Overall, we were not able to get a great look at what the Badgers are capable of doing this year given how little Bemidji State was able to test the Badgers on both offense and defense, but UW certainly has some bench players ready to contribute.
Hard to argue with 90 points and the way Badgers were able to score virtually at will. However, the Badgers did have some sloppy moments in the second half leading to 13 turnovers for the game and also struggled at times from both the three point line and free throw line.
Trevon Hughes was able to get into the paint whenever he pleased and was content to dish it off to open teammates. Jason Bohannon looked confident in his shot and did not hesitate to shoot when left open early in the shot clock. Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil looked comfortable both inside and outside. Rob Wilson attacked the basket well and appeared to have increased confidence on the offensive end. Jared Berggren displayed nimble footwork but had trouble finishing around the basket. Ryan Evans looked athletic and was able to finish well in transition.
Overall, it was hard to evaluate how the Badgers played offensively given how weak the Bemidji State defense was. However, the increased number of fast-break opportunities for the Badgers stood out as an area of interest and one fans should keep a close eye on as the season unfolds. The Badgers appeared to be more aggressive on the offensive end than they were last year and looked for scoring opportunities earlier in the shot clock. Both of these new wrinkles will be imperative for this year's team as the Badgers attempt to avoid some of the droughts the offense went through last year.
Once again, it is hard to gauge exactly how good the Badgers are defensively given how little talent Bemidji State possessed. The Badgers were able to stay in front of the Bemidji State guards and were able to overwhelm the Bemidji State big men down low. Bemidji State did get a few too many open looks from downtown but that was essentially the only possible area of improvement that I saw on the defensive side of the ball.
Overall, the Badgers rebounded extremely well and forced 19 turnovers for the game. We will not have a true idea of how good the Badgers are defensively until the Badgers face a team with a plethora of athletic guards and the Badgers are forced to prevent a three-guard set from getting consistent dribble penetration. In the past, Bo Ryan's pack-it-in defense has prevented quick guards from getting into the paint; however, this year the Badgers will be tested more than ever as the Big Ten has a plethora of strong scoring guards.
Bo Ryan really had his team ready to play tonight and was prepared for anything that Bemidji State might throw at him. While this may be a bit of sarcasm, it is hard to gauge how Ryan handled the sidelines given how overmatched Bemidji State looked. That being said, Coach Ryan did have his team playing at a faster tempo and looking to be more aggressive early in the shot clock. This was a change of pace from last year when the Badgers routinely let the shot clock wind down below ten seconds before looking to shoot. The increased tempo was a point of emphasis throughout the off-season as the Badgers practiced with a twenty five second shot clock throughout the summer.
In general, not much can be gleaned from this game regarding Ryan's coaching and we will most likely have to wait until the Maui Invitational before we have a true sense of how he handles opponents.
What's Next: UW-Superior next Wednesday, November 11th at the Kohl Center. Start time is 7pm and the game is the final exhibition game for the Badgers.
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