BuckyCap: Badgers Survive an Ohio State Scare
Collapse is a word we love to use in the world of sports. Collapses happen all the time. Some are worthy of being called a collapse while others are more like a bad loss. If the Badgers would have lost to Ohio State, it is a collapse. They had a 23-point lead with seven minutes left then Ohio State started to throw the kitchen sink at them. Buckeyes were able to force overtime, but Wisconsin steadied the tide in the extra period. Badgers win and earn a top four seed at the Big Ten Tournament. That’s important because Wisconsin will now have a double-bye before playing their first game on Friday.
Player of the Game: Khalil Iverson – This guy continues to be a stud for Wisconsin. Iverson finished with a career-high 22 and pulled down 14 rebounds. All of the sudden, Iverson is a key player for Wisconsin. We talked about in the last recap, but it bares repeating that Wisconsin could be lethal if they have a consistent second banana. It doesn’t exactly have to be a guard. But with Iverson and Ethan Happ dominating the lane, shots are going to open on the outside.
Silver Star: Ethan Happ – Iverson’s counterpart had a nice game as well. He nearly notched another triple-double finishing with 16 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. That’s an awesome performance by Happ. The lack of Kaleb Wesson led to Wisconsin exploiting the paint with Happ and Iverson. After a solid Thursday, Happ was under 50 percent from the free throw line missing five throws.
Thing I liked: Defense continues to be fantastic – Save the final minutes of the game, Wisconsin’s defense looks like some of the best in the country. It’s hard to compete with Wisconsin on the defensive end. What makes it tough is they have both strong perimeter and interior defender making it impossible to find a way to exploit them. Had Wisconsin not let Ohio State go on a run, this might have been the second straight opponent that Wisconsin held under 50 points.
Thing I didn’t like: Attack is needed during a scare – Watching this game late, it truly felt like I was watching Marquette. As the collapse started, Wisconsin stood around far too much and didn’t attack the basket. They relied on one player to make a player, and there was way too much hero ball from D’Mitirk Trice (PS – This is easily the most terrifying about a close tournament game). All of these things let Ohio State creep back into this game.
Next up: Wisconsin will await their opponent on Friday. It could either be Maryland, Rutgers or Nebraska. Wisconsin should assume it’s Maryland, and that would be fun. Those two teams have battled it out this season with Wisconsin coming back in College Park, and the Badgers pulling away in Madison. Nebraska is a bit of a potential sleeper as they could somehow sneak into the tournament if they win out and were expected to be in the tournament.