Wisconsin Overcomes Big Apple Shooting Struggles to Advance
Wisconsin lives to fight another day. In the first Big Ten Tournament game of the day, the Badgers pulled out a gutsy victory over the Maryland Terrapins, 59-54. Once again, Wisconsin struggled to find their stroke at Madison Square Garden. This was a problem last season when the team played Rutgers here in the middle of the year. Even though Wisconsin did not shoot the ball well, they played stellar defense all afternoon long, and they officially advance to Michigan State. You’re going to need an axe to take down Wisconsin.
Badgers make it count from the stripe
One of the things that you have to like about this team if you’re a Badgers fan is they actually get to the free throw line. Remember, this was a problem for some of the late Bo Ryan teams, and Gard fixed that issue last year about midway through the season. Wisconsin did a great job of not only getting to the line but also making the free throws. They were 20/24 from the field. That’s a pretty strong day for line especially when Ethan Happ can have issues from the charity stripe. This is likely the difference in this game.
Pritzl and Davison make huge jumpers late
This game was an obvious rock fight, but a back-and-forth rock fight at that. The game ended up tied with about 2:49 left to go in the game. Wisconsin never gave up the lead thanks in large part to Brad Davison and Brevin Pritzl both hitting massive jumpers down the stretch. They were about as clutch as you need to be in this situation. Both players have done a great job feeling comfortable in the moment.
Will fatigue be a factor?
Wisconsin goes for another game 24 hours later, and Greg Gard shortened his bench to six players with Nathan Reuvers being the only player who saw the court for more than five minutes that wasn’t a state. You wonder what kind of condition the legs will be in today. My guess is you’ll see them fresh early on, but it will not surprise me if they start to wear down a bit as the game does on.
Wisconsin and Michigan State tip off in five hours. Badgers are a bit of an underdog, but nothing would surprise me. Wisconsin’s body clocks are already geared towards the noon hour. Weird shit has happened with conference tournament games, so, I expect this one to be close.