producing 12.2 points per game this season. While he’s one of Wisconsin’s top scorers, the sophomore guard’s shot selection has sometimes been questionable. Hepburn has taken low-percentage shots in multiple late-game situations, which sealed losses for UW.
Although Hepburn has had an up-and-down year, he has excelled as a playmaker and a defender. If he can get his consistency back to where it needs to be, Wisconsin could go on a run in the last stretch.
Will Max Klesmit return to form following his injury?
Klesmit has missed the last two games with an injury after being elbowed in the face in a win over Penn State. Wisconsin has missed him dearly, losing both games in his absence.
Klesmit has been a relatively quiet contributor for UW, but he’s been an essential factor. The junior guard is averaging 6.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.6 steals per game in the 2022-23 season.
If Klesmit could be who he was before his absence, Wisconsin could go on a run and start getting back in the win column.
Can Jordan Davis build off his recent play?
Jordan Davis has been another quiet player for Wisconsin basketball this season. The junior forward is averaging 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds thus far. Recently, though, Davis has been producing at a higher level.
Davis has combined for 22 points, 16 rebounds, and four assists in his last three games. His best game came against Northwestern, where he notched 15 points, six rebounds, one assist, a block, and a steal. After a relatively quiet season, Davis has hit his stride.
If Davis can build off his recent play, he’ll take some of the offensive load off of the top scorers and be a crucial piece to make a run.
Can Tyler Wahl get back to producing on defense at a high level?
Tyler Wahl has been the most crucial piece to the Badgers success this season. The veteran forward is Wisconsin’s leading scorer and was an important contributor to the defense. However, his defensive production has slipped recently.
Wahl averaged 1.3 steals per game before his injury, with 18 total steals. Since then, Wahl has registered just one steal in his last three games. If he can work back to his defensive production before the injury, Wisconsin can prepare to take on some high-powered offenses down the stretch.
Wahl has been vital to the Badgers this season. He should return to form soon, which would significantly boost UW.
Will Steven Crowl be the difference maker for Wisconsin basketball?
Steven Crowl has been one of, if not the most important player for Wisconsin this season.
The junior forward has been remarkable in this stretch, with multiple 20-point games under his belt. Although UW is on a skid with five losses in their last six, Crowl’s play has been a highlight. If the Minnesota native can continue at this pace, he could be a true difference-maker for the Badgers.
Wisconsin basketball takes on the Illinois Fighting Illini tomorrow afternoon. UW needs to right the ship fast, and they’ll go against a formidable opponent to try to get that done.
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*Chat about this article over at Badgers After Dark
Wisconsin Basketball News: Badgers Miss on Blue-Chip Recruit, Scrimmage Announced, More
It’s been a busy week for the Wisconsin basketball program, ladies and gents, but you’re in luck because BadgerNotes can help get you back up to speed with a roundup of some important Badgers hoops news you may have missed.
Wisconsin Basketball Misses on Five-Star In-State Recruit
Five-star shooting guard Kon Knueppel, out of Milwaukee (WI), has been Greg Gard’s top target in the 2024 recruiting class for over two years.
According to the industry-generated composite recruiting rankings, the 6-foot-6 sharpshooter is the No. 16 player in the country, the No. 7 SF, and the No. 1 recruit in America’s Dairyland.
After taking official visits to Marquette, Alabama, Virginia, Duke, and UW earlier this month, the Badgers learned on Thursday that Knueppel was taking his talents to Durham and joining Jon Scheyer and the Blue Devils.
The Brotherhood just got bigger. pic.twitter.com/Dv4KSHW7NK
— Kon II Knueppel (@Kon2Knueppel) September 21, 2023
While the news is undoubtedly disappointing, Wisconsin basketball did everything they could in this recruitment — and even put together a “substantial” NIL package.
As it stands, UW has the No. 22 ranked recruiting class in the country, holding verbal commitments from Daniel Freitag and Jack Robison in the 2024 cycle.
Wisconsin Badgers Announce Red-White Scrimmage Date
Per usual, the Badgers scrimmage will be free, with seating awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. The gates will open at 2:30 PM for anyone wanting an up close and personal look at this year’s squad.
Additionally, this will be the first Wisconsin men’s basketball event in which alcohol will be available for purchase — which is a massive win for Badgers fans.
One last thing of note: the Red-White scrimmage takes place on a bye week for the Green Bay Packers, a savvy move by the athletic department.
Other Wisconsin Basketball News
Although Wisconsin basketball is more than likely done in the 2024 cycle and moving on to the 2025 recruiting class, the Badgers coaches are still keeping tabs on top 150 big man Jaden Smith out of Chicago, Illinois.
According to the composite rankings, Smith is the No. 146 overall player in the 2024 recruiting cycle, the No. 26 C in the country, and the No. 5 player in Illinois.
As it stands, Smith holds offers from Georgia Tech, Arizona State, Dayton, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, St. Louis, TCU, and others. However, Wisconsin Badgers assistant coach Dean Oliver has kept in contact with the 6-foot-11 big man and plans to attend an open gym later this fall to watch Smith again up close.
Smith isn’t your traditional Wisconsin basketball big man. He’s a rim-running shot blocker with above-average athleticism who can make plays above the rim.
His game is still a big raw, but there’s enough untapped potential to warrant maintaining contact in recruitment that is “wide open,” according to Smith. There’s also some mutual interest — so we’ll continue to monitor their relationship now that the Badgers have their answer on Kon Knuppel.
