Badgers men's basketball: Hot-shooting Minnesota sends UW to third straight defeat

2014-01-23T09:15:00Z Badgers men's basketball: Hot-shooting Minnesota sends UW to third straight defeatJIM POLZIN | Wisconsin State Journal | jpolzin@madison.com | 608-252-6473 madison.com

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team and its struggling defense appeared to catch a major break Wednesday night when Minnesota lost its leading scorer to an injury 16 seconds into the game.

It didn’t matter. The Badgers still couldn’t stop the Golden Gophers from scoring.

Junior guard DeAndre Mathieu and junior forward Maurice Walker scored 18 points apiece, and Minnesota never trailed en route to an 81-68 victory over No. 9 UW in a Big Ten Conference game at Williams Arena.

The Gophers shot 58.9 percent from the field and made all 11 of their free throw attempts to hand the Badgers, who were riding a 16-game winning streak just nine days ago, their third consecutive defeat.

UW’s defense struggled in losses to Indiana and Michigan last week, and it somehow got worse against Minnesota.

“We have to buckle down now,” said UW sophomore forward Sam Dekker, who finished with a game-high 20 points. “There’s not much else you can say, except that we have to be better in every aspect of the defensive end. Usually we take pride in it, and this is embarrassing the way we’re playing.”

Later, Dekker used another adjective to describe UW’s play on defense.

“We played miserable,” he said.

UW (16-3, 3-3 Big Ten) allowed a season-high 1.42 points per possession, including 1.74 in the second half. The Badgers allowed 48 points in the paint eight days after giving up 52 against Indiana.

“We gave up way too many easy ones,” UW junior guard Josh Gasser said.

The most demoralizing part for UW is the Gophers’ offense didn’t miss a beat without junior guard Andre Hollins, who injured his left ankle after making a jumper on the opening possession of the game and didn’t return.

Hollins was averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game this season and had averaged 19.8 points in four previous games against UW, but Minnesota didn’t seem to miss his production one bit.

Mathieu, Walker, senior Malik Smith (14 points) and senior guard Austin Hollins (11) picked up the slack to help first-year coach Richard Pitino win his debut against the Badgers, who were 16-5 against Minnesota under UW coach Bo Ryan coming into the game.

“They have a lot of good players,” Ryan said. “They can go other places.”

The 6-foot-10 Walker, who shed 65 pounds in the offseason and is now listed at 250, gave the Gophers (15-5, 4-3) an unexpected lift in the first half, scoring 14 points to help Minesota build a 34-28 halftime lead.

Walker had 12 points by the midway point of the first half, surpassing his previous career high of 11.

Ryan was searching for answers in the post after junior center Frank Kaminsky picked up two fouls in the opening 2:32 of the game. Freshman Nigel Hayes, junior Zach Bohannon and freshman Vitto Brown were all given a chance to stop Walker, but none of the three could do it.

“We have not had the post presence defensively,” Ryan said. “Some of it is due to maybe lack of foot speed, lack of recognition. The idea is, you can’t give up one thing and then turn around and shut that off and then give up something else.

“It’s got to be the complete possession. And that’s what we haven’t been doing.”

In the second half, Mathieu, Smith and Austin Hollins combined for 34 points, with much of that damage the result of dribble penetration.

It was like the Indiana game all over again for UW.

The Badgers shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and made 16 of their 17 free throws, but they couldn’t make up any ground on the Gophers.

Perhaps the most stunning stat from the game is UW only forced six stops on its 27 defensive possessions in the second half.

“It’s frustrating, because you’re working hard, Sam was attacking the rim pretty good at the end there,” Gasser said. “We’re scoring fine, but when you don’t get stops, it really means nothing.”

That’s been a common theme the past three games. Three consecutive Big Ten opponents have shot better than 50 percent against UW, only the second time that’s happened in the Ryan era.

It’s no wonder Gasser has run out of things to say about the Badgers’ porous defense.

“I’m kind of sick of talking about it,” Gasser said. “We’ve just got to (fix) it.”

