#62 Wisconsin Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


Wisconsin Badgers


2017-2018 Overall Rank: #62
Conference Rank: #9 Big Ten

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Wisconsin has been a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament since 1999, but this season’s team will enter 2017-18 with lower expectations than usual. Last season, the Badgers advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year before losing in heartbreaking fashion on a buzzer-beater in overtime. Now, Wisconsin and coach Greg Gard will be without four of their starters who were key in the Badgers’ last four tournament runs, including two trips to the Final Four. Third Team All-American Ethan Happ will be the lone remaining starter as he looks to lead the new-look Badgers back to the NCAA Tournament.
2016-17 Record: 27-10, 12-6
2016-17 Postseason:
NCAA Tournament
Greg Gard
Coach Record:
42-18 at Wisconsin, 42-18 overall
Who’s Out:
Wisconsin loses four long-time starters who were each key pieces of their four-year run of postseason success. Nigel Hayes ends his Wisconsin career third on the all-time scoring list in school history. Hayes is the only player to be on the school’s top-10 list for points, rebounds and assists. Hayes struggled at times as a senior, but finished the year averaging 14 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Bronson Koenig graduated with his own records, setting the mark for most career three-pointers made as well as the most consecutive games with a made three. Koenig led the team in scoring last season and made the Second Team All-Big Ten. Koenig finished his career 10th on Wisconsin’s all-time scoring list. Vitto Brown and Zak Showalter have also both graduated after starting for the last two seasons. Brown started all 37 games but struggled as a senior, averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Showalter was a gritty player who earned Big Ten All-Defensive Team honors as a senior. Showalter averaged 8.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game in his final season. Bench player Jordan Hill will also not return to Wisconsin after electing to become a grad transfer elsewhere. Hill saw his playing time dwindle last season, playing just 10.2 minutes per game.
Who’s In:
Greg Gard will have four new freshmen to help replace the all the production lost this offseason. Wisconsin has never relied much on true freshmen, but the new additions should add depth to the team right away. Nate Reuvers is a four-star top-100 recruit who can stretch the floor at power forward. Reuvers averaged 25.6 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks as a high school senior. Brad Davison is also a four-star recruit who could be Koenig’s long-term replacement at point guard. Davison averaged 24.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 4.2 steals as a high school senior. The Badgers also add Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball award winner, 6-4 guard Kobe King. King averaged 28 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a high school senior. Aleem Ford will see action this season after redshirting his first year at Wisconsin. Ford was a three-star recruit and is a versatile forward who should play a role this season.
Who to Watch:
The unquestioned leader of the Badgers will be junior Ethan Happ. Happ is coming off a dominant sophomore campaign where he averaged 14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.2 blocks while shooting 59% from the field. Happ earned Third Team All-America honors and was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Happ won’t have players like Hayes and Koenig to support him this season, so he will need to keep up those monster numbers with a higher usage. Wisconsin will have to rely on former role players like Khalil Iverson, D’Mitrik Trice, Charlie Thomas, Brevin Pritzl and Alex Illikainen to pick up the slack this year. Iverson is a player who looks ready to break out as a junior. Iverson averaged just 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds as a sophomore, but he had multiple double-digit scoring games including a 16-point performance against Marquette. Trice could also see an improvement as a sophomore this season. Trice was the top scoring bench player as a freshman, with 5.6 points per game. Trice shot 41.8% from three and should help replace Koenig’s shooting production. Seldom-used big men Andy Van Vliet and Aaron Moesch are also back on the roster.
Final Projection:
Wisconsin will have their most inexperienced team in recent memory. All the main contributors from the Badgers’ multiple Final Four runs are gone now, and a new group must step up to get them back to the NCAA Tournament. This will be Greg Gard’s first season without players like Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, and it will be a challenge to keep up in the Big Ten without those guys. Luckily for him, All-America talent Ethan Happ is back and has the potential to carry a team. Happ will need help from the role players from last season and the freshmen joining the team, though. If the guys around Happ step up, Wisconsin should be back to competing in the Big Ten. If Happ has to do it all himself, the Badgers could be in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
D’Mitrik Trice, Sophomore, Guard, 5.6 points per game

Brevin Pritzl, Sophomore, Guard, 1.9 points per game
Khalil Iverson, Junior, Forward, 3.9 points per game
Nate Reuvers, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Ethan Happ, Junior, Center, 14.0 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.4 (196th in nation, 8th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 62.4 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (113, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (44, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.6 (147, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.9 (131, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.4 (332, 13)
Rebound Margin: 6.3 (20, 3)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (161, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.1 (30, 3)
Madness 2018 NBA Draft Rankings:
#11 Ethan Happ

Madness 2017 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#71 Nathan Reuvers
#104 Brad Davidson