Frank Kaminsky Steps Up in Wisconsin’s Quarterfinal Win Over MichiganPosted by WCarey on March 15th, 2013
Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center following Friday’s matchup between Wisconsin and Michigan. You can follow him at @walkerRcarey.
There was no shortage of heroes in Wisconsin’s 68-59 victory over Michigan in Friday’s Big Ten quarterfinal. No hero was probably as unlikely as Badgers forward Frank Kaminsky. After playing just four minutes and recording no other statistics in the first half, Kaminsky found himself with an increased role in the second half. In 12 minutes of playing time in the second half, the sophomore scored eight important points, grabbed two rebounds, and made a key block.
While it may not seem like Kaminsky’s game was that impressive, all three of his field goals came at opportune times for the Badgers. Kaminsky’s first converted field goal was a three-pointer at the 15:09 mark of the second half that gave Wisconsin a 29-24 lead. This three-pointer was significant because it helped the Badgers increase a lead that it would never relinquish and it forced Michigan to respect Kaminsky’s ability to step outside and hit an open jumper. Kaminsky’s second score did not come until the 2:26 mark when the Wolverines had trimmed Wisconsin’s lead to just two. With the shot clock about to expire, Kaminsky rose up from mid-range and knocked back a jumper that would increased the Badgers’ lead to four. Kaminsky’s final field goal could have been considered Michigan’s “dagger.” With his team clinging to a five-point lead with 56 seconds to play, Kaminsky converted a scooping floater from in-close to increase Wisconsin’s lead to seven and make it a three possession game.
While Kaminsky is not a key player for Wisconsin – he has only played more than 20 minutes in a game once this season – he is definitely a guy who can come in and spell starting forwards Jared Berggren and Mike Bruesewitz and give the Badgers some quality minutes. Wisconsin is lucky to have the luxury of having Kaminsky available off its bench because after suffering a cut to his iris, which resulted in bleeding in the eye after the team’s victory over Indiana on January 15, he missed three games. Had the eye not healed properly, the next step would have taken a lot longer to deal with, if not the end of his season.
Players like Kaminsky are a big part of what makes Wisconsin a consistent contender in the Big Ten — guys who know their roles, play hard, and do the little things that help the team succeed. In Friday’s win over Michigan, Kaminsky’s role increased and he seized the moment to give the Badgers an important performance that contributed to their huge quarterfinal win over Michigan.