I don’t have to explain to you guys how a Q&A article works, you’re all bright and intelligent people. Today’s Inquisition is with Drew from Bucky’s 5th Quarter, the SB Nation blog that focuses on all things Wisconsin Badgers. If you want to see our answers for Drew’s questions, you can do that right......... here.
Onwards to the questions and the answers. Our questions for Drew are in bold, his answers are in .... not... bold.
1) Be honest: Did Wisconsin fans expect to be 5-1 after six games after losing the production levels that UW got from their seniors last year?
Now that Wisconsin is 6-1, since someone who shall remain nameless took such a long time to respond to these questions, I have to say that it is a bit shocking. While the Maui Invitational field wasn’t as stacked as it has been in some years, there were still a number of teams that, in September, you’d have thought would beat Wisconsin. Combine that with a road B1G/ACC Challenge game and you’ve got a recipe for at least two losses coming into the game against Marquette. Well, uh, none of that happened and Wisconsin has exceeded even the most optimistic fans’ expectations to start the year.
2) On the topic of the seniors leaving even though they could have stayed due to the NCAA’s COVID relief bonus year of eligibility...... What’s the general tenor of the Wisconsin fanbase in regards to Greg Gard as head coach? He’s, uh, had a lot going on off the court in the last few years.
As I’m sure you may have seen, there are rival factions on Twitter of #FireGard and #HireGard that show up whenever there is a losing streak or winning streak by the Badgers, respectively. Winning obviously covers up a lot of issues, so much of the off the court stuff has been pushed to the back burner as the team is mostly new faces and their vibes are incredible.
The other thing is...just about all of the seniors who were a part of the leaked meeting seem to still really like Gard. He was at Micah Potter’s wedding, Aleem Ford came back to Madison to say “hi” and he was giving D’Mitrik Trice tips about continuing his professional career. Were all of these things brought up by the UW social media team and subsequently posted? You betcha. The fact that it is basically a known secret that Wisconsin legend and former assistant coach Alando Tucker was the one who leaked the tape to try and usurp the head coach job from Gard and had also been in players’ ears all season undermining Gard helps too. Tucker is gone and things seem to be much more cohesive.
So, for right now, Gard is liked by most of the fanbase and tolerated by, maybe, the other quarter of it.
3) What were the highlights of your Spotify Wrapped for this year?
The only music I’m allowed to listen to regularly, as the father of two young daughters, is Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and the Cars 3 Soundtrack. While I like the first two artists, I will run Lightning McQueen into a ditch if I ever see him on the road.
4) To a certain extent, Wisconsin is off to this start almost exclusively because of Johnny Davis. In fact, the only loss this year is the game that he missed! Was there anything y’all saw from him last year that gave you an indication that this was possible? What’s the biggest thing that he’s doing for the Badgers so far this season?
Yeah, there were definite hints that a leap this year was possible. Davis played with USA U-19 gold medal winning team over the summer as well and when he came back from that apparently a switch had flipped. What Davis does, that few UW players have been able to do recently, is get his own shot whenever he wants. He is aggressive attacking the rim and has a rapidly improving jump shot that is making him extremely difficult to guard. Davis had a lot of older players to defer to last season, so he didn’t get to display his entire skillset, but he is now and it is beautiful to watch.
5) What was the worst part of this past weekend for Wisconsin football fans: Missing out on the Big Ten title game or losing to Minnesota?
Oh my God. I was at the game in the press box and it was fucking awful. Just a completely lackluster and embarrassing performance that made me angry and I had VOWED not to get angry...and yet. It’s hard to say which is worse, but I think, as a Minnesota resident, losing to the Gophers was worse because now I’ll have to make small talk with every doofus at the grocery store who wants to crack a little joke about my Wisconsin hat. I want to puke. It definitely doesn’t help that Homefield Apparel just announced a surprise new shirt for Iowa and Michigan for making the title game. I need a quick 10. I’ll be back to finish this after some breathing exercises.
6) Historically speaking, Wisconsin’s style of play on the offensive end has been dependent on being patient enough to take the best possible shot. Even if they weren’t an elite shooting team, they were a high quality shooting team that made the most of their opportunities. That, uh, is not the case so far this season no matter what shooting percentage you like to look at the most. What’s the most concerning part of that struggle for y’all, and is this just a cold streak or is it something UW is going to have to battle all year?
I’d wager this is something Wisconsin battles all year, but it slowly gets better. There are a lot of young guys in the rotation and while everyone (except backup big man Chris Vogt) can shoot the three...not everyone should be shooting the three. However, Wisconsin’s defense has been quite good this year and when you look at NET Shot Quality, the Badgers are one of the top teams in the whole country at taking good shots and forcing opponents to take bad ones.
Top 10 teams based on adjusted NET ShotQuality:— ShotQuality (@Shot_Quality) November 30, 2021
Getting the best shots and forcing the worst shots! pic.twitter.com/RJTF7D8l93
Eventually some of Wisconsin’s shots have to start falling...right?
7) Steve Wojciechowski won just 47% of his Big East contests during his Marquette tenure..... but he somehow went 4-3 (57%) against Wisconsin, including beating a top 15 ranked Badgers team with an unranked MU team twice in the last three seasons. Does Marquette having a competent coach now worry UW fans about the future results of this series?
It is hard to explain that Wojo record against the Badgers, huh? Weird, wild stuff. I don’t know how to say this without coming off as dismissive, but I don’t think the coaching change affects Wisconsin’s fans’ views on this series at all. The Badgers already had a losing record against Marquette with a bad coach, so would a better coach worry us more? What I am worried about more is the fact that Shaka Smart is a better recruiter than Wojo, who was getting better as seen with the 2020 class, and that will mean (even more than usual) that the Badgers will have zero chance of getting any players out of the Milwaukee area.
8) What’s been your favorite Marvel Disney+ TV show so far? I’m still partial to WandaVision.
I loved WandaVision but I think Loki was my favorite. I thought those two shows were fun and weird and entertaining and I really just liked them. I watched all of Falcon and Winter Soldier because I’m a little piggie that will eat whatever slop Marvel puts in the trough [Editor’s Note: Same], but it wasn’t my favorite. I haven’t started the new Hawkeye one yet and I just finished What If... the other day (which I also liked just because it was interesting to see familiar characters in unfamiliar situations). Anyways, Tom Hiddleston is extremely charming and I would like to hang out with him some time.
9) Okay, prediction time! Pick a winner for this game, and tell us what the X-Factor is going to be.
I think Wisconsin wins. I think it’ll be close and a little lower scoring than Marquette is used to. The X-Factor will be whether or not the taller Badgers can dominate the glass like they should, given the height advantage, and if Davis can unglue himself from Darryl Morsell enough times to score some points.