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Wisconsin Basketball Fans React: Badgers Miss on 5-Star Recruit
The Wisconsin Badgers basketball program was in the thick of the recruiting battle for in-state prospect Kon Knueppel. The five-star prospect out of Wisconsin Lutheran (Milwaukee) officially visited UW earlier this year. A sharpshooting wing and top-20 prospect in the nation, the leading scorer on Nike’s EYBL circuit was a highly coveted prospect. After official visits with the Badgers, Marquette, Alabama, Virginia, and Duke, he has made his decision.
Top Wisconsin Basketball Recruiting Target Commits to Duke
The 2024 recruit announced his commitment to the Duke Blue Devils on the website formerly known as Twitter. Wisconsin basketball fans used the same website to voice their opinions on his decision. Some took it in stride. Others, not so much.
Despite what you might think, some level-headed people are on the internet. Even people in college basketball fandom. I know, shocking, right?
I wish you good luck on your decision
— Mark Meddings (@MeddingsMark1) September 22, 2023
Would’ve loved to have seen you go to Madison. Good luck!
— Derek Fer Real (@DerekFerReal) September 21, 2023
At the end of the day, these are teenagers trying to make the best decisions for the future. It is important to remember that. Watching Wisconsin basketball fans take a commitment to another program in stride is always a welcome sight.
Wisconsin Basketball Fans Have Harsh Reaction to Recruit’s Decision
Not all fans took the high road this time. Some had to get some pretty negative feelings out there.
— Glowing Ice Beer Cold (@HaakonMusic) September 21, 2023
Anyone who actually ever seriously thought this kid was going to go to Wisconsin needs their head examined. https://t.co/Ts7BsB0QtB
— Kyle Birling (@KJBD11) September 21, 2023
(I was going to say he is dead to me, but that just seems sort of melodramatic. That said, I hope they lose every game and he misses every shot. If they ever play Wisconsin, I hope he get booed.)
— Badgermaniac (@THEbadgermaniac) September 22, 2023
— KG (@kgallstar23) September 21, 2023
Getting my head checked aside, these last two are so odd to me. “I am not saying this 17-year-old I have never met before is dead to me, but I did want to say it.” Or do you prefer, “I want to say a lot of mean things, but do not fret! I am showing restraint at this time!” Who asked? At least they make for good content for me to riff on!
Wisconsin Basketball Fans Want Greg Gard Fired
Check your watch! What time do you have? Mine must be broken because it says it is once again time to fire Badgers head coach Greg Gard. The Wisconsin basketball head coach, who has won two of the last four Big Ten titles, simply cannot manage to do anything right.
Fire Gard https://t.co/4bfcvpNt2E
— Ron’s Cards (@ronaldwalkeriii) September 21, 2023
Gard missed on the best player in the state? Stunning. That’s never happened before.
— In Development 🕶️ (@j__1252) September 21, 2023
Never forget that Greg Gard HAD TYLER HERRO COMMITTED…and basically told him to go elsewhere.
He’s not cut out for this.
— In Development 🕶️ (@j__1252) September 22, 2023
Greg Gard sucks so much 😂😂 https://t.co/7uR47TRMEK
— nave (@NaveSirom) September 21, 2023
What does GG do well?
— Cardio Pharm (@JoeRinka) September 22, 2023
Maybe this was a bad metaphor. A broken watch is still right twice a day, after all. Oh well, it stays in.
Wisconsin Sports Celebrities Comment On Kon Knueppel Committing to Duke
Okay, “celebrities” (multiple) may be pushing it. I mean no disrespect to the Don – the one real celebrity here. Scary Alvarez and Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky added their thoughts on Knueppel’s commitment Thursday night.
I’ll obviously still root for Kon to find all the success in the world
But having the chance to be an all time legend and fan favorite at Wisconsin vs just another great one at Duke feels like a missed opportunity
NBA guy either way and probably a higher scorer at Wisconsin
— Scary Alvarez (@barryisthedon) September 21, 2023
All time worst Badger 🏀 losses to Duke
1. 2015 Championship game
2. Kon Knueppel (2023)
3. 2014 at home
— Scary Alvarez (@barryisthedon) September 21, 2023
Congrats to Kon. Great player. Great kid.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) September 21, 2023
Despite losing out on Knueppel, Wisconsin basketball still has a solid 2024 recruiting class. The group ranks 22nd nationally and fifth in the Big Ten according to the 247Sports Composite. It is comprised of two commits, Daniel Freitag and Jack Robison.
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Wisconsin Basketball Announces 2023-24 Big Ten Schedule
The Big Ten released the 2023-2024 men’s basketball schedule. Just like last year, Wisconsin will have one conference game in December and then return to Big Ten play again in January. This is one of the toughest and most exciting schedules I have seen recently.
Let’s take a look at some early thoughts on the schedule.
We've got a B1G-time schedule 👀📅🏀
The 2023-24 Big Ten schedule is set! Conference play tips off December 5.
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) September 19, 2023
Wisconsin Basketball Has a Tough First Week of December
I mentioned how tough this schedule will be for Wisconsin basketball, and the first week of December is indicative of that. The Badgers will host Marquette on December 2nd, travel to East Lansing for their Big Ten opener against Michigan State on December 5th, and then head to Arizona on December 9th.
Safe to say, Wisconsin basketball fans will get a good sense of how great this team can be early on.
Wisconsin Basketball Has an Exciting Home Schedule
The Kohl Center should be rocking this year. Wisconsin basketball has a plethora of really intriguing home games this season. UW will have 13 games this year where they face a NCAA tournament team from last year. With nine of those being at the Kohl Center. Five Friday night home games, which include matchups with Tennessee, Indiana, and Michigan State.
On top of that, 5 Saturday/Sunday home games, including matchups with Marquette, Purdue, and Illinois. With the addition of alcohol being served at the Kohl Center now, I expect the Wisconsin basketball home crowd to be rowdy this year!
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
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