BuckyCap: Close but No Cigar for Wisconsin
Wisconsin Badgers had their second straight big game playing Michigan State on Tuesday night at the Kohl Center. These two teams have a history with the infamous ‘Bo owns Izzo’ tag line as Bo Ryan always seemed to find a way to beat Izzo’s bunch, and Michigan State struggled at the Kohl Center. Before last year, Sparty had lost its last three in Madson. Well, they have a winning streak now as State pulled away to win, 67-59. Wisconsin suffers back-to-back losses for the first time since early January.
Player of the Game: Cassius Winston – If you want to know why Michigan State can win their region in March, look no further than Cassius Winston. He is a great point guard who can be very hard to defend when he’s on. Winston found the stroke again last night. The Spartans guard had a great line with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. He was a terror on the court, and someone Wisconsin could not contain as they’ve done with other guards. Winston made a case in my mind for first-team all Big Ten and possibly an All-American.
Silver Star: Ethan Happ – By the stat line of 20 points and eleven rebounds, you’re like ‘Ethan Happ had a great night.’ But if you dig in further, you’ll see six missed free throw attempts from Happ including a big one when Wisconsin trailed by three points late in the game. Happ is still the best scorer on this team, but he makes things difficult considering the consistent inability to make a free throw. This is the first game in awhile where Happ’s free throw issues popped up.
Thing I liked: Bench play showed up for Wisconsin – Brevin Pritzl and Kobe King combined for 13 points plus one Aleem Ford bucket led to Wisconsin getting 15 points off their bench. That doesn’t happen often, but Badgers got a huge lift from both guys. Pritzl made some highlights in-game with a five-point play. You do not see those every day. If Wisconsin can get this kind of bench scoring, they’re going to be hard to beat.
Thing I didn’t like: Brad Davison can’t force his shot – This will come with age, but Brad Davison is currently wanting to ‘hero ball’ his way out of a in-game slump. Davison went 3-for-12 from the field including 2-for-8 from deep. Badgers need other players to be scorers, but Davison has to know when it’s the right time to bring out his offense.
Next up: Badgers get the weekend off before taking on Illinois at home. Fighting Illini have put together a little winning streak and beat this Michigan State team. Yet, they’ve struggled on the road all season.