There’s no running away from it, through 23 games, this 2020-21 Wisconsin Badgers season is one of the most disappointing seasons in over 30 years for the program.
I’ve been talking to two former UW players, who will remain nameless because this was talked about in confidence, the last few weeks and we’ve been saying the same thing.
Wisconsin looks like a lifeless team this season. Is it because of no fans in the stands? I don’t know, I’ve never played a competitive basketball game in an empty stadium before so I can’t speak for what it’s like to play in these unprecedented times.
I will say, the only sport that has felt normal since sports started back up in July 2020 is the NFL season. The NFL season has been the only season where I’ve felt “this feels normal.”
But this is who they are, unfortunately. A lifeless team that looks unmotivated to play. They’ve played the best competition in the Big Ten (the best conference) and have been embarrassed.
My optimism is that Greg Gard presses the right buttons to get this team playing like we’ve been accustomed to seeing UW basketball play. We are one year removed from a Big Ten Championship and Greg Gard being Big Ten Coach of the Year, but there’s no energy, no cohesion from this team and this is a team that returned everyone except for Brevin Pritzl (who graduated) from the 2019-20 team.
The lack of connectivity is there.
Everyone is trying to be someone they’re not.
D’Mitrik Trice is the only player from last year that got better. Well, I should say Tyler Wahl has gotten better too, but you can’t rely on a role player to carry your team.
I’m a huge Greg Gard fan, but it’s on Gardo to motivate the team and to get the most out of this team and this season. And no, there is absolutely zero chance he gets fired no matter what happens this season (sorry Gard haters & Ogg Hall kids).
It does not feel like the players enjoy playing with each other and that’s when there’s poor communication, missed assignments and you give up offensive rebounds (like against Michigan).
When you enjoy playing with your teammates, you’ll do anything to get your teammate’s back during the game whether its on the defensive end or offensive end. Like I said a second ago, it does not feel like that’s the case this season.
This season does NOT count towards a year of eligibility for players so EVERYONE is able to return if they and the program chooses to do so.
Wisconsin has seven seniors this season (6 on scholarship, 1 walk-on).
If I’m Greg Gard, the ONLY player I’d bring back for the 2021-22 season is Micah Potter for a few reasons. First of all, Potter got royally screwed by the NCAA when he transferred early on in the 2018-19 season to Wisconsin from Ohio State (he did not play a single game for OSU that season) and the NCAA didn’t grant his waiver to play at the start of the 2019-20 season. So he had to sit for 3 semesters, while the NCAA was granting waivers right and left to play immediately for practically everyone else for doing the same thing.
Greg Gard needs to continue building the culture that Bo Ryan established at UW, and if this is what the culture is I wouldn’t want to bring this culture back (other than Potter).