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(41) Comments

  1. Air Tom
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    Air Tom - January 24, 2014 9:39 am
    We all knew we would struggle in the paint this year. Losing 3 starters up front will do that to any team. Lets give Frank and Hayes some adjustment time (to real talent) b4 we give up on this team. This team is far more talented than any of Bo's recent teams. My opinion is this defense gets a whole lot better when we learn the big man has to come up higher to challenge the pick and roll.
  2. RedPine
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    RedPine - January 24, 2014 7:19 am
    I was watching Indiana again, the second half of MI again and the MN game in slow mo. In those three games both Hayes and Koenig went from looking like they had no clue on a switch to covering (about half or more, really). Just to fit in with everyone else, with a negative comment that is, Dukan played hard but still manages to loose his man even when there's no screen. Bo will never play zone; no use even talking about it.
  3. Crow Barr
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    Crow Barr - January 23, 2014 7:41 pm
    Saw a high school tourney game in Williams Arena in the early 60's and was in the Kohl center in the late 90's for the kids graduation. His Badger tickets to the Ohio St game next week are not as hot as if both had come into that game without losses.

    Big ten basketball is brutal, I cheer for them all in the big dance, except maybe Indiana. (Don't really warm up to Penn St or Nebraska either)
  4. w8rh3wk5
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    w8rh3wk5 - January 23, 2014 3:48 pm

    Saint Louis is a very good team. Virginia is on the verge of being ranked. Marquette is okay. UW Green Bay is an NCAA tourney caliber team. Iowa is a top program.

    UW is struggling now. Thats obvious. But also whats obvious, regular season NCAA bball is almost meaningless. Win ur gamea at home, beat the vastly inferior teams on the road, and UW will be a top 4 seed. If that happens, then they just have to get "hot" for two weekends in March to make it to a Final Four. And unlike in years past, this team is capable of that.

    Jackson, Gasser, Brust, and Koenig have skill. Gasser and Brust are solid 3 pt shooters. Koenig is improving and his play making ability could be special. Jackson is a physical PG.

    Dekker at the wing is an NBA caliber talent. He can score almost at will.

    Hayes and Kaminsky will be responsible down low. Both can pulk a defender out and hit a 15 footer with regularity.

    With that said, there are unnerving things about this team. Lack of communication on defense. Lack of size down low could hurt. Weakness against the smaller quicker PGs. Bos poor coaching performances in tourneys, etc.

    But something feels special about this team. Maybe Im delusional but something feels different about this team when talking about the potential of a deep NCAA tourney run ( which is all that matters by the way ).
  5. reader62
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    reader62 - January 23, 2014 3:31 pm
    Gopher fan--UWs RPI was #1 before the Indiana game, which means they played strong opposition and beat them.
  6. badgerfan1
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    badgerfan1 - January 23, 2014 3:30 pm
    Why do you think they are talented--because you read the paers and listen toi the local media. Watch the games--Indiana, Mich., and Minn. do not feel they are talented. The guards are all slow of foot. the poiny guard does not handle the ball well, the frontline players are either too small (short) or not strong or both. Their 16-0 start was obviously an aberation. They played a Florida team lacking three players including their starting point guard and a fourth player who was not yet elgible. St. Johns, West Virginia, and Marquette are simply not good teams. St. Louis and UW GB are good teams but teams a Big 10 school should beat. Then Northwestern. and Ill are bad teams and they beat Iowa only after the Iowa coach went nuts and had 2 technicals. So the big record resulted from a number of circumstances and was very misleading. Teams with quality athletes at guard and forward now see they can take these guys off the dribble at will and that they do not cover ball screens. In truth they will do well to finish 9-9 in the conference and in 5th or 6th place. Further on offense they have lost their aggresiveness to only make matters worse.
  7. reader62
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    reader62 - January 23, 2014 3:27 pm
    Sitting Kaminsky for the rest of the 1st half after two fouls is also evidence of stubbornness, or lack of imagination anyway. What was he saving him for? We were getting shredded in the lane and killed on the boards.
    Kaminsky ended up played only 15 (productive) minutes and did not commit another foul. A third foul in the first half is worth it if you can get 5-6 more minutes out of a player. Ryan easily could have used the three remaining fouls to buy another ten minutes. You bench a player in "foul trouble" because you want to have him later in the game but if you bench him for too long you create the very situation you are trying to avoid.
  8. w8rh3wk5
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    w8rh3wk5 - January 23, 2014 2:30 pm
    If u wanna look at Bo Ryans tourney record and be critical of that; have at it. He has coached teams that have underperformes repeatedly. Only one win against a team seed higher than them. No wins against teams seeded 1-4. Being eliminated 5 of last 7 yrs against teams seeded 4 or more seeds lower. etc.

