Ten takeaways from Wisconsin’s heartbreaking loss to Kansas

Wisconsin gave No. 3 Kansas all they could handle and then a whole lot more, but in the end the fight was less than 0.2 seconds as the Jayhawks escaped with a 69- 68.

Wisconsin fell to 4-1, but even in a loss it looked like one of the most impressive Badger basketball performances in recent memory. Trailing by 15 points in the second half, the Badgers could have packed their bags, but they instead made a number of runs, the latest culminating in a three-point lead with less than 20 seconds left in regulation.

Kansas made just enough key plays to escape, as Bobby Pettiford Jr. made an acrobatic layup with 0.2 seconds left to break Wisconsin hearts.

There were a number of impressive takeaways for Wisconsin in an impressive loss. Here’s what Badger fans can take away from an incredible fight in the Bahamas:

November 23, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers forward Carter Gilmore (14) and Wisconsin Badgers forward Tyler Wahl (5) and Wisconsin Badgers forward Steven Crowl (22) celebrate after the game against the Dayton Flyers at the Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

Where was Wisconsin picked in the Big Ten preseason poll? Down in ninth place. That team defense, Tyler Wahl’s play, the emergence of freshman sniper Connor Essegian? Wisconsin does not finish ninth in the Big Ten.

November 23, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers goaltender Max Klesmit (11) reacts in the second half against the Dayton Flyers at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

One of Wisconsin’s most underrated plays that beat Kansas 43-30 in the second half was the defensive work of Max Klesmit, traded from Wofford. He navigated the screens Jrue Holiday style (okay, I’ll settle) while keeping five-star Gradey Dick just 0-2 from the field and zero points in the second half.

November 24, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers players react after the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

The one area where Wisconsin has found consistent success offensively? Out of time. The Badgers ended up generating a number of paint dabs for Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl on their post-expiration sets. If you could nitpick anything about this second half, it might not be by using a timeout on the end game of regulation.

November 23, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers guard Connor Essegian (3) shoots during the second half against the Dayton Flyers at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

He’s an angry cutter, a smart spacer, a ranged sniper and he fought as best he could on the defensive end. Essegian was a revelation for a Wisconsin team looking for offensive answers. The freshman finished with 17 points off the bench on 6-12 shooting while knocking down a line of threes.

November 24, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers forward Steven Crowl (22) and Kansas Jayhawks forward Zach Clemence (21) go for the ball during the first half at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

Part of that was a game, and part of it was Wahl’s brilliance, but when the ball found the paint for post touches in the swing attack, Wisconsin found success. Kansas was undersized and Wisconsin was able to play through Wahl in the post all morning.

November 24, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Kansas Jayhawks forward Jalen Wilson (10) reacts after winning over the Wisconsin Badgers in overtime at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

The difference on Thursday morning? Wisconsin was passed by 15 rebounds and the Jayhawks used second-chance runs late in regulation and for the dagger to earn a win.

No bounces, no rings.

November 23, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers forward Carter Gilmore (14) and Wisconsin Badgers forward Tyler Wahl (5) and Wisconsin Badgers forward Steven Crowl (22) celebrate after the game against the Dayton Flyers at the Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

The most impressive part of Tyler Wahl’s team’s 23 points? Versatility and speed of stitch execution. Whether it’s as a ball handler in the pick-and-roll to give Wisconsin the late-regulation advantage, an offensive rebound, or a classic slow-developing ten-dribble post-up we’ve only got at renaming “Tyler Wahling” the senior Badger was at his best.

November 23, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard reacts during the first half against the Dayton Flyers at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

After questions about why Essegian didn’t close out the game on Wednesday, Gard stayed with his freshman guard Thursday morning. Gard has been brilliant outside of timeouts, generating luck for Wisconsin on multiple occasions.

November 24, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers guard Chucky Hepburn (23) dribbles as Kansas Jayhawks guard Dajuan Harris Jr. (3) defends during the first half at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

Diagnosing why Hepburn got off to a slow start is like trying to do too much. Without Johnny Davis, the second probably felt the offensive pressure to start the year and he tried to hit home runs when singles are all that’s needed.

November 24, 2022; paradise island, BAHAMAS; Wisconsin Badgers players react after the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

This defense is just too good to be kept out of the NCAA Tournament. Expect some nasty Dayton-type wins for Wisconsin along the way, but also expect the Badgers to be on the field when the dust settles.

The article is in French

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