Every week, Herald Sports will look back at the Wisconsin men’s basketball team and grade the Badgers in various aspects of the game, including offense, defense and bench scoring.
Here is how UW fared at Indiana, on Senior Night versus Iowa and on the road at Illinois:
Offense — 5 of 5
It’s hard to find a stretch this season in which the Wisconsin offense has looked better than over the last three games. The Badgers have scored 217 points in the last three games, or an average of 72.3 points per game.
Wisconsin shot exactly 50 percent from the field over its last three, making 83-of-166 attempts. UW was even better from three-point range, shooting 21-for-41 (51.2 percent). The Badgers were weakest from the free throw line but still hit at a respectable 73.2 percent clip (30-for-41).
When the Badgers did miss, they were quite efficient on the offensive boards, grabbing 30 rebounds on their end of the court. UW managed to convert those 30 second chances into 33 points, compared to just 24 points on 30 second- chance opportunities for their opponents.
Defense — 5 of 5
As strong as they’ve been on the offensive end, the Badgers have almost been more impressive defensively. While scoring 217 points in the last three games, Wisconsin has allowed its opponents to put up just 143. UW opponents have shot 27 fewer times from the field, making just 36 percent of their attempts.
Beyond the arc, the Badgers’ defense has been even better, allowing just 8-of-36 shooting, or 22.2 percent. And while Wisconsin has reached the line 12 fewer times than its opponents (which have shot just 66 percent), the Badgers trail by only five in made attempts.
Rebounding has been key to the Badgers holding opponents to 27 fewer attempts from the field. While they gave up as many offensive rebounds (30) as they got in three games, the Badgers have owned the battle on the boards, grabbing 100 to just 77 for opponents.
Bench scoring — 3 of 5
With its five best scorers on the court, rather than keeping either Jon Leuer or Jordan Taylor on the bench as they had for every previous game in which both were healthy, the Badgers’ bench scoring is unlikely to be high. In three games, Wisconsin tallied 37 points from its bench or just 17 percent of its overall scoring output.
Bench performer of the week goes to former starter Tim Jarmusz and sophomore guard Rob Wilson, each of whom had eight of those 37 points in the three games.
Player of the Week — Jon Leuer
Based on the buzz over the last 10 days, this seemed much more of a no-brainer than it was. Sure, Leuer has seemed to be far away the best player on the court for the Badgers’ last three games on either side of the ball, but senior guard Trevon Hughes actually scored five more points than Leuer over the last three games with 46 to Leuer’s 41.
And that’s just the beginning. Hughes even had one more rebound (17) than Leuer (16) during the same stretch. But Hughes just had five assists to three turnovers compared to nine assists to three turnovers for Leuer.
And while Hughes led the team in scoring against Indiana with 17 when all five starters reached double digits, Leuer led the team in each of the next two contests with 18 points against Iowa and 20 at Illinois. Taylor did match his total of 20, though.
Either way you go with this, one thing is clear. The combination that carried Wisconsin until Jan. 9 is back, and it appears to be at 100 percent. Wisconsin’s clicking on all cylinders, and it has a lot to do with the play of these two.
Quote of the Week — Bo Ryan on Taylor’s 20-point performance after victory at Illinois
With reporters clearly impressed by Taylor’s 20-point, eight-rebound performance, Ryan was at a loss for words.
“Jordan Taylor, what do you say?” Ryan said. “His heart is bigger than he is.”
Ryan often jokes with Taylor, who is listed at 6-foot-1, about his height. While that may have been the case again here, it seems as though Ryan is truly just complimenting Taylor on his play rather than poking fun.