    But with that said. This team could be special. This team is different. Solid guard play. Athletic wing players. Anyone can score. Have playmakers who can get a basket regardless of defense. Can attack the basket.

    I like this teams chances of getting hot in March. Offense is so important in March. Far too many times did UW have 5+ minute scoring droughts. Not this year. Not this NCAA tourney.

    This adversity could be valuable later on. Get knocked down. Have some calls go against you. Play a game with your C level stuff. Have shots not fall down. Have important end of game situations. This will help later on
  9. matt90210
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    matt90210 - January 23, 2014 1:43 pm
    Last year the big 10 was great. This year not so much with regards to great teams, just parity.

    Can anyone see someone winning it all besides Michigan State from the Big 10?
  10. matt90210
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    matt90210 - January 23, 2014 1:38 pm
    Louisville seems to reach final fours with similar talent (meaning none are great NBA players).

    Many of us were hoping that this would be the year to break through and reach the final four.
  11. 1blueheron
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    1blueheron - January 23, 2014 1:11 pm
    Cold spell - like the weather. May you all be playing again to "a hot time in the old town tonight" once it breaks!
  12. MnMike
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    MnMike - January 23, 2014 12:17 pm
    I think you're wrong about Michigan, although I didn't see their relatively easy win over Iowa coming, but then it was at home. I see Izzo & MSU being the favorite, with Minnesota, Iowa, & Wiscosin near the top. OSU & Michigan are longer shots, but may be there too. They will likely all make the tourney and then anything can happen. As always, gotta win 'em at home and get what you can on the road. It gonna be fun.
  13. Weirdwise
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    Weirdwise - January 23, 2014 12:07 pm
    I respect this team and these kids. They can and will beat any team that doesn't show up ready to play 40 minutes. Bo's teams thrive when others take them for granted.

    Now, how many guys on the current roster were top 100 recruits coming out of HS? Two. Decker at 17 in 2012 and Hayes at 83 in 2013. You need to go back to 2007 for more - Nankivil and Leuer near the bottom of that class.

    Who were the last two Badgers to be NBA all-stars? Devin Harris recruited by Dick Bennett and Brad Soderberg, and Michael Finley recruited by Stu Jackson. How many of Bo's guys have had solid NBA careers? Zip.

    Still a great program. A great product year in and year out. We are very fortunate compared to so many other schools.
  14. MnMike
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    MnMike - January 23, 2014 11:59 am
    I couldn't agree with you more. But remember, the game, and your team are dynamic, not static. The fun is watching these young men grow and get better as the season progresses! Don't sell them short, teams with more talent often lose to teams with more effort -especially in college basketball! What a great sport!
  15. MnMike
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    MnMike - January 23, 2014 11:49 am
    Wow, quite a bit of silliness here and not much about B10 basketball. Can't we just all agree it's the Hawkeyes we hate? LOL. Stow the crap - I've been a Gopher basketball fan & a B10 fan since attending MN in the 1960s & have seen a lot of great & not so great basketball. Is Wisconsin ball in the toilet? Are the Gophs a more talented team? Are Indiana or Michigan better team or have more talent... I seriously doubt it. How do you win 16 games if you're not damn good?! Here's the real scoop - PARITY! Any B10 team can beat any other B10 team on a given day. It isn't always like that, but it is this season!! Did you see Michigan leading the conference 6 games into it? I sure the hell didn't. It's about bringing your game, your best effort EVERY game. And then, with all the talent, & the superior coaching this conference has, it helps to get a few good calls. Finally, nothing beats a little bit of luck. And as in life, the harder you work, the luckier you get. As a Gopher fan, I hope the Badgers do super, except when we see you again next month. Personally I take pride in the way all of the B10 teams are playing... we're the number 1 conference in the nation, no doubt about it. Maybe it's another 7 teams in the tourney & 2 in the final 4. I wouldn't be the against it. BTW, Bo's one of the top10 coaches in the nation. He has nothing to prove at this point!
  16. Acapitalidea
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    Acapitalidea - January 23, 2014 10:12 am
    Sadly, Minnesota has one advantage over Wisconsin. Wisconsin has Scott Walker. The Gophers played a great game and deserved to win. Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then. I can understand Gopher Fan's excitement. It's so rare he ever has anything to cheer about. Next step, when you win, do it with dignity like you've been there before. Go Badgers
  17. Ego Vigilabo Vigilum
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    Ego Vigilabo Vigilum - January 23, 2014 10:03 am
    Gopher fan;

