Hoopcap: Happ’s Heroics Prevent NYC Disaster
Wisconsin Badgers played a part in the Super Saturday event with Big Ten in NYC. It started with Wisconsin basketball for the morning and hockey in the evening. It seemed like the start would be smooth sailing for Badgers as they played lowly Rutgers, but Scarlet Knights gave them a fight to end. If not for some clutch moments from Ethan Happ and one big shot from Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin would have a resume killer on their schedule, and their NYC trip is spoiled rotten.
Ethan Happ can win you basketball games.
The biggest learning that any Badgers fan can take away from this game is Happ, their talented big man, can win a game by himself. That’s a major development on the season. Happ was a good player to start the year, and now, he’s ascended to a great player. Happ finished with 32 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Happ scored 50 percent of Wisconsin’s points. He’s a nightmare for any team lacking a big man.
Another cold Badgers first half
One of the bigger sore spots for Badgers all season is they seem to get off to a slow start more times than not. Badgers scored only 20 points in the first half, and they only had five made field goals along with going on a 10 minute cold stretch to finish the first period. That’s not good. Wisconsin needs to find some answers early on because when things get real when March rolls on. If Badgers go cold like that in the NCAA Tournament, it could be curtains.
Koenig’s finds a three when it mattered (Again)
One of the worst afternoons you’ll see from Bronson Koenig with missing 13 of his 15 shots, but he found a little magic at the end of the game. Koenig made a three with under a minute left to pull Wisconsin within one and helped Badgers get to overtime. Koenig had such a bad game, and still at the end of the game, he’s one of the most dangerous men at the court.
Important win of the season
We talked about the Happ angle, but Wisconsin is going to slip up at some point this Big Ten season. They’ll be favored for almost every game left on the slate (Maybe Michigan State will be the lone underdog game for Wisconsin). It would be very surprising to see them win out. That being said, a loss to a Michigan State or Northwestern isn’t that bad, but a loss to Rutgers could be the difference between a three or five seed. Wisconsin wants a top three seed with the possibly of staying in-state for the first two rounds at Bradley Center. That’s their second biggest goal next to winning the Big Ten.
Players of the game: Happ (Wisconsin) and Nigel Johnson (Rutgers)
Next up: Wisconsin stays on the road with a matchup versus Illinois tonight. Fightin Illini’s defense has been suspect at best during the Big Ten season. I could see Badgers offense having a big game.