Hoopcap: Badgers Bounce Back In A Major Way
Wisconsin Badgers found themselves with their backs against the wall on Senior Day. They’ve lost three straight and needed one win to get themselves right again. Problem was they faced a red-hot Minnesota team who would have loved nothing more than to bury their rival on the road. That didn’t happen. Wisconsin pulled away with a huge second half where they outscored Golden Gophers by 19 points. Badgers got a much-needed win, and we’ll see if this translates to the tournament push.
Wisconsin’s attempt to ride this wave
Many critics will say this is one half of good basketball out of the last eight. Wisconsin looked stronger than they’ve been in the past few weeks. Bronson Koenig led the charge. He dropped three straight threes when Minnesota attempted to inch back into this game. Koenig proved to be key in this one with 17 points and five three-pointers. Badgers need more of this on Friday against either Indiana or Iowa. If they come out and kick ass, we might be looking at the better version of this team.
Zak Showalter deserves more love for his senior year finish
The last three games have been quite the stretch for Zak Showalter. The senior is averaging 12.6 per game and of course, doing all of the little things on the court as well. People might forget about this run since Wisconsin played so poorly in two of the three games, but Showie deserves some credit for being a key cog for this team in the final few games. Don’t count him out as one of the big players in next week’s Big Ten Tournament.
Free throw shooting was still an issue
Even though Wisconsin won this game by 17 points, they did not do much from the free throw line. Badgers went a pitiful 6-for-16 in another rough night from the charity stripe. With the tournament, both Big Ten and NCAA, featuring games that have the chance to be very close, Wisconsin has to find a way to start making from the line. If they don’t , it will probably be the reason Wisconsin is sent packing from either tournament.
Milwaukee is still in play for Wisconsin
If Badgers want to stay in their state, they need to win two games in the Big Ten Tournament for the committee to think about it. Unless of something catastrophic, the committee rarely makes any moves on Sunday afternoon. Wisconsin is the last game if they do make it all the way to end, and the bracket has been decided by then. Badgers playing in Milwaukee would give them an advantage to the Sweet 16, a place they’ve been for the sixth time in their last seven years.
Players of the Game: Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin), Nate Mason (Minnesota)
Next Up: Wisconsin awaits the winner of Indiana/Iowa on Friday night. My guess is they want Iowa. I know they have Indiana’s number, but Hawkeyes are owed revenge from last week.