    I want to apologize for being a bit surly in an above post. We here in WI as Packer & Badger fans understand winning, as it happens quite often.

    That being the case, we perhaps become complacent, not appreciating the fact that it's not that way everywhere. We're kinda "old money" in that respect.

    When you're not used to winning and you stumble into it, it's like a smorgasbord for a starving man. Your stomach is empty from not having eaten AND you don't know when the 'meal' will again present itself.

    This leads you to overindulge, sometimes in a ridiculously embarrassing fashion. You're thus kinda like "new money."

    Let me just say that I for one, completely understand. Dirty Goofer & Vi_Queen wins are like Halley's Comet appearances; wonderful & many-splendored because of their extreme rarity.

    That said, I gotta know; what do you think is more laughably inane: the buck-toothed dirty Goofer or that stupid Vi_Queen horn they blow every time the Q_ueens score?

    I going to go with the buck-toothed dirty Goofer, because you hardly ever hear that horn!


  18. Acapitalidea
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    Acapitalidea - January 23, 2014 9:46 am
    We tired of the low scoring all defense and no offense Badgers' style. Maybe that wasn't so bad.This is a talented team and Bo has made some great acquisitions, but other Big Ten teams have too, with more athletic and talented players than we have.They're bigger and stronger as well. UW still doesn't have an effective inside game. Hayes and Dekker have their moments but need to be more consistently assertive Both are gems and we need more players of their caliber. They will get better. Kaminsky's dominance has waned recently in Big Ten games. If the Badgers aren't hitting their 3-pointers, they're in trouble - just like in the past. Do we need three guards? Maybe another big man in the middle would help. Even replacing Jackson with Koenig would give us a few more inches and better shooting, plus he is more talented and probably less prone to carelessness than Jackson. He could be playing for a final four caliber team had he chosen another school. Defense and getting his players to excel are two of Bo's strong points, and I am not giving up on him or his team. Would it be so awful to try playing a zone? Points in the paint are killing them. Try something different if what's being done isn't working. Stubbornness is another of Bo's strong points.
  19. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - January 23, 2014 9:38 am
    I always chuckle when I see fans of the other team offering advice on how to improve their opponents. ("Say, coach, why don't you just have your pitcher throw nothing but high hot fastballs down the middle? Our guys can never hit those!")
  20. Ego Vigilabo Vigilum
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    Ego Vigilabo Vigilum - January 23, 2014 9:30 am
    Gopher fan;

    Lookey here, the dirty rodent fan finally found a nut.

    With the assurance that you've been properly deloused and sans that goofy & sad taupe/purple rodent-wear jersey, we invite you to come across the state line.

    We've invited many football & basketball players; the overwhelming majority of them only too eager to leave.

    Ever wonder why that is? I mean you have so much to offer like...um...a good highway system that enables one to leave quickly before having to surrender the I.Q. points required for a stay of more than 3 hours.

    Oh, and please leave behind the "Fargo" accent; people aren't laughing WITH you!

    You'll see things you never knew existed because you've never them seen before.

    *Paul Bunyan's Ax
    *B1G TEN Championship Trophies (plural)
    *Lombardi Trophies (plural)

    The reason I indicate 'plural' is that it's abundantly clear that English isn't your 1st language.

    And please do something about those buck teeth; again, people are NOT laughing with you!

