The Wisconsin Badgers dropped their second consecutive game, losing on the road against the Michigan Wolverines, 64-58. Freshman point guard D’Mitrik Trice started in place of injured star Bronson Koenig.
The game was close throughout, and the Badgers led 31-30 at the half. Michigan and Wisconsin traded leads until Michigan went on a 9-0 run to take a 54-47 lead at the 7:21 mark. They never gave the lead back, holding off the Badgers until the finish line.
Wisconsin’s lone bright spot on offense was sophomore standout Ethan Happ, who had 22 points on 10/13 from the floor, six rebounds, six assists, two steals, and a block. Khalil Iverson added ten points off the bench. D’Mitrik Trice struggled in his first career start, going 2/15 from the field. Michigan’s Mo Wagner had 21 points and Zak Irvin had 18.
-What happened to Nigel Hayes? Even when he struggled with his shot last season, he never stopped being aggressive. He drew a ton of fouls and at least tried to make plays. In many game this season, including today, he was a non-factor. Especially with Koenig out, you would have thought he would try to step up.
-It wasn’t a pretty first start, but D’Mitrik Trice is going to be a good point guard for the Badgers. He made some bad decisions and shot poorly, but we’ve seen enough from him to know the future is very bright.
-So you know how the media was making a big deal of the fact that Duke’s losses without Coach K counts for less in the eyes of the Selection Committee? That should apply to Wisconsin playing without Koenig tonight, right? I don’t agree with the rule, but if they are using it to grade Duke, they have to for Wisconsin too.
A big thing to remember about Duke? The selection committee will determine its NCAA Tournament seed based on what it shows under Coach K.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 31, 2017
-This loss was big for two reasons. First of all, it drops Wisconsin to a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten standings with Purdue and Maryland. Since Purdue won their only meeting against both teams, they control the tie breaker. So Wisconsin needs another loss from the Boilermakers to win the Big Ten outright.
-Second of all, Wisconsin likely needs a top-four seed in order to play their first and second round NCAA Tournament games in Milwaukee. With that loss, they may need to win out to achieve that goal.
-In the first half when Michigan didn’t double Happ, he scored 18 points on 8/9 shooting. In the second half, Happ only had four points. Happ did a much better job getting the ball to the open guy today, but it would still be shocking if a single team Wisconsin plays for the rest of the season doesn’t double team Happ.
-When Vitto Brown isn’t shooting three-pointers well, what is he good for? Sorry if that is harsh, but it’s an honest question. He doesn’t rebound or defend very well for his position, he offers nothing inside, he is careless with the ball, takes bad shots, and doesn’t rotate the ball quickly enough.