Welcome to “Kulning the Herd,” our weekly recap and preview of everything going on with the Milwaukee Bucks’ G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. What is kulning exactly? It’s an old Scandinavian herding call/song form. Take a listen to a small sample here.
With construction finally complete, the Wisconsin Herd opened up play in their new Oshkosh arena on Friday night.
We love that new arena smell. Tipoff in T-minus 3️⃣ hours. Are you ready?! #MoreDeerToFear pic.twitter.com/32h84xDsZR— Wisconsin Herd (@WisconsinHerd) December 1, 2017
Fans were treated to a fantastic giveaway as the team handed out free shirseys to the first 2,000 people to walk in the doors.
The first 2K fans at tonight's game score a replica jersey tee c/o @BMOHarrisBank!!#MoreDeerToFear pic.twitter.com/AU4id29YHb— Wisconsin Herd (@WisconsinHerd) December 1, 2017
All the arena excitement was not without some roster moves, though. Before Friday night’s game, two-way players, Gary Payton II and Joel Bolomboy, rejoined their Herd teammates and they were accompanied by 2017 Milwaukee Bucks draft picks, D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown. Wilson was making his first appearance with the Herd, whereas Brown was making his second. Neither player was seeing any semblance of rotation time with Milwaukee and the duo getting consistent time in Oshkosh is a welcome sight to both Bucks and Herd fans.
Tuesday, November 28th vs. Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers)
The Herd dropped their final BMO Harris Bradley Center contest, 127-122, to their fellow Central Division stalwart. Cliff Alexander lead the way with a game (and career) high 35 points and a team high eight rebounds. The big man from the University of Kansas just could not stop dunking on the Mad Ants.
Cliff Alexander is a dunking machine for the @WisconsinHerd #NBAGLeague— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 29, 2017
: https://t.co/KVaUewh5Iz pic.twitter.com/gYxv0Xs2kA
James Young was not too far from Alexander’s big night as he collected 29 points on 6/12 shooting from three-point range. Xavier Munford returned to the Herd and picked up from his fantastic opening week, scoring 24 points on 10/17 shooting from the field. The loss cemented the Herd in second place in the Central Division as they are, unfortunately, one and a half games back of Fort Wayne.
Friday, December 1st vs. Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves)
The Herd christened their brand spanking new arena with a 116-109 victory over the Wolves from Des Moines, Iowa. The starting five was comprised of four players who had clocked minutes with the Milwaukee Bucks at some point throughout the NBA season. Leading the way for the Herd was Milwaukee first-round pick, D.J. Wilson, who scored 24 points and connected on three of his five three-point attempts.
FIRST WIN AT HOME! Final score 116-109. #YaHerd #HerdUp pic.twitter.com/njrFRO0tNY— Wisconsin Herd (@WisconsinHerd) December 2, 2017
Gary Payton II and Sterling Brown contributed 15 and 14 points respectively, with Brown coming one rebound shy of a double-double. Cliff Alexander came in off the bench and scored 20 points and snagged six rebounds in only 21 minutes of game time. Unlike most Herd games this season, the scoring was much more balanced as six players scored in double figures.
Four games are on tap for the Herd this week, with three of them being home games. The schedule is not wasting anytime in letting the team get acclimated to Menominee Nation Arena. The games can be heard on 99.1FM in Oshkosh and 95.3FM in the Fox Cities and seen on Facebook Live. So let’s dive into this week’s upcoming Herd action.
Monday, December 4th @ Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons)
Former Wisconsin Badgers great, and brief Herd member, Bronson Koenig will take the court for the Drive. The Drive sit in third place in the Central Division, but I think they come away with the victory in this one. The Bronson Koenig revenge game will doom the Herd in Michigan.
Wednesday, December 6th vs. Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers)
The Herd escaped Delaware with a victory the last time these teams met and I do not foresee the 87ers returning the favor. The Herd will make sure they stay unbeaten in Oshkosh for at least another day.
Friday, December 8th vs. Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Wisconsin welcomes the Blue to Oshkosh and you better believe they will have the Blue leaving the state feeling blue. The Herd keep the good times rolling at Menominee Nation Arena and start their back-to-back with a thunderous win over the Thunder affiliate team.
Saturday, December 9th vs. Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets)
Long Island currently finds themselves knotted up at the top of the Atlantic Division standings, so this will not be a walk in the park for the Herd. The Nets are just as good of a team as the Herd and I think the Herd drop this game in ugly fashion. The first loss in Oshkosh won’t be pretty, but no losses are.
I had the Herd going 2-0 last week and the dang Mad Ants ruined that prediction. This week I have the Herd sitting at 2-2. A revenge game and ending a back-to-back against a quality opponent does not lend itself to an optimistic outlook.
Any predictions of your own? General comments or questions about the Herd, or even the G-League? Share them in the comments below and stop by next week as we recap the games above and look forward to week number four of the Herd’s inaugural season.