How Wisconsin Doesn’t Foul

Linked below is a great article written in 2015 on how Wisconsin avoids fouling. The Badgers team would go all the way to the National Championship Game before losing to Duke. Wisconsin’s foul-phobia has slightly lessened since Greg Gard took over for Bo Ryan – after 3 consecutive top 10 finishes in opponent free throw rate to end Ryan’s tenure, the Badgers have been 108th and 32nd respectively in Gard’s first two seasons. Great stuff in here from Ryan making players defend holding two tennis balls to Dekker summarizing Wisconsin’s “Don’t do dumb stuff philosophy.”

The Badgers make it a point of emphasis from the first practice: Players guarding on the perimeter must refrain from grabbing or excessive hand-checking and focus instead on improving footwork and using their lateral quickness to get in position. On the blocks, the primary goal is to prevent an entry to the post entirely. Failing that, Wisconsin frontcourtplayers are taught to make contact with their chest instead of a forearm or even a leg. Elbows up, arms out. And when a shot goes up, the Badgers prefer to stay planted to the ground. Thus a team with length like the 7-foot Kaminsky, the 6’9” Dekker and 6’10” reserve Duje Dukan averages just 3.4 blocks per game (173rd nationally). Dekker recalled Ryan telling his big men that if they didn’t pick up a block all season, he wouldn’t care. The Badgers coach was willing to take the tradeoff of limiting trips to the free throw line.


For more on Wisconsin:
-Gard leaving his own mark (LINK)
-Ethan Happ: The former “softest player in America” (LINK)

Greg Gard breaking the play down

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