Game Day Grades - UIC

With a 10-2 record and key wins over key resume wins over No.6 Duke, No.21 Maryland and Marquette, the Badgers seem like part of the NCAA Tournament field come March. UW closes out the non-conference slate with a solid 79-43 victory Sunday, prompting Badger Nation's Michael Langlois to hand out some solid marks.

MADISON - The Wisconsin Badgers were able to limit UIC to only 43 points and win every major category from bench points to rebounds to points in the paint. With a 79-43 victory in the books, the Badgers now turn their focus to the Big Ten schedule, which has UW on the road for four of its first six games.

Offense: B

Given how limited UIC was in nearly every aspect of the game, Wisconsin was able to use strong perimeter shooting to cover up for a few issues on the offensive end. That being said, the Badgers did not play poorly on offensive but will have to improve their execution once Big Ten play starts in a couple of areas, specifically careless turnovers and an occasional inability to hit open perimeter jump shots.

Wisconsin must continue to shoot the ball well from the perimeter in order to keep defenses from doubling down on the potent inside duo of Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil. The Badgers do not have a plethora of consistent playmakers on the perimeter outside of Trevon Hughes and thus will need to rely on frequent post touches and scores inside during Big Ten play. Additionally, a strong post presence and consistent post touches will open things up for Jason Bohannon, who is at his best when catching and shooting, rather than shooting off the dribble.

Defense: A-

The defense looked great but then again, UIC also looked really bad. It is hard to say that Wisconsin did not play great team defense but UIC simply looked awful shooting the ball. The Badgers had 40 rebounds (13 offensive) and held the Flames to 36 percent shooting for the game. Wisconsin will need to continue to limit opponent's second chances and play solid team defense during conference play. The Badgers do not have one player who can continually lock-up a good scorer on the perimeter.

Trevon Hughes certainly has the foot speed and hands to handle the collection of solid point guards in the Big Ten; however, he does not have the size to match up against some of the top wings within the conference. Thus, the Badgers must continue to play solid help defense and crash the glass as a unit. Wisconsin has done a great job of collectively rebounding so far this year as evidence by Hughes being the second-leading rebounder on the team and such effort will be necessary going forward into conference play.

Coaching: A

Bo Ryan had his team prepared for their last non-conference game and made sure to keep the intensity up despite the inferior opponent. Ryan and the Badgers will need continued execution and precision on both offense and defense as the Badgers open up Big Ten play this Thursday against Ohio State. It will be interesting to see how Ryan matches up with certain opponents during conference play, specifically teams with an abundance of athletes on the wing and in the backcourt. Ryan has always seemed to do a masterful job of matching up with supposedly superior opponents and his feel for match-ups will continue to prove vital given the overall strength and versatility of the Big Ten this year.

Game MVP: Co-MVP's Jason Bohannon and Jon Leuer. Bohannon and Leuer did a great job providing a balanced attack from both the inside and the outside. Bohannon was able to score fifteen points on 5-of-8 shooting and knock down 5-of-6 three-point attempts. Meanwhile, Leuer was once again a strong presence inside and used his speed, height and athleticism to easily shoot over the top of UIC defenders. Leuer has become nearly unstoppable in the mid-range and has been able to consistently make turn-around shots from the intermediate post. He is one of the few big men that I have seen who does not overpower people down on the block with drop steps but also does not spend a lot of time in the high post. Rather, Leuer has perfected the intermediate area between the block and the high post, utilizing superior agility and foot speed to create separation from his defender and knock down mid to short range shots.


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