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3 Reasons Wisconsin Basketball Will Bounce Back in 2023-24



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. Not to mention, 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. 

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.