Brittney Dolgner hopes to help propel the Badgers to a three game winning streak during the upcoming weekend.[/media-credit]After splitting its weekend road series last week — losing to Purdue and beating Indiana — the Badgers continued something that isn’t exactly a new trend for the 9-8 squad.The win-loss pattern has been plaguing the Badgers all season. The team has not won three games in a row all year, and has only strung together two consecutive victories twice, with the last time coming against two ranked opponents, Michigan State and Michigan.But while the Badgers have been able to compete with strong teams in the conference like the Spartans and Wolverines, their inability to string together multiple wins has hampered their chances to move up the ladder in the Big Ten.Currently sitting at fifth place in the Big Ten, Wisconsin has not been anything short of a challenge for the top teams in the conference. But the team knows while it has been able to compete with strong opponents, playing more consistently could push the Badgers into the mix in a tough conference.“A lot of people have been stepping up at different times, but all of us have never been on at the same time,” senior outside hitter Brittney Dolgner said. “We haven’t had a full force as a team. Once we have everybody stepping up together, I think we’ll be unstoppable.”Aside from the lack of consistency from a team standpoint, also making things difficult for the Badgers is their tough schedule, which sends them to different locations each weekend, often traveling long distances with no day off between games. According to Allison Wack, that, along with the difficulty of playing in a hostile environment, can kill a team’s momentum.“It’s for sure hard to play on the road, especially in the Big Ten,” Wack said. “All these schools have really good fan support. At home you can mess up a play, and they still cheer for you. Regardless of where we are, you have to treat the court like it’s your home court, and come in with the same attitude that we have at the Field House.”According to Dolgner, while gaining momentum on the road is a tough task, she believes the team has the capability to do so. But in situations where the Badgers lose the first leg of a two game weekend series, Dolgner said it is difficult to return to where the team wants to be.“If you play on a Friday-Saturday, it depends how you play. If you play well on Friday, it helps you prepare for Saturday. If you lose, you have to work a lot harder at getting that momentum going. It’s really nice [at home] because the fans help create that energy we need.”Nevertheless, with the team still in the hunt for a finish at or near the top of the Big Ten, UW head coach Pete Waite feels that while the Badgers haven’t been able to formulate any notable winning streaks, it hasn’t been streaky on the negative side either. Just as the Badgers haven’t won more than two games in a row all year, they haven’t lost two in a row either.“Really, a win-loss pattern is better than a loss after a loss,” Waite said. “Some teams will get in a funk where they lose one game after another, and this team has responded well. We take the opportunity to learn from our errors and the team has responded to come back with some really good wins.”Regardless, while the players may not be able to concretely explain the team’s inconsistent play, the statistics do provide some answers. In games where the Badgers hit under .200, they are 2-7 and when they have fewer blocks than their opponent, they are only 3-8 on the year.For Wack, staying consistent has been a challenge, but she admits the Badgers’ success and failures this year can be directly attributed to the team’s performance in each individual game.“It’s not a coincidence; it’s what we’re doing,” she said. “The matches we’ve lost, other teams have played better and we haven’t played as well as our side and gotten sloppy. It’s within ourselves and things we can control. It would be great if we could continue that from match to match, but for now it’s something to work on.”Now, with their next two games at the Field House, the Badgers have yet another chance to win three games in a row after beating Indiana last weekend. But as they have already discovered several times this year, it won’t be the easiest task. According to Dolgner, the home court advantage might be a big enough boost to finally propel the team to a winning streak.“I think you kind of have to create your own energy when you’re on the road,” Dolgner said. “But when you’re in the Field House, it kind of creates the energy for you so you can just focus on playing. It’s always a big advantage to be playing at home.”
The Wisconsin Badgers (4-3) saw their four-game win streak come to a screeching halt this weekend at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, New York as they were upset handily by both the Richmond Spiders (5-1) and the New Mexico Lobos (6-2).The losses were bad ones for Head Coach Greg Gard’s team and were a result of two things: a collective inadequacy from beyond the arc and an apparent lack of improvement from two key upperclassmen.Wisconsin’s legendary former Head Coach Bo Ryan set a high standard for Gard when he retired suddenly in 2015, but it’s still surprising that Gard’s teams have found so little success through nearly four seasons. One thing that Ryan’s teams always did well was shoot the basketball and have upperclassmen in the backcourt that could lead the team, but recent Badger squads have struggled to find similar success.Not all basketball programs are constructed this way, but when you build your team around an efficient inside presence — this year in the form of Nate Reuvers — you need to actually have the “out” aspect of an inside-out attack.Men’s Basketball: Badgers take down Green Bay in second straight in-state matchupThe University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team took care of business for the fourth consecutive game after dropping their season Read…How bad was the shooting and backcourt play during these losses?The Badgers came into the Legends Classic shooting 37% from beyond the arc, a number that would have been bested by the four Badger teams that preceded this one.Wisconsin then proceeded to go 9-for-53 on 3-point attempts between Monday and Tuesday, good for a lowly 17%.Against New Mexico they shot 2-for-26 behind the arc, good for 7.7% and the lowest three-point percentage in a game by a Badger team since 2003.Again, these numbers are bad ones for any team, but they’re especially concerning for a team built around defense, a seven-foot center and outside shooting around him.Men’s Basketball: Previewing remainder of Badgers’ non-conference scheduleWe’ll keep it simple — the prospects for a highly successful Badger basketball team weren’t great before the 2019-20 season. Read…Now to the backcourt.Last year Badger fans saw D’Mitrik Trice average 11.6 points and shoot nearly 40% from beyond the arc, good numbers for a redshirt sophomore stepping into a lead role on the team.So far this season, those numbers have dropped significantly, and are doing so against the Badgers’ weak out-of-conference schedule. Trice is averaging just 8.4 points, shooting 35% from the floor and only 31% from three.Trice finished the Legends Classic with 16 total points, shot 27% from the field and shot a measly 2-for-13 on three-point attempts, all this in an average of 34 minutes a night.One thing seen with nearly every Ryan team was the backcourt leaders improving as they moved through their college careers and playing efficient basketball as upperclassmen. Seven games into Trice’s junior season that has not been the case, and this weekend Brad Davison’s story was no different.Men’s Basketball: Wisconsin dominates I-94 rivalry with Marquette, slows down Markus HowardIn front of an electric Kohl Center, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team beat in-state rivals Marquette 77–61 Sunday. Read…Davison finished the two games with a combined seven points, shot 13% from the floor and shot 10% from three, including a failure to make any baskets against New Mexico.Davison started off the season strong, scoring more than 15 points in four of the Badgers’ first five games. But, along with seemingly everybody on the team, was unable to buy a bucket against far inferior competition.Badger fans should hope that this weekend was an anomaly and that the start of conference play will light a fire under Gard’s team, as the team is scheduled to play the current No. 17, No. 10, No. 5 and No. 3 teams in the nation in the coming weeks.Many analysts see the Big Ten as the best and deepest conference in the country this season. If the Badgers have any chance to succeed in conference play and make the NCAA Tournament, they will need to find a rhythm from beyond the arc, get upperclassmen-like contributions from their backcourt leaders and avoid any more slip-ups against inferior competition.The Badgers are back in action Dec. 4 as they visit the North Carolina State Wolfpack (5-1, 0-1 ACC) for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.