BuckyCap: Badgers Clamp Down Hawkeyes
Wisconsin Badgers defense is one of those things that doesn’t get talked about enough this season. Sure, there are issues with Ethan Happ’s free throws. Yes, Brad Davison is an asshole on the court. Yes, the guard play needs to score in order to help out Happ. All of those things get talked about ad nauseum, but not enough is mentioned when it comes to Wisconsin’s defense. They showed some serious teeth on Thursday night beating Iowa, 65-45 and continuing to hold the fourth spot for the elusive double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament.
Player of the Game: Ethan Happ – Another game, another double-double. I know Badgers fans think he should be Big Ten Player of the Year (Sorry, it’s Cassius Winston). He is an incredible player and an incredible career. He will go down as one of the best Badgers ever. He finished his career at the Kohl Center on a high note scoring 21 points and 14 rebounds. Iowa fouled him a bunch in this game, and the strategy backfired for the most part. Happ made eleven of 18 free throws yesterday for a 61 percent night. If he does that the rest of the season, Wisconsin can go far in the tournament.
Silver Star: Khalil Iverson – I’ve done a bad job highlighting how good Iverson has been in the last few weeks for Wisconsin. He continued his hot streak against Iowa with a double-double finishing with eleven points and eleven rebounds. In four of his last five games, Iverson scored double-digits for this team. Even though him and Happ fuck the spacing up for this team, they’ve become vital cogs to this offense and pose a problem for teams who lack the size inside to compete with them.
Thing I liked: Hack-a-Happ blew up in Iowa’s face – In my basketball opinion, Iowa played a scared game last night. They resorted to fouling the shit out of Happ on a regular basis. It didn’t work. Happ made eleven free throws on 18 tries. Yes, that’s not a great percentage, but as I noted above, that’s better than he’s been all season. This served as a warning shot to the rest of the Big Ten that this is not the way to beat Wisconsin.
Thing I didn’t like: D’Mitrik Trice slump continues – Despite a strong defensive effort and a good game by Happ and Iverson, D’Mitrik Trice continues to hit the skids. In the last three games, he is shooting 6-for-28 from the field. That’s pretty awful. While Wisconsin is getting help from other players, there will be a game where Trice’s shot-making will be needed in a big way.
Next up: Wisconsin wraps up the season on Sunday afternoon at Ohio State, and like Iowa, Wisconsin is catching them at the right time. Kaleb Wesson has been suspended indefinitely and Ohio State is a shell of themselves. They blew out by Purdue last weekend then lost to a putrid Northwestern team. Wisconsin needs to keep their focus and keep their winning streak going heading into the Big Ten tournament.