The Wisconsin Badgers basketball team continues to have a streaky start to the season. After losing its first game against a top-25 team in St. Mary’s, the Badgers quickly rebounded, winning four straight. None of these wins, however, were of considerable margins, especially considering the weak strength of schedule. Fans have seen two very different sides of Wisconsin. At times, they appear to be incredibly efficient and solid defensively. Others, they seem stagnant and unable to execute on all levels of the game.
Hall-of-fame coach Bo Ryan brought his “swing” offense when he began his tenure at Wisconsin. The swing offense emphasizes constant off-ball movement, team play, patience, and fundamentalism to play offense at an extremely efficient level. This style of play proved to be highly effective in Wisconsin’s many successes, especially in postseason runs.
Led by Nate Reuvers, D’Mitrik Trice, and Brad Davison, the Badgers have struggled early in the season. At times, the depth of Wisconsin has proven too much for opponents to handle. The team is capable of playing with such fluidity and efficiency, thanks in large part to the swing offense. However, the team has looked atrocious at other times. The inconsistency of the team’s play is causing the team to “tread water” as they struggle to pile up early-season wins.
Critics blame head coach Greg Gard for the Badgers’ early struggles. Though he continues to run the swing offense and follows his predecessor Bo Ryan’s fundamental ideals, the team has underperformed since his reign began. This season, Wisconsin has looked completely stagnant on offense on all cylinders. The defense that was once one of the most feared in the nation is looking foolish at times. Though they are scraping by with a few wins, the team has played relatively weak opponents and has not looked good in the process. Upset fans pin the troubles on coach Gard. Critics think the team lacks talent and athleticism, and they hold Gard responsible for poor recruiting and player development. With the team seemingly stalling, fans of Wisconsin can only hope that the tides will turn quickly as the Badgers look to return to postseason success.
By Sanjay Palta-Hill