I feel sorry for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team.
Seriously, I do.
The Badgers have been in an offensive funk and can’t seem to get out of it.
Saturday’s woeful start against No. 5 and Big Ten foe Illinois was another lesson that regardless how much emphasis a team places on defense, it still must put the ball in the bucket at the other end of the court.
The Badgers missed their first 11 of 12 shots from the field, reminding me of some of my old high school days when I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.
On Saturday, Wisconsin converted only 24 of 69 field goal attempts for less than 35 percent, including a paltry 32 percent from 3-point territory on 10 of 31 tries.
On the other hand, the Illini cashed in with 25 of 48 field goal tries for 52 percent, including almost 56 percent from beyond the arc on 5 of 9.
I give the Badgers credit. As always, they never quit and fought back from an early 16-point deficit, trailed, 37-26, at halftime and made it exciting at the end before losing, 74-69.
However, Coach Greg Gard’s senior-dominated lineup is unable to finish, just as it has many times against the nation’s elite teams this season.
While No. 23 Wisconsin (16-9) will certainly drop out of the top 25 national rankings this week, they very well could also finish the season at 16-11 after next week’s conference finales on the road against rugged Big Ten opponents Purdue and Iowa.
Although Wisconsin is a shoo-in to make the NCAA tournament, it will probably be "one-and-done," unless its offense wakes up and is able to play an entire game for a change.