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Wisconsin Stomps Penn State: Grades/Observations

Recap

Although the first half wasn’t pretty, the final score looked a lot most people expected, a 82-55 Wisconsin victory. The Badgers only led 36-33 at the half, and the Nittany Lions were shooting the lights out. It looked like they might give Wisconsin an upset scare, but the Badgers pulled away pretty quickly to start the second half, and never looked back.

Wisconsin was led by Bronson Koenig, who had 20 points on 4/9 from beyond the arc. Vitto Brown tacked on a season-high 16 points and Ethan Happ finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and three steals.

Observations

-Aside from free throws, which are the obvious achilles heel of this Wisconsin team, transition defense is the biggest thing the Badgers need to tune up before tournament play. It wasn’t as bad as it was last game, but the Nittany Lions still got a few easy looks on fast breaks. Considering transition defense has been a hallmark of the Wisconsin program since Bo Ryan took over, I’m sure Gard will get that cleaned up.

-Vitto Brown had his best game of the season tonight. Not only did he shoot well, but he played with a ton of energy and confidence. He also played better inside the paint than we’ve seen from him at any point in his career. If he can build off this performance, the sky’s the limit for Wisconsin.

-Khalil Iverson had a sloppy turnover and got benched early in the game, but he bounced back from that nicely. I mean literally bounced back. He had this monster slam off an inbounds play lob.

A few plays later, he dove for a loose ball and secured it, leading to a D’Mitrik Trice layup. Then, he drained an open three-pointer. Iverson has been a non-factor over the last few games, so it was promising to see him get back to making plays.

-Wisconsin’s resume and RPI had a nice boost tonight by virtue of… Marquette. Yup, unfortunately, you read that right. It stinks to root for Marquette, but their win over top-ranked Villanova just a few days after winning at Creighton will pay off long term for the Badgers, who won a road game at Marquette earlier this season. Just a few hours later, Tennessee, who Wisconsin beat in Maui, took out Kentucky. All in all, it was a great day for Wisconsin’s NCAA Tournament resume.

Grades

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