  21. rockemred
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    rockemred - January 23, 2014 9:28 am
    "Gopher Fan", wow, run your mouth like Minnesota has some kind of basketball program. U.M. beat the Badgers so what, we will take Bo's record over Minnysoda any #$%& day, you loudmouth, chest beater. You will be lucky to make the tourney, and if you do, you are going nowhere. Typical Viqueen/Opher fan
  22. Gopher fan
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    Gopher fan - January 23, 2014 9:02 am
    It's the coach!..he is old like tubby smith! You need a young guy in there. Need faster players!.go cry cheese heads in your beer!
  23. Gopher fan
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    Gopher fan - January 23, 2014 8:58 am
    Stubborn! Maybe he is just old has a one track mind!..Minnesota just rammed the OVERATED. Bad badgers. Bye a rookie coach!You're non conference cupcakes where no challenge for the OVERATED bad badgers! You have to play some good opponents in preseason old man Bo Ryan!
  24. Gopher fan
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    Gopher fan - January 23, 2014 8:42 am
    Gophers just out played badgers. Must be coaching .it's the head coach who has to motive them!.gophers offense split badgers defense like a leaf in a wind storm. Pitino makes adjustments all the time never sticks to one system. Slow mo Bo Ryan needs to recruit faster players..badgers got out coached bye a rookie coach in the BIG TEN!. Oh we'll theirs always wildcats,huskers that WISCONSIN can run over!..I think! Good luck bad badgers I think you will need it! GOOOOOO Gopher's!!!!!!.
  25. rockemred
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    rockemred - January 23, 2014 8:38 am
    "Red Pine", what game were you watching? I love Hayes, but he offered no inside defensive help. Time and time both Jackson and Koenig were allowing their men to leave them standing at the top of the key with a clear path to the paint and score. Bo is a great coach, but come on, when man to man defense isn't working go into a zone and make them hit outside shots. Why won't Bo mix it up? Stubborn certainly comes to mind. I see 4Gene more losses on the horizon.
  26. Ego Vigilabo Vigilum
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    Ego Vigilabo Vigilum - January 23, 2014 8:37 am
    Crow Barr;

    Your backing Bucky is almost enough to give you a pass for being a bares fan.


    You usually gain experience shortly after you need it.

    At this point, I see 3 B1G TEN teams going deep into the Tourney; Iowa, Michigan & MSU.

    There's only one venue I dislike more than Williams, and that's Mackey Arena.

  27. GaryRobbins
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    GaryRobbins - January 23, 2014 8:36 am
    Weird- Telling them they don't have talent is your way of cutting them some slack?
    No, they do have the talent. They're not using it right now. They didn't give a good effort yesterday. They stood around too much on offense, and watched too much on defense instead of aggressively covering their men and crashing the boards.
    They have the talent so I'll expect more of them than they showed at Minny.
    All is not lost, but they can and should play harder/better.
  28. reader62
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    reader62 - January 23, 2014 7:59 am
    Why play the games? For love of the game. Don't lose your perspective because of a losing streak.
  29. RedPine
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    RedPine - January 23, 2014 7:55 am
    I hate loosing to MN. If I could hope for improvement in an area right now it would be defensive rebounds. This can improve. Then we will try to protect the paint with help while still solving the high ball screen problem. Let them beat us with 3s if they can. 13 defensive rebounds won't cut it. Pretty obvious and easy for fans to say......expect improvement in these areas soon. Koenig is picking up the switches/help much better and so is Hayes. This is a talented fun team to watch. Can't help but like all these guys and can't wait for the next chance to watch. Go Badgers!
  30. Grandpa
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    Grandpa - January 23, 2014 7:27 am
    Good Luck getting Bo to play zone defense. Indiana exposed our weakness in the paint and now any coach worth his salt has his team taking it to the rack knowing full well we will not be stopping them.
  31. Crow Barr
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    Crow Barr - January 23, 2014 7:20 am
    To be fourth in the big 10 is respectable, gotta win your home games, Indiana did, Minny did. Badgers will do fine. Only four teams make it to the final four and it won't be 4 B1G teams. (Interesting thought (fantasy) though.)

  32. BadgerBeerBong
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    BadgerBeerBong - January 23, 2014 7:01 am
    It just seems like in the past few games they have "lead" in their shoes; before this "run" they were up and down the court in a flash; defense set and ready; occasional, welcomed, ball turnovers; what gives? Are they over practiced, confident, physically worn out, etc.? My gut tells me, give them time. This team is to talented to remain in this condition long. Oh, if you are a member of this team and reading this, don't let these comments go to your head; play your butts off like there was no tomorrow; don't think one of the others will pick it up for you.....
  33. GABadgerFan
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    GABadgerFan - January 23, 2014 6:59 am
    To clarify, Badgerfan and Weirdwise were the comments I was referring to.
  34. GABadgerFan
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    GABadgerFan - January 23, 2014 6:50 am
    I disagree with the last few comments. This team has talent, and has proven that they can win. They have beat some very good teams this year.

