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Observation/Grades from Wisconsin’s win over Indiana

Recap

Despite it being an ugly, “rip out your eyeballs” type performance, Wisconsin notched its 7th consecutive win, beating the Indiana Hoosiers 65-60. Wisconsin only shot 39.6% from the field and 23% from beyond the arc. The cherry on top was their 13 turnovers, most of which were unforced. However, Wisconsin did just enough on the defensive end to win the game.

With three minutes left in the game and Wisconsin leading by just four, Indiana had the ball and it looked like Wisconsin could be in trouble. But Ethan Happ, like he always does, came up huge. He got a steal and took it back for a slam dunk. The Badgers then iced the game at the free throw line.

Wisconsin was led by Ethan Happ with 20 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and three blocks. Nigel Hayes had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Indiana was led by Josh Newkirk with 22 points.

Observations

-This was the third straight game that Wisconsin won while shooting horrendously. Some might say that it is a good thing, because it shows they can win even when their shots aren’t falling. But none of the three teams the Badgers beat are NCAA Tournament quality teams. If they continue to turn it over so much, or shoot so poorly, it will eventually catch up with them.

-Zak Showalter makes way too many silly mistakes for a 5th-year senior. Showalter tries to gamble for steals too much, which often results in open three-point attempts. He also has committed some dumb fouls. I love his aggressiveness and energy, but he needs to make better decisions.

-Vitto Brown is in the midst of rough shooting slump. He is 3/23 from the field over the last three games, including just 1/15 from beyond the arc. His defense has also been sub-par. Wisconsin is going to need him to pick up his play if they are going to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

-Brevin Pritzl played 12 strong minutes off the bench today. He played great defense and his shot fake and layup in the second half was a huge spark for Wisconsin’s offense. He did everything you could ask out of an under-utilized bench player. I think we are going to see a lot more of him for the remainder of the season.

-One thing that has improved from the Bo Ryan era to the Greg Gard era is baseline inbounds plays. Under Ryan, Wisconsin would just throw it up top to a guard and they would continue to run their offense. Often times, they would struggle to get it inbounded. On the other hand, Gard takes advantage of inbounds plays, often turning such opportunities into easy points, like this lob to Ethan Happ.

-Wisconsin had nine assists and 13 turnovers today. The Badgers had been doing a better job of taking care of the ball, but today was extremely sloppy.

Game Grades

Bronson Koenig (11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers): B-

Zak Showalter (5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal): B-

Nigel Hayes (15 points, 10 rebounds, 4-14 FG, 7-8 FT): B

Vitto Brown (5 points, 2 rebounds, 1-8 FG, 0-5 3FG): F

Ethan Happ: (20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, 2 assists, 8-10 FG): A-

Khalil Iverson: (2 steals, 1 turnovers): C+

D’Mitrik Trice: (3 points, 1-3 FG): B-

Brevin Pritzl: (6 points, 1-1 FG, 4-4 FT): A-

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