The Badgers brought a balanced attack last night against North Dakota, leading the entire game and winning 78-64 in the end. All five starters were in double figures, led by Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig with 17 points each. The starters played considerable minutes, with Khalil Iverson being the only player to receive more than 11 off the bench. Vitto Brown only played 22 minutes due to some foul trouble in the first half, while Ethan Happ only played 25 minutes when he got his fourth foul midway through the second half.  The bench only had 11 points on the night.

To see the team’s season statistics, including advanced statistics, click here.

Wisconsin shot 43.9% from the field, 30.0% from 3, and 63.6% from the free throw line. In advanced terms, the team’s effective field goal percentage was 48.48% (season average is 50.28%) with a true shooting of 51.53% (season average is 55.15%). The team had a 2.33 assist to turnover ratio, and forced 16 North Dakota turnovers. All in all, the team did not shoot the ball well, but their defense was able to keep them well ahead of UND throughout the matchup.

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Player Grades

All five starters played at least above average, as we take a look at last night’s grades.

Ethan Happ

After two disappointing games to start the season, Happ finally came alive on Tuesday night. He was extremely efficient on the floor in terms of shooting and rebounding, and he at least avoided foul trouble until the second half when the game was basically over. He played better on defense and looked more comfortable. Grade: A

Zak Showalter

Drawing two charges, rebounding, and hitting his free throws, Showalter continues to play at a high level in his first year as a starter. He played another 33 minutes on Tuesday night, and he was locked in defensively. Grade: A

Bronson Koenig

The junior point guard played another solid game, as he’s proving to be the team’s post consistent offensive player. Koenig shot effectively, especially from 3, and continues to play 30+ minutes, which has resulted in his 19 points per game. Defensively, Koenig did a much better job on UND’s streaky guards. Grade: A-

Vitto Brown

Brown has been hitting almost all of his midrange jumpers, which he worked on a ton over the summer. He only had one turnover, but did get into foul trouble early on, which resulted in his benching for much of the first half. He struggled to guard UND’s 7’0″ center Carson Shanks at times, but that’s to be expected since Brown is only 6’8″ with a long wingspan. Still, Brown is getting more and more comfortable and has been a threat on offense, which Bo Ryan has to love. Grade: B

Khalil Iverson

Another game, another scrappy game for Iverson as he played impressive defense in his 20 minutes. You probably won’t see him shoot many 3-pointers this season, but he did attempt one for the second straight game. He had a nice dunk on a great feed from Hayes as well. Grade: B

Alex Illikainen

The freshman forward saw 11 minutes of time against UND, and he was pretty effective. He had 5 points on 2-3 shooting from the field, including his first 3-pointer. As Illikainen gets stronger and more comfortable, he’ll see more minutes. Grade: B

Nigel Hayes

Hayes only went 4-13 from the field for 11 points, including 1-8 in the first half. It’s become very clear to everyone watching, as I’ve been saying early on in the season, that he’s not going to be effective only trying to score from the outside. Bo Ryan reinforced after the game Tuesday night that he didn’t know about Hayes’ shot release change, but I think it’s more than that. Hayes needs to get inside more and use those beautiful post moves he has. Otherwise, he played solid defense, had 6 rebounds and 7 assists, and still hasn’t turned the ball over this season. Grade: B-

Jordan Hill

In all three games, Hill still hasn’t scored. He’s a fine facilitator for the Badgers in his backup point guard role, but I’d love to see him convert on some big minutes over the weekend in NYC. Grade: C

Charlie Thomas

The freshman will have better days than he did Tuesday night. Missing all of his shots and only going 2-5 from the free throw line, Thomas is now 4-14 from the floor and 5-12 from the line on the season. He does, however, continue to play tough defense and rebound at a very high rate. Grade: C-

Other players: N/A due to minutes

Advanced Statistics: Breakdown

Tuesday night was all about the starters, as Happ and Koenig dominated the advanced stats as well. The top five game scores came from the starters, as well as the team’s best +/- numbers. Happ, Koenig, Showalter, and Illikainen all had true shooting percentages over 65%, which says a lot about their shot efficiency. Despite only playing 32 combined minutes, Brown and Thomas led the team in usage rate, showing that they took a lot of shots (irregardless of if they went in), but rebounded a lot. You have to love Hayes’s 7 assists and 0 turnovers, but his shooting numbers are very subpar.

Wisconsin Badgers Game Scores (+/-) Effective FG % True Shooting % Offensive Rebound % Total Rebound % Assist/Turnover Rate Usage Rate
#10 Nigel Hayes 11.9 25 34.62% 37.26% 5.60% 9.94% (7-0) 21.26%
#22 Ethan Happ 15.3 20 63.64% 66.61% 19.05% 15.77% (2-1) 26.95%
#24 Bronson Koenig 13.6 23 65.38% 65.38% 0.00% 8.54% (4-1) 20.78%
#3 Zak Showalter 8.6 14 50.00% 69.44% 0.00% 10.24% (1-0) 10.68%
#30 Vitto Brown 7.5 19 50.00% 50.00% 12.99% 12.80% (0-1) 28.94%
#15 Charlie Thomas -0.1 -4 0.00% 16.13% 19.05% 16.90% (0-0) 30.36%
#21 Khalil Iverson -0.9 7 33.33% 33.33% 0.00% 5.63% (0-1) 9.79%
#11 Jordan Hill -1.7 -7 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% (0-1) 19.59%
#25 Alex Illikainen 3.5 7 83.33% 64.43% 8.66% 10.24% (0-0) 17.27%
#5 Aaron Moesch 3.7 -9 0.00% 113.64% 47.62% 28.17% (0-0) 21.55%
#35 Riley Dearring -1.7 -9 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% (0-1) 48.97%
#20 T.J. Schlundt 0 -8 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% (0-0) 0.00%
#2 Jordan Smith 0 -8 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% (0-0) 0.00%
Team 48.48% 51.53% (14/6) = 2.33

The Badgers are off to New York City today, as they prepare to play Georgetown on Friday at 4 PM CT.

Photo by David Stluka