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Wisconsin Basketball: Tournament Hopes Fading, Jordan Davis Struggling, More



Wisconsin Badgers Basketball head coach Greg Gard
Jan 3, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard talks with his players during a timeout against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a busy week for the Wisconsin basketball program, ladies and gents, but fear not because BadgerNotes can help get you back up to speed with a roundup of some important news you may have missed.

Tournament Hopes Fading for Wisconsin Men’s Basketball

It’s been tough sledding for the Wisconsin basketball program lately. The Badgers have lost seven of their last 10 games and still have not won back-to-back games this calendar year.

UW was riding high four weeks ago, sitting first in the Big Ten and ranked No. 14 in the country. But losing starters Tyler Wahl and Max Klesmit to injury derailed all momentum, and the Badgers haven’t been the same since.

The lack of depth, poor free-throw shooting, defensive inconsistencies, and offensive struggles have also given the Badgers a razor-thin margin for error.

Barring an unlikely turnaround, Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball team aren’t likely to claim a spot in the NCAA Tournament. With no get-right games in conference play, it’s hard to envision UW’s laundry list of struggles evaporating in time to rattle off enough meaningful wins to earn a bid.

Coach Gard deserves criticism—I’m not arguing that—but he’s also earned the right to make amends, even if that means re-tooling the team in the offseason.

Jordan Davis is Struggling…Big Time

Speaking of razor-thin rotation depth, junior guard Jordan Davis has looked like a shell of himself since losing his starting spot to freshman Connor Essegian.

Since his demotion, the 6-foot-4 wing looks lost on the court. Over his last four games, Davis is averaging 0.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.5 assists on 8.3% shooting from the field. Davis has also been held scoreless in his last 42 minutes and counting.

Earlier in the season, Davis looked like a nice piece in the rotation as a low-usage 3&D player. That said, he’s been a relative non-factor since returning to the bench. UW needs the La Crosse native to find his shot and offer a spark for the Badgers to string together some wins.

Jordan Davis can be an asset to Greg Gard and the Wisconsin basketball team as a solid defender who rebounds and takes care of the ball, + knocks down the occasional three.

The Wisconsin native desperately needs to see the ball go through the hoop.

Wisconsin Basketball Can’t Finish Close Games…

Wisconsin basketball has a fever—and the only prescription—appears to be dribbling around for 29 seconds and hucking up a questionable jumper at the end of the shot clock.

Already an offensively challenged team, Greg Gard and the Badgers need to do better than Chucky Hepburn’s hero ball in late-game situations. Period.

It’s clear that coach Gard feels most comfortable with the ball in Hepburn’s hands at the end of games – but the shot selection needs to be WAY better.

In a one-possession game, I’d much rather see the Wisconsin basketball team run an offensive set and take the best look they generate. But if you’re hell-bent on letting Hepburn play ISO ball, I’d rather see him get to the rim and draw contact—force the officials to blow the whistle.

I get it; you want the ball in the hands of your best playmaker down the stretch; it just feels like multiple opportunities have been squandered due to the lack of offensive continuity in the final minutes of games.

It’s impossible to blame just one person, but everyone in the Wisconsin basketball program needs to improve, or they’ll continue losing close games–simple as that.

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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.