Five Takeaways From Wisconsin’s 77-68 Win Over Xavier

Five Takeaways From Wisconsin’s 77-68 Win Over Xavier

Basketball

Five Takeaways From Wisconsin’s 77-68 Win Over Xavier

1, Nice to Have You Back, D’Mitrik

After missing the majority of last year’s season, D’Mitrik Trice has come out in his first two games and done nothing but impress. Elevating his production to a new level, Trice was a perfect 5-for-5 on 3-point shots, helping spread the floor against a Xavier team that was having issues defensively. He looked solid running the point with five assists, which is important because it gives the Badgers the flexibility to run Brad Davison at the two which is his more natural position. After setting a career-high scoring 21 points last week, Trice finished with 22 tonight and is shooting 10-for-14 from 3-point range.

2, Stat Sheet Happ

Coming off the second triple-double in program history, Ethan Happ delivered a performance that was arguably better: 30 points with a career-best 15 field goals, 13 rebounds, and five assists. A preseason All-American, we knew Happ would have to be the leader of this team and he has shown the ability to do that through the first two games. His energy throughout the contest was vital to the nonconference road win, especially considering his passing skills opened up 3-point makes for Trice.

3, Badgering on D

If this win is any indicator, UW took a step in the right direction towards getting back to the dominant defense they are known for. Holding the Musketeers to 45.8 shooting from the field and 5-for-24 from 3-point range, the Badgers didn’t allow easy baskets throughout the game. UW had some lapses at the end of each half, showing there is still work to be done, but defense and minimizing mistakes will be important for this Wisconsin team this year.

4, Offensive Options Up in the Air

While the Badgers looked poised and efficient on offense, past the big three of Trice, Brad Davison (19 points) and Happ, they didn’t have a player score over four points. UW got only two bench points from Kobe King when Khalil Iverson (2-for-6), Brevin Pritzl (0-for-6) and Nate Reuvers (0-for-1) failed to make any tangible scoring impact. Wisconsin ran into trouble last season relying too much on Happ and not having multiple scoring options, so the Badgers need to develop consistent bench play and more reliable scoring threats as the season develops.

5, Confidence Boost

It took Wisconsin four tries and nearly a month of playing before registering its first win away from the Kohl Center last year, so this will could have a ripple effect in terms of confidence moving forward. The Badgers will host Houston Baptist on Saturday night at the Kohl Center, a program that lost to Arizona by 30 and narrowly beat Fordham last Saturday. That will serve as the final tune-up before traveling to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis. If UW can take this performance and continue to build on it, this has the makings of the ultimate rebound season for the Badgers.

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