Wisconsin Outlasts Nebraska in Typically Ugly Manner

Posted by CNguon on January 7th, 2013

Patrick Marshall is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Sunday afternoon’s Big Ten clash between Nebraska and Wisconsin in Lincoln.

Earlier this week, Nebraska head coach Tim Miles told reporters that Sunday’s game against Wisconsin in Lincoln was a winnable game. And for 35 minutes, it looked like it was. Wisconsin was seeking its first true road victory of the season, having gone 0-2 so far in those situations. Coming into the game, there were questions as to how many points would be scored between these two teams — for much of the contest, it appeared that the winner would be the first team to score 50 points. A 19-all halftime tie exhibited both teams combining to go 17-of-52 from the field and 3-of-16 from three. Most of the first half was spent with both teams dribbling around, going one-on-one for much of the possession, and missing numerous open shots. Whether it was strong defense or just an off shooting day, all the bricklaying created audible moans and groans from those in attendance. Many of us on press row looked around at each other wondering where the coffee was served.

A rugged contest throughout, Sam Dekker and the Badgers earned their first conference road victory of the season (AP)

A rugged contest throughout, Sam Dekker and the Badgers earned their first conference road victory of the season (AP)

The second half seemed to start with a little more flourish with both teams scoring within the first minute, but things cooled down again afterward. Nebraska surged to a small lead — any lead felt like a 20-point lead in this one — but the teams battled back and forth with the game tied seven times and the lead changing hands nine times the rest of the way. Jared Berggren started to heat up by scoring 10 of his 13 points in the second half. Ryan Evans also came up big down the stretch by finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Wisconsin didn’t do themselves any favors in going 4-of-17 from three-point range and 3-of-13 from the free throw line, but the Badgers were lucky that the game didn’t ultimately come down to free throws at the end. It was a 40-minute grind and Wisconsin thrives in those types of games. Nebraska made a valiant comeback as Brandon Ubel hit a three-pointer with a minute remaining to cut the Badgers’ lead to three, but the Huskers would not score again and Wisconsin escaped Lincoln with a 47-41 road win. The Nebraska front line was thin without Andre Almeida in the rotation and Wisconsin took full advantage with a 28-14 advantage in the paint.

With Wisconsin’s murderous Big Ten schedule ramping up very soon, this was a must-win game in Lincoln. The Badgers have gone to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past 14 seasons, so Bo Ryan’s team could not afford to drop a winnable road game to the likes of Nebraska given that there may not be many other such opportunities for road victories the rest of the way.

Quotable

  • “What were we from the line… 3-of-13. I thought that was a misprint?  I was sure we made at least four.”  – Bo Ryan on his team’s abysmal free throw shooting.
  • “Basketball is like life, it needs to be in balance. We don’t just talk about defense, but we talk about all facets of the game.” – Tim Miles, on whether they focused too much on defense in their preparation.

Views From the Sidelines

  • Nebraska and Wisconsin were each wearing special uniforms for this game. Similar to the football match-up where each squad wore different uniforms created by Adidas, the same thing was done in this game. Nebraska, who usually wears the traditional white uniforms at home, wore red jerseys with red shorts and numbers outlined with white, while the Badgers wore white uniforms with numbers outlined in red. I wasn’t sure how it was going to look from a distance, but the numbers were easy enough to see from my vantage point.
  • One other interesting in-game thing that happened was a game played during a timeout with a fan. The premise was to guess if Larry the Cable Guy (originally a Nebraska native) would be able to name more than three NASCAR drivers in 30 seconds. The fan guessed that LCG could name more than three. The pre-recorded video had LCG talking about everything but naming drivers and, in the end, he named only one. The fan went back to his seat empty-handed.
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