Wisconsin was picked ninth in the CBS Sports Big Ten preseason poll -- and the Badgers might actually eventually finish that far down in the standings. As always, we'll see. But there's no denying that they're off to a better-than-expected start to this season — more specifically a 9-2 start thanks to a winning streak that was extended to four games Thursday night when Wisconsin beat Lehigh 78-56 inside the Kohl Center.
Connor Essegian was good again.
He's a 6-foot-4 guard who was only ranked 226th in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports. Regardless, Essegian has been an impactful first-year player. He got 13 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes against Lehigh and is now averaging 10.6 points points per contest while shooting 46.2% from 3-point range.
"He got going, made some shots and gave us some energy," said Wisconsin coach Greg Gard. "Connor moves well without the ball, and he gets in a rhythm. He's a good player."
Wisconsin remains No. 22 in Friday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Badgers are one of five Big Ten schools in the Top 25 And 1 with the others being No. 1 Purdue, No. 10 Indiana, No. 17 Illinois and No. 20 Ohio State. Wisconsin's 9-2 record is highlighted by Quadrant 1 wins over Marquette and Iowa. The Badgers' only losses are a 69-68 loss to Kansas in overtime and a 78-75 loss to Wake Forest. So that's two losses by a combined four points to a couple of power-conference schools, one of which is the reigning national champion.
The Badgers are now entering a lull in the schedule where they'll only play two games in an 18-day span. Next up is a Dec. 23 game with Grambling State that'll be followed by a Dec. 30 game with Western Michigan. After that, Wisconsin will play 18 consecutive Big Ten games. The Badgers are currently 2-0 in the league and tied with Purdue atop the conference standings.
Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Zach Edey finished with 11 points and 17 rebounds in Saturday's 65-62 win at Nebraska. The Boilermakers' next game is Saturday against Davidson.||--||29-6|
|Jayden Gardner finished with 14 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday's 55-50 win over James Madison. The Cavaliers' next game is Saturday against Houston.||--||25-8|
|Donovan Clingan finished with21 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's 114-61 win over Long Island University. The Huskies' next game is Saturday at Butler.||--||31-8|
|Brandon Miller finished with 24 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday's 91-88 win over Memphis. The Crimson Tide's next game is Saturday against Gonzaga.||--||31-6|
|Marcus Sasser finished with 17 points and four rebounds in Tuesday's 74-46 win over North Carolina A&T. The Cougars' next game is Saturday at Virginia.||--||33-4|
|Timmy Allen finished with 15 points and three assists in Monday's 87-81 overtime win over Rice. The Longhorns' next game is Sunday against Stanford.||--||29-9|
|Ricky Council IV finished with 26 points and five assists in Saturday's 88-78 win over Oklahoma. The Razorbacks' next game is Saturday against Bradley.||--||22-14|
|Azuolas Tubelis finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds in Tuesday's 99-61 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Wildcats' next game is Saturday against Tennessee.||--||28-7|
|D.J. Jeffries finished with 15 points and five rebounds in Wednesday's 69-59 win over Jackson State. The Bulldogs' next game is Saturday against Nicholls State.||--||21-13|
|Indiana allowed Arizona to shoot 49.2% from the field in Saturday's 89-75 loss to the Wildcats. The Hoosiers' next game is Saturday at Kansas.||--||23-12|
|Keyonte George finished with 22 points and six assists in Tuesday's 80-57 win over Tarleton State. The Bears' next game is Sunday against Washington State.||--||23-11|
|Drew Timme finished with 26 points and six rebounds in Monday's 88-67 win over Northern Illinois. The Zags' next game is Saturday against Alabama.||--||31-6|
|Zakai Zeigler finished with 12 points and three assists in Sunday's 56-53 win over Maryland. The Vols' next game is Saturday at Arizona.||--||25-11|
|Oscar Tshiebwe finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's 69-59 win over Yale. The Wildcats' next game is Saturday against UCLA.||--||22-12|
|Jalen Wilson finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday's 95-67 win at Missouri. The Jayhawks' next game is Saturday against Indiana.||--||28-8|
|Dariq Whitehead finished with 15 points and two assists in Saturday's 82-55 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Blue Devils' next game is Tuesday at Wake Forest.||--||27-9|
|Illinois allowed Penn State to shoot 50% from the field in Saturday's 74-59 loss to the Nittany Lions. The Illini's next game is Saturday against Alabama A&M.||--||20-13|
|Jaylen Clark finished with 19 points and four steals in Wednesday's 87-60 win at Maryland. The Bruins' next game is Saturday against Kentucky.||--||31-6|
|Kam Jones finished with 25 points and six rebounds in Sunday's 79-64 win at Notre Dame. The Golden Eagles' next game is Friday against Creighton.||--||29-7|
|Zed Key finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's 67-66 win over Rutgers. The Buckeyes' next game is Saturday against North Carolina.||--||16-19|
|Kevin Obanor finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday's 77-70 win over Eastern Washington. The Red Raiders' next game is Saturday against Jackson State.||--||16-16|
|Steven Crowl finished with 15 points and five rebounds in Thursday's 78-56 win over Lehigh. The Badgers' next game is Dec. 23 against Grambling State.||--||20-15|
|Souley Boum finished with 17 points and seven assists in Tuesday's 79-59 win over Southern. The Musketeers' next game is Friday at Georgetown.||--||27-10|
|Emmitt Matthews finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in Saturday's 81-70 win over UAB. The Mountaineers' next game is Sunday against Buffalo.||--||19-15|
|Jordan Miller finished with 25 points and five rebounds in Saturday's 80-73 win over NC State. The Hurricanes' next game is Saturday against St. Francis.||--||29-8|
|Sean Pedulla finished with 16 points and four assists in Sunday's 70-65 win over Oklahoma State. The Hokies' next game is Saturday against Grambling State.||--||19-15|