    Right now something isn't clicking. Obviously their defense needs work, but if they can figure that out, we can be, and will be, a great team by the end of the year.

    Bo has never finished below fourth in the conference. He has done that with a lot less talented teams than this year's team.
  35. w8rh3wk5
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    w8rh3wk5 - January 23, 2014 6:43 am
    I wouldnt say the Badgers were overrated..... Thats wrong. UW beat many NCAA tourney potential teams like Florida, Saint Louis, Virginia, Iowa, UW Green Bay, Marquette, etc. This team is just struggling right now which may not be the worst thing in the world. Adversity is a good thing. Adversity helps people grow. Lets see how they handle this adversity. Lets see if this pays off in March
  36. retired
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    retired - January 23, 2014 6:36 am
    Could it be that Wisc has reached their peak ? Ever since 2nd half of Michigan, they got raddled. It hasn't changed. When the other team shoots better than 50 %, YOU r going to get beat. What happened to that defense ? IF Bo Ryan is so grt., why hasn't the defense improved ? I will say this again. Has Wisc. reached their peak ?? The tank is empty.
  37. badgerfan1
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    badgerfan1 - January 23, 2014 6:05 am
    Too small, too slow, not strong enough, or simply not good enough are the Badgers. Once again we have a pretender and not a contender. The 16-0 start was almost cruel leading those of us who want them to be good enough to compete at the top to think this team was different . It is different but really the same just not good enough to be anywhere near the top, Weirdwise really says it all in the comment below. Bo simply will not or can not recruit to a level that will lead to a top level team. So this team will be around 9-9 in the conference and will be a 5,6, or 7th seed in the NCAA, and will maybe win a game but go out early. Why bother playing the games?
  38. Weirdwise
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    Weirdwise - January 23, 2014 3:51 am
    Cut these young men some slack. They played hard and with a lot of heart, for the most part. Truth is, they lack the talent to match up with the better players in the B1G. They weren't a top 10 team before the season and won't be at the end. They will be between 10 and 30 like all Bo's teams. Well coached, hard working, smart, and lacking top tier talent. They haven't got quick enough guards to stop, or beat, the league's best one-on-one or inside players who can protect the paint against the leagues best players. Thinking (dreaming) this is a top tier team in the B1G or NCAA tourney is setting oneself up for disappointment. They will play hard and smart until the final buzzer every game and beat some great teams. They do it every year. But they lack the players to be a legitimate national title contender and always will. Go doesn't recruit, or want, future NBA starters who have the natural talent to outplay most D-1 players when they set their mind to it. It's the same year after year. I love and respect the Badgers and Bo and enjoy watching them, but the body of evidence, season after season and heartbreak after heartbreak, is too overwhelming to ignore. Good kids. Great team. Sum better than the parts. Entertaining. Ten to thirty - no better or worse.
  39. Buckygobadger
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    Buckygobadger - January 22, 2014 11:54 pm
    It's become obvious that this group cannot effectively play the "man to man" defense that Bo demands for the entire game. Perhaps it's time to "zone up" to protect the paint and give our players some help! Some innovation is needed sooner than later...or this Big Ten season will continue to slip away. I am confident that adjustments can and will be made.
  40. GaryRobbins
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    GaryRobbins - January 22, 2014 10:47 pm
    Oh, in regards to the headline, it's not just hot shooting, it's also mostly bad defense.
  41. GaryRobbins
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    GaryRobbins - January 22, 2014 10:46 pm
    Sigh. Another game getting outworked, outrebounded, outhustled and out desired by the other team who was more intense and just seemed to want it more. Again.
    How does a team that shoots 59% also manage to get more offensive rebounds than the team that shoots only 44%?!
    This bad defense is really getting tough to watch, and it's not getting better, it's getting worse.
    Still 16-3, but the ship is really heading in the wrong direction now.

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