Tuesday Night Hoops. Tonight’s games weren’t all that compelling from the perspective of must-see TV, but we learned a few things. Such as… don’t ever underestimate a Bo Ryan-coached team (that rings a bell…), John Wall is happy as a clam, and Wes Johnson should save the flips for the Winter X Games coverage.
Bo Ryan Can Coach a Little Bit. #16 Wisconsin 67, #5 Michigan State 49. Could there be a better blueprint for the basketball philosophy of Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin Badgers than this game? Clock control, care of the basketball, good shot selection, and tough defense. The Badgers didn’t come with any secret weapons or snazzy new game plans, here. Just the same recipe for success they’ve employed for years, now. In fact, they’re still without Jon Leuer and had to play without Trevon Hughes for a big chunk of the first half because of some early foul trouble. Jason Bohannon (19/4/2) and Jordan Taylor (17/4/4) amped up their games to fill the void, both playing all 40 minutes, and accounting for half of their team’s field goals. The most impressive number you can take from this one is found in the turnovers column; Wisconsin is the BEST in the nation when it comes to taking care of the basketball, averaging only 9.4 turnovers/game coming into this one. The Badgers gave it up only five times on Tuesday night (they’re down to 8.4 a game) while forcing MSU into 13 of their own. Kalin Lucas going down with a pretty ugly sprained ankle in the second half didn’t help on that front, either; more details on that injury after imaging is done on Wednesday. The win moved Wisconsin to within two games of the Spartans in the Big Ten, and both squads have four home and four away games remaining. For additional information, RTC Live was at the game tonight.
Scary Situation Involving Wesley Johnson. #4 Syracuse 85, Providence 68. Coming into the game most fans viewed this as seemingly inconsequential, but the most important moment of the college basketball season may have happened with 11:56 left in the first half in Syracuse this season when uber-transfer Wesley Johnson went up to throw down an alley-oop, but got flipped by Brian McKenzie who was underneath his flight path. For a second everyone watching both in the Carrier Dome and on television had flashbacks to Travis Roy. Fortunately for Johnson, Jim Boeheim, and college basketball fans everywhere Johnson was able to get that extra half of rotation and land on his back rather than his head. He talks about it here. [Ed. Note: This is why we stay on the floor. Or is it our single-digit vertical?] After a rough stretch that saw the Orange struggle to take a 3-point lead into half, Syracuse rebounded behind a strong effort from Kris Joseph (career-high 23 points) and Arinze Onuaku (season-high 20 points) to lead the Orange to their best start (22-1) in school history.
How’d the Rest of the Top Ten Do Tonight?