Wisconsin-Michigan recap: Badgers comeback bid falls short

MADISON, Wis. — Michigan defeated Wisconsin 83-72 on Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center to drop the Badgers’ overall record to 11-16, including 4-10 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin now has lost nine of its last 11 conference games. The Badgers battled back after they trailed by as many as 25 points to cut the deficit to 7 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

WHY WISCONSIN LOST: For the second consecutive home game, Wisconsin didn’t bring the effort and energy necessary at the start, which resulted in a massive deficit that was nearly impossible to overcome. Michigan opened the game with a 15-2 lead while scoring inside and out. Meanwhile, the Badgers recorded more turnovers (3) than points in that stretch. Northwestern did the same thing to Wisconsin on Feb. 1 at the Kohl Center, when the Wildcats took an 18-1 lead. Wisconsin trailed Michigan 53-28 before the Badgers really started to find their rhythm. On a day in which multiple big-time recruits were in town to watch Wisconsin, this was not exactly a showcase performance by the Badgers.

WHAT IT MEANS: It became clear weeks ago — maybe even months ago — that this Wisconsin team wouldn’t be good enough to reach its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin is young and undermanned thanks to injuries to D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King. But the manner in which Wisconsin has played for lengthy stretches of its Big Ten games has to be disappointing. The Northwestern and Michigan games are obvious to point to during this conference-long funk, although at least the Badgers deserve credit for not giving up. But Wisconsin wasn’t particularly competitive at home against Ohio State in December, as well as at Purdue and at Iowa. There are four Big Ten regular season games remaining against Purdue, Minnesota, Northwestern and Michigan State, and the Badgers essentially are playing for pride.

WHO STARRED: Badgers forward Ethan Happ scored 11 of his team’s 22 first-half points, and he continued to dominate in the second half. Happ finished with 29 points and 7 rebounds. Brevin Pritzl made a pair of first-half 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, while Brad Davison scored 10 points and Nate Reuvers 7 points. Khalil Iverson had a quiet offensive game with 2 points but did tally 6 rebounds and 7 assists.

WHO STUMBLED: Aleem Ford made a crucial 3-pointer to cut Wisconsin’s deficit to 71-63 late in the second half, but he had a tough day overall. Ford scored 5 points on 2 of 6 shooting in 32 minutes. He also fouled out with 30.8 seconds remaining in the game.

WHO WAS THERE: This was one of the biggest days for Wisconsin’s recruiting efforts all season. Among the high school recruits in attendance were both of the Badgers’ 2018 commits: forward Taylor Currie (Clarkston, Mich.) and center Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins, Minn.). Guard Marlon Ruffin, a 2018 prospect from Sun Prairie, Wis., was there. So was teammate Jalen Johnson, a forward in the 2020 class who ranks as the No. 8 player in the country. One of Wisconsin’s top prospects in the 2019 class, forward Zeke Nnaji (Hopkins, Minn.), attended the game.

At halftime, Wisconsin honored several of Wisconsin’s former basketball players, including all-time leading scorer Alando Tucker. The Badgers celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Wisconsin’s Big Ten and regular season and tournament championships, which featured a video tribute on the big screen, as well as an introduction of members from that team.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy was in attendance and received an ovation when he appeared on the big screen. Members of Wisconsin’s football team participated in a dance medley with the Badgers’ dance team during a first-half timeout.

WHO IS NEXT: Wisconsin hosts Purdue at 6 p.m. CT Thursday.

BOX SCORE:

The post Wisconsin-Michigan recap: Badgers comeback bid falls short appeared first on Land of 10.

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