Hoopcap: Iowa Stuns Wisconsin After Late-Game Meltdown
With two minutes left, it appears Wisconsin basketball could get out of the doldrums of losing two straight and losing four of their last five games. They held a five point lead heading into the final part of the game. That’s when everything went to hell for Wisconsin. Iowa debuted a press that threw Wisconsin off causing multiple turnovers, and two missed free throws late by Ethan Happ opened the door for Jordan Bohannon to hit a game-winning three to shock Wisconsin, 59-57. Simply put, Badgers are in the worst spots of any NCAA Tournament team heading into March.
No, they’re not the bubble
Let’s stop with Wisconsin bubble talk right now. Wisconsin might be playing bad basketball, but they’re not on the bubble at all. Badgers are in the tournament. Even if they lose out, they’re in the tournament. The seed might be dangerously high for Badgers standards, but still, they have a solid RPI and strong resume. To me, they’ve sealed their fate on not playing in Milwaukee barring a run in the Big Ten Tournament. I can’t see how you could possibly put a six, seven or eight seed there and not have it be unfair to the other team.
Nigel Hayes puzzling jump
Biggest play of the night was obviously Bohannon’s three which came on a reload after a Peter Jok missed jumper. Nigel Hayes heads to the rim like he’s going to dunk the basketball. I have no idea what Hayes is thinking at that very moment. Maybe a tip out to a Badger guard? I mean nothing really makes sense when you watch the video above. This has not been the senior season Hayes wanted with some up and down play plus a few mental errors. He can still make things right in the final couple of weeks.
Free throws woes continue for Wisconsin
This is very easy. If Wisconsin doesn’t make free throws at a higher clip, they’re not going to win many games for the rest of the season. Greg Gard might need to go the Pedro Cerrano route and sacrifice a chicken in the locker room. It’s real bad right now. Badgers missed nine free throws out of 14 attempts. Happ’s two at the end were by far the biggest. If he had made both, it’s an overtime game for Wisconsin versus an outright loss to Iowa.
Badgers fans need to chill on Greg Gard
Internet and message boards are ready to move on from Greg Gard. There’s some talk about bringing Bo Ryan back, and I’m not there yet as a causal observer. Couple things here – one, these are not Gard’s guys. Sure, he was a head recruiter, but Ryan made the final decision. Second, he needs a few years before we can really see his vision for what we wants Wisconsin to look like as a team. Badger fans are dealing with their first kind of adversity in years, and that’s a tough thing for fans, therefore, the irrational takes towards Gard don’t surprise me.
Player of the game: Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin) Jordan Bohannon (Iowa)
Next up: Wisconsin gets red-hot Minnesota to finish the season at home on Sunday night. This will be Senior Night where they honor Hayes, Koenig and Zak Showalter. My gut tells me with a night honoring those three who have been very valuable to this program there’s too much pride to lose that game. Sure, Golden Gophers have been hot, but Wisconsin needs to show up. If they don’t, it’s a whole other discussion about this season.