Men’s basketball: Wisconsin’s shooting woes met with poor timing as matchup against No. 14 Syracuse looms

first_imgGiven the Wisconsin men’s basketball team’s recent offensive struggles, Wednesday’s matchup against Syracuse couldn’t come at a worse time.No. 14 Syracuse (6-0) is fresh off winning the Battle for Atlantis tournament, which the Badgers (4-3) won last season. UW will be just three days removed from a miserable offensive performance against No. 7 Oklahoma on Sunday, a 65-48 beating on the road. The last time UW scored that few points was in 2013 against Virginia, a game that they won.Tip off at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York is set for 6:15 p.m. CT on ESPN.The Orange’s famous 2-3 zone will force the Badgers to shoot from the outside, and if UW wants any chance of winning, they’ll have to be effective from out there – something it did not do well at all against Oklahoma.On a day UW shot just 16-for-68 from the field (23.5 percent), it was just as poor from three-point range. Wisconsin was 7-for-33 (21 percent) from behind the arc.Junior point guard Bronson Koenig had a particularly tough day, going 3-for-18 from the field and 3-for-14 from downtown. In addition to the struggles on the offensive zone, Koenig said the team’s defense is just as much a problem, but they can move on.“You reflect on some stuff defensively and some bad shots you took,” Koenig said. “Just learn from it. I thought that was a great test for us.”Koenig said the zone will stretch the struggling UW offense and force it to take deep shots. He said the key on offense will be to penetrate the middle and score points down low. And even when the points don’t come from inside, it’ll be important to facilitate through there so the shooters can get space to shoot from the outside.On defense, he said, the Badgers will have to take care of the “little things,” like boxing out, against the Orange.“They’ve got length and athleticism up front. Hopefully we shoot better than we did against Oklahoma.”For UW associate head coach Greg Gard, the problems on offense are numerous. But one simple adjustment can make a big difference, he said.“We just need to take better shots,” Gard said. “If you take high-percentage shots, we’ve shot it well.”Against Syracuse, Gard said, it will be essential to make sure UW is unselfish with a heavy dose of ball fakes and shot fakes to move the zone.Gard said it comes down to certain intangibles like turning down good shots for great shots, making the extra pass, moving better without the ball and spreading the floor better.“I think the type of shot presented to us will get better,” Gard said. “But we’ve taken a lot of tough shots. I think that’s been a big thing. Shots that you wouldn’t advise an offense to take.”And, of course, Gard added, they’ll have to make the shots.The last time Syracuse and Wisconsin faced each other was the Sweet 16 in 2012. The Orange came up on top 64-63 and advanced to the Elite Eight. In that game, UW made 14 three’s. Gard said Monday they should’ve made 15 to win the game.That’s in the past though, Gard said. And speaking of the past, Koenig said Sunday’s loss to Oklahoma served as a wakeup call to this team.“Hopefully, we wake up,” he said.last_img

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