BuckyCap: Badgers Suffer Another Setback
Wisconsin Badgers restarted their Big Ten season on Thursday night at the Kohl Center to play their rival Minnesota Golden Gophers. Badgers looked for a bounce back after losing to Western Kentucky on the road Saturday. THat did not happen. Wisconsin had a woeful first half scoring only 14 points and trailing by 15. While Wisconsin battled back, they were never able to recover as the 22nd ranked Badgers fall tonight, 59-52, in an ugly loss to start the new year. Badgers have some major work to do before they can put themselves in the top tier of the Big Ten.
Player of the Game: Amir Coffey – Minnesota’s guard picked a great time for having a big game. Coffey finished with 21 points and six rebounds. He made seven of his 14 shots tonight with two behind the arc. Wisconsin did not have an answer for him in the first half. He scored 15 of his 21 points in the first 20 minutes to help the Gophers build their lead. Coffey continued to get to the lane as he took advantage of poor Badgers perimeter defense. He carried Minnesota’s offense which wasn’t exactly cooking either.
Silver Star: Dupree McBreyer – I cannot give Wisconsin an accolade because Ethan Happ’s free throw issues were horrible. While Coffey was that dude in the first half, McBreyer was the guy in the second half. He scored 13 of his 14 points in the second. That was a gut punch for Wisconsin considering they did slow down Coffey only to have another player on the Gophers get hot.
Thing I Liked: This was a winnable game after a big deficit – The one thing that Wisconsin should point to in this game is they woke up. It took them way too fucking long, but they found some shots. They attacked the basket and tighten up on defense. While the Badgers are one of the few teams that should never play from behind, they did a good job last night with it.
Thing I Didn’t Like: Free throws were an issue to say the least – Let’s see… Wisconsin missed 10 free throws. All in the second half when Wisconsin tried to come back from being down 15 with the clock stopped in the game. Minnesota intentionally fouled Happ twice down the stretch. Happ finished 1-for-8 from the line, and you’re not including the one missed free throw that didn’t count because of a lane violation. I’m not sure what Wisconsin can do with Happ. He’s completely lost at the line. He’s your best player yet is he playable down the stretch?
Next up: Wisconsin heads to Happy Valley for a Sunday night game against Penn State. If you think this game was ugly, wait until you see Sunday. It’s going to be a bloodbath of bad offenses. Penn State isn’t good, and that game is a MUST for Wisconsin. If they fall to Penn State, we need to have a lot of questions about this Wisconsin team for this season and the future.