BuckyCap: Badgers Get Hooked in Michigan Rematch
Wisconsin-Michigan met again in conference play. These two teams are very similar these days. Michigan used to be a run-and-gun Big Ten team that didn’t exactly fit with the rest of the conference. Wolverines added defensive whiz Luke Yaklich to their coaching staff who completely changed the makeup of their team, and they became more of a slow-paced, grind it out offense. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Michigan and Wisconsin play close games with each other. This one stayed close for awhile before Charles Matthews took over late for the Wolverines resulting in Wisconsin’s first loss in seven games.
Player of the Game: Charles Matthews – In game one, Charles Matthews only had five points. In game two, Matthews finished with 18 points and six rebounds including a dagger of a stepback to put the game on ice for Michigan. When the Wolverines are at their best, he is playing at the top of his game. They haven’t had this version of Matthews in a long time. He woke up at the right time for Michigan which was bad news for the Badgers. Matthews made the difference in the second half.
Silver Star: Ethan Happ – Man, you wonder ‘what if’ for Happ. He gets his third foul with 18 minutes left to go in the game. Wisconsin has to take Happ out for a greater part of the second half. If Happ doesn’t get in foul trouble, the result may be different. Happ finished with 18 points, eleven rebounds to notch another double-double on the year. He is the clear Big Ten Player of the year though. I’m not sure how many more games we need as evidence.
Thing I liked: Defense kept them in this game – Once again, Wisconsin’s defense is their best quality of this version of Badgers basketball. They’ve been so good defensively in the past few weeks, and it continued at Michigan with another great effort holding the Wolverines to 61 points. That should be enough to get your offense working and pull out a win. Sadly for the Badgers, their neighbors to the east also played strong defense.
Thing I didn’t Like: Brad Davison finds himself in more controversy – It’s official that Brad Davison is the bad boy of college basketball. Aaron Craft, JJ Redick had a ceremony for him after the game. Davison gets called for a hook on Jon Teske. The hook play is a popular new call for officials. To me, it looks like Davison tried to break away from hooking his arm, but the refs didn’t see that way. Brad is under a microscope and will see how it changes his play for the rest of the year.
Next up: Things do not get easier for the Badgers. They stay in Michigan to play Michigan State on Tuesday night. The Spartans bounced back with a thrashing of Minnesota on Saturday, but they’ve been struggling lately. This could be a vulnerable spot for them. This will be Wisconsin’s third and final game of their three-game road tripe.