Rushed Reactions: #12 Ole Miss 57, #5 Wisconsin 46Posted by Brian Goodman on March 22nd, 2013
Brian Goodman is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from the Kansas City pod of the West Region.
Three Key Takeaways:
- Henderson Runs Ice Cold Before Contributing In Win: Ole Miss’ enigmatic star had the ultimate half to forget, with a bagel on 11 shot attempts before intermission. He came alive in the second half, hitting buckets, grabbing a few loose balls and icing the game with late free throws. He finished with 19 points on 21 shots, but the bigger takeaway is that it was easy to see the Rebels gain confidence once Henderson got going. While Ole Miss held it together with Henderson missing, the Rebels played a little looser once he got going in the second half.
- Uncharacteristic Afternoon For Wisconsin. The Badgers put on a very unusual performance, committing several mental miscues, hitting just 25.4% of their shots and letting up offensive boards by the bushel in the first half. Ole Miss’s zone especially frustrated Wisconsin, and the miscues allowed the Rebels to stay in the game despite Henderson’s arctic first half shooting.
- Badger Seniors Go Out With A Whimper: Jared Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans had very good careers under Bo Ryan, but vanished Friday afternoon, shooting a combined 5-22 on Ole Miss’ defense. Bruesewitz also committed four costly turnovers and Berggren just never got going offensively. While experience is a vital part of March Madness, the best player on the court for Wisconsin was freshman Sam Dekker.
Star Of The Game: Reginald Buckner: His polarizing teammate outscored him by ten points, but the burly Buckner was terrific inside for the Rebels, scoring nine points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds. Wisconsin had no answer for him as he continually backed down Wisconsin’s interior defense and was perhaps the biggest reason why Ole Miss was able to stay close and ultimately pull ahead. Not to be forgotten is Buckner’s frontcourt complement, Murphy Holloway, who chipped in ten points and nine boards of his own.
Sights and Sounds: The Twilight Zone: The Sprint Center’s opening game featured some bizarre moments, including not one but two air-balled free throw attempts (one of which coincided with a double lane violation), Ryan Evans’ unorthodox free throw jumpers and of course, Henderson’s antics even when the ball wasn’t in his hands.
Quotable: “”It’s not always aesthetically pleasing, but we kind of like it. We embrace the grind.” – Andy Kennedy, taking the rational route in a season that has been anything but.
Wildcard: The win was just Ole Miss’ fourth in the program’s tournament history and its first since 2001. There’s a Brad Stevens comment in there somewhere.
What’s Next: Ole Miss moves on to face the winner of Friday’s showdown between Kansas State and La Salle.