Rushed Reactions: #22 Wisconsin 68, #3 Indiana 56Posted by WCarey on March 16th, 2013
Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center following Saturday’s matchup between Indiana and Wisconsin. You can follow him at @walkerRcarey.
Three Key Takeaways:
- Indiana is still deserving of a #1 seed. Even with the setback to Wisconsin, the Hoosiers still have one of the best resumes of the country. Indiana was the outright regular season champion of the toughest conference in college basketball. The Hoosiers won road games at Michigan State, Ohio State, and Michigan. It has as much, or more, talent as any team in the country. A record of 27-6 is not usually the record of a #1 seed, but college basketball this season has been anything but the usual. Indiana should still be a #1 seed and it should still absolutely be viewed as a strong contender to get to the Final Four.
- Wisconsin is the definition of a team. The Badgers certainly do not have any guys who can be considered “stars,” but what they do have are eight players who contribute to every game. Point guard Traevon Jackson is a true point guard who is always looking to make his teammates better. Shooting guard Ben Brust is always a threat to catch fire from deep at any time. Forwards Jarred Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz , and Ryan Evans are all seniors who bring the Badgers extremely tough and disciplined play in the post. Freshmen Sam Dekker and George Marshall along with sophomore Frank Kaminsky come off the bench and routinely make an impact for the Badgers. While there are certainly teams in the Big Ten who have a lot more individual talent than the Badgers, there might not be a team who plays together as well as the Badgers. Wisconsin’s ability to play together as a unit makes it a tough team to beat and a team that should never be taken lightly.
- Wisconsin certainly has Indiana’s number. With Saturday afternoon’s victory, Wisconsin has now won 12 consecutive games over Indiana. While a majority of those wins came when Indiana was down, it is still quite the amazing statistic. Indiana is viewed by many as the best team in the country, but Wisconsin has defeated the Hoosiers twice this season in fairly commanding fashion. The Badgers’ physical style of play coupled with their deliberate attack on offense frustrates almost every team they play and it could certainly be one of the reasons for their utter domination over Indiana. This is definitely a streak that should be followed as next season comes around because it will be fascinating to see if Wisconsin will be able to top Indiana yet again.
Star of the Game. Ryan Evans, Wisconsin. The senior forward was all over the place for the Badgers. He finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four blocks. Evans also supplied Wisconsin with very capable defense against Indiana’s Christian Watford who is always capable of an offensive explosion. Jared Berggren (11 points and five rebounds) and Sam Dekker (11 points off the bench) were also considered, but Evans was clearly the best player on the court for the Badgers.
- “If they want to play fast and take bad shots, that is on them.” – Wisconsin forward Ryan Evans defending Wisconsin’s deliberate offensive attack.
- “When he shot it, I knew it was cash.” – Wisconsin forward Mike Bruesewitz talking about the huge three-pointer that forward Jared Berggren made at the 5:45 mark of the second half to give the Badgers a 55-49 lead.
Sights and Sounds. The United Center was a sea of red for this showdown. While there were more Indiana than Wisconsin fans, the Wisconsin faithful certainly made their presence known as the final seconds ticked away in the victory. When Wisconsin beat Indiana on January 15, coaches Tom Crean and Bo Ryan shared a very hurried handshake after the game. After this one, the coaches took the time to stop and chat a bit, thus the handshake probably will not make the national headlines.
What’s Next. Wisconsin advances to the Big Ten championship game where it will play the winner of the Michigan State and Ohio State game. Indiana will next play when the NCAA Tournament commences next week.