It was slow ugly, physical, grind it out basketball; the play style that Bo Ryan's Badger team loves to play in. However, Nebraska also favors the same unattractive brand of hoops. The difference in this game? Wisconsin's defense.
When the dust cleared and the final buzzer sounded Sunday night, the Badgers found themselves 2-0 in Big Ten play after a 47-41 victory in Nebraska. Say what you want, but it was an impressive team victory for Wisconsin. Let's jump right in to the player grades and breakdown.
Ben Brust, G
3 pts, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1-6FG's, 36 min
Given the amount of minutes he saw, you would think Brust would have had a more bulky stat line. While he failed to have much of an offensive contribution, Brust's defense against Dylan Talley was stellar and helped Wisconsin to a victory.
Mike Bruesewitz, F
5 pts, 10 rebounds, 2-7 FT's, 34 min
Mike Bruesewitz may be the most important player on this team. His all out hustle and effort is every thing you want from a basketball player. The Bruiser had countless effort plays like diving on the floor for loose balls and taping out an offensive rebound.
Ryan Evans, F
10 pts, 15 rebounds, 4-8FG's, 2-8FT's, 24 min
Evans has driven me crazy this season with his terrible shot selection and bonehead plays. But tonight, Ryan Evans played exactly how he needs to help UW win games. He grabbed a career high 15 (yes, 15!) rebounds in reduced minutes, including a crucial offense rebound and putback late in the game that sealed the deal. Evans better figure out how to make free throws, and fast.
Traevon Jackson, G
4 pts, 3 assists, 2-5 FGs, 21 min
Jackson is still trying to find his niche as starting PG, but he had a pretty solid game tonight. Jackson had two clutch plays in this game. The first was a strong take to the basket for a lay-in late in the shot clock, the other was a stepback jumper in the closing minutes.
Jared Berggren, F
13 pts, 6-13FG's, 3 blocks, 33 min
Berggren had a slow start to this game, but really picked up his offense in the second half to help Wisconsin to a win. Berggren's size and skill will really help the Badgers in Big Ten play.
George Marshall, G
5 pts, 2-6 FGs, 1 assist, 21 min
Not a great outing for the youngster, but he really helped Wisconsin's offense late in the 1st half with a spark. He had a really nice move under the basket to score followed by a sweet corner three. His defense has improved immensly since the start of the season.
Sam Dekker, F
7 pts, 3 rebounds, 3-6FG's, 22 min
It's safe to say Sam Dekker is the perfect player for Bo Ryan's swing offense. Today he had two absolutely beautiful cuts to the hoop for scores and a huge second half three. I'm still waiting for Dekker to have a dominant offensive performance, but he has looked pretty good so far.
Frank Kaminsky, F
0 pts, 1 rebounds, 1 block, 1 assist, 8min
Kaminsky had a pretty nice block, but other from that, didn't really do anything else note-worthy tonight.
- Defense, defense, defense. Sure, it's Nebraska- who's certainly not the most high flying offensive team- but the Badgers held the Huskers 19 points below their season average of 60. Nebraska didn't even have that bad of an offensive outing either, they were mostly killed by their 8 turnovers commited.
- Bo Ryan really needs to put an emphasis on getting the ball to the post even more frequently then they do now. Wisconsin has two phenomenal post passers in Jared Berggren and Mike Bruesewitz, and it showed tonight. I've noticed that most of Wisconsin's open three pointers come from out of the post, and that really showed tonight, as Dekker, Marshall and Brust all got a few open looks out of passes from the post.
- The Badgers played an absolutely terrible offensive game, shooting 37.5% from the field and 23.5% from three. It's really quite impressive that they came out with this win. Wisconsin could really do some damage in the Big Ten if they can consistently pull out ugly wins like this one and imagine what they could do if they even hit 10% more of their shots, huh? Yikes!