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Wisconsin Badgers’ Offense Holding Them Back in Big Ten Play

Mary Langenfeld- USA TODAY Sports

If there was one thing evident on Tuesday night when the Wisconsin Badgers took on the Ohio State Buckeyes, it’s that Wisconsin cannot score the basketball on a consistent basis.

The Badgers are designed to win games 50-48, not 75-73 and that mindset was on display in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday. Wisconsin shot a paltry 36.5 percent from the field in a 58-49 loss to Ohio State. Even though the Buckeyes shot 51 percent from the field, the Badgers’ time consuming half-court offense and stout defense limited the amount of possessions that Ohio State had in the game.

Wisconsin owns the Big Ten’s best scoring defense, but rank seventh in terms of actual shooting percentage against. This has always been the Badgers pride since Bo Ryan was named head coach. Ryan loves to win with great defense and scoring just enough points, but that only works so many times against the best offenses in the Big Ten. Eventually good teams will find ways to score 60 or more points on Wisconsin, but the Badgers don’t have the offensive firepower to get into a shootout.

The Badgers have hit 60 or more points four times in Big Ten play, but three of those games were against the three worst scoring defenses in the conference. Wisconsin only has three players averaging more than ten points per game and its leading scorer, Jared Berggren, is only averaging 12 points per contest. It is important to have a lot of people who can score, but without a true scorer Wisconsin will continue to struggle against the elite teams in the Big Ten.

Wednesday only confirmed those issues as Traevon Jackson led the team with 12 points, but nobody outside of Berggren who had 11 scored in double figures. This is not a successful formula for winning conference and national titles and it is what’s going to hold back Wisconsin this season from competing in an ultra-competitive Big Ten.