The University of Wisconsin-Madison men’s basketball team hosted their annual red-white scrimmage in the Kohl Center Sunday in front of a large home crowd of more than 7,300. Senior Bronson Koenig posted a game-high 16 points on the white team, but fell short to sophomore Ethan Happ and the red team, 48-46.
The game Sunday was the first opportunity to get a glimpse at a Wisconsin team that lost only a single walk-on player to graduation and made a miraculous run to the Sweet Sixteen a year ago. In head coach Greg Gard’s first full offseason at the helm after legendary coach Bo Ryan stepped down early last year, the Badgers added seven-foot Belgium native Andy Van Vliet and highly touted recruits Brevin Pritzl, D’Mitrik Trice and Aleem Ford to one of the deepest lineups in the country.
Men’s basketball: New and old players give balanced first look in red-white scrimmageThe University of Wisconsin-Madison men’s basketball team hosted their annual red-white scrimmage in the Kohl Center Sunday in front of Read…
Van Vliet recorded seven points and eight rebounds while Pritzl, Trice and Ford had a limited impact, with Trice posting the group’s sole three points. Van Vliet is expected to compete for a starting spot after losing a year of eligibility last season, but he is one of the few newcomers to do so with almost every contributor from last year’s team back on campus.
Gard kept the post-game press conference short but praised Koenig and his freshmen for how they came out in their first game setting of the year. While the entire starting lineup returns from a year ago, the head coach mentioned how little attention his players have put on what year their teammates are and how well they’ve competed in practice.
Koenig has received a lot of hype coming out of fall practice in recent weeks and backed it up with one of his more dominant and balanced displays. The point guard and preseason first-team All-Big Ten member shot 6-12 from the field and 2-3 from the three-point stripe while adding five assists and three steals.
Despite several solid performances from some of the key performers for the Badgers, Gard stressed the work the team still has to put in to prepare for the season. With the USA Today coaches poll putting Wisconsin at 10th in preseason rankings, expectations are sky high for a squad that was thought to be in a rebuilding period only a year ago.
The game was a step in the right direction for UW and should give the young contributors a good look at what they should expect going into the season.
The Badgers will tip off the 2016-17 season at home in an exhibition game against UW-Platteville Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.