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Observations/Grades from Wisconsin’s Thrilling Win at the Barn

Recap

What a game! I need a minute to catch my breath after that one. Wisconsin and Minnesota traded big shots and leads for the entire game, with Minnesota’s four point lead at the 14:52 mark serving as the biggest margin for either side in the second half.

With 22 seconds left and a three point lead, Wisconsin guard Jordan Hill travelled, handing the ball back to Minnesota. Minnesota’s Akeem Springs then drained the game-tying triple, and Bronson Koenig was stripped at the buzzer.

In overtime, Wisconsin and Minnesota again went back-and-forth. The biggest shot of the game came when “Big Shot Bronson” hit a three-pointer with 44 seconds remaining to give the Badgers a 77-76 lead.

On the other end, Ethan Happ recorded a huge block and rebound, and was fouled with 13 seconds left. After he split a pair of free throws, Springs got a decent look at a game-winning three, but this time, couldn’t connect.

Wisconsin was led by their big three of Ethan Happ (28), Nigel Hayes (21), and Bronson Koenig (11). Talented Golden Gopher freshman Amir Coffey had a team-high 19 points.

Observations

-Ethan Happ had a career-high 28 points on 11/19 shooting, 12 rebounds, six assists, five blocks, and one steal. That would be impressive in a video game. Happ did it against one of the best defensive teams in America. There is nothing left to say about his performance today. That stat-line speaks for itself.

– Is there anyone in college basketball you would choose over Bronson Koenig to take a big shot? If you answered yes to this question, you are either lying or very dumb. Just one game after going on his own personal 10-0 run against Michigan in crunch time, Koenig hit two crucial three-pointers to lift Wisconsin to a victory tonight. Anyone that says “clutch” doesn’t exist has never watched Koenig play. He has got ice in his veins.

-I’m still confused as to why Greg Gard didn’t choose to foul up by three points with 15 seconds left and three fouls to give. Minnesota was shooting the lights out from three. There is no way Wisconsin should even have let them get a try at one there. That was a baffling decision.

– I wish Nigel Hayes played like this every game. He is so hard to stop when he either posts up or drives to the basket and draws fouls. Sure, he took a few bad shots today. But for the most part, he looked like the player that was selected as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year.

-The only real negative for Wisconsin today was transition defense. Getting back on defense has been a staple for the Badgers under Bo Ryan, so hopefully they can improve in that area.

-P.J Fleck was in attendance today. Hopefully he was paying attention, because with his new job, he is going to need to get used to Wisconsin beating Minnesota.

-With a couple minutes to go in regulation, Minnesota fans started chanting overrated. I wonder what they think now?

Grades

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