Jess Settles, BTN men's basketball analyst, February 11, 2016

It's time for my latest ?Three Takes,? and this week I?m offering my thoughts on Wisconsin's six game winning streak, the Wolverines' 3-point shooting and Michigan junior guard Derrick Walton Jr.

Get my latest thoughts below.

Remember early in the season when Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig had to play great in order for the Badgers to have any chance of winning?

Those days are now over. Multiple players have stepped up during Wisconsin's six game winning streak and the Badgers now have a true team. In last night's win over Nebraska, four Badgers scored in double figures, and five different players hit 3-pointers. With all of the attention Hayes and Koenig demand, they are now confident enough to pass it to any teammate on the court knowing that something positive will come out of it. Jordan Hill has been the biggest surprise of the Greg Gard era. The sophomore guard continues to knock in open shots and play a major role off of the bench. He has connected on five 3-pointers over the last two games. Ethan Happ is a strong candidate for Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Zak Showalter continues to rise to the occasion, and Alex Illikainen seems to know where to be at opportune times. And how impressive was Vitto Brown last night. He scored a career-high 18 points, connecting on three 3-pointers. Brown has been making sweet music as of late in conference play, averaging 12 points per game over the Badgers' last four games. Fun fact — did you know he is a member of his families' signing group, which goes by the name of, "Shades of Brown." The Badgers have a brutal stretch approaching, but opponents beware, Wisconsin is no longer just a duet, but a well orchestrated choir.


Michigan must live and die by the 3-pointer, and against Indiana and Michigan St. the trifecta buried them.

The Wolverines were 15-51 from downtown in those two blowout home losses. That's under 30 percent for those of you scoring at home. The best cure for Michigan's woes was to play against a Gopher defense that really struggles to guard the perimeter. Michigan responded from beyond the arc with 14 3-pointers in a 82-74 victory at winless Minnesota. Michigan still has flaws defensively, but when they are hitting the three, they are one of the Big Ten's most entertaining teams. Even Duncan Robinson, one of America's best marksman, found his rhythm, connecting on 4-of-7 3-pointers. He was only 2-of-13 the previous three games from beyond the arc. Caris LeVert continues to delay his return, but Michigan may have shot their way out of a slump in time to play spoiler over the next few weeks.


Speaking of Michigan, Derrick Walton Jr. continues to have a huge year for the Wolverines.

His all around game was on full display against the Gophers. He scored a career-high 26 points and nearly finished with a triple-double, handing out seven assists and pulling down eight rebounds. Walton is the best rebounding point in the Big Ten. He has no fear about ripping balls away from bigger players. His toughness is as good as it gets. Just how impressive has Walton been on the glass this season. At only 6-1, Walton averages 6.5 rebounds a game in conference play, pulling down more rebounds per game than Indiana's Thomas Bryant, Maryland's Jake Layman, Michigan State's Deyonta Davis, and Ohio State's Trevor Thompson.