Badgers cruise in NCAA tourney opener

Well that was scary for about 10 minutes or so, but the Badgers did what nearly every No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament does—blow the doors off the No. 15 seed. Wisconsin went down early, but found their rhythm late in the first half en route to a 75-35 win in the second round contest. 

The 40 point win was Wisconsin's largest margin of victory in the NCAA tournament, and it was the defense that finally got it done for Wisconsin. UW held American to just 29.7 percent field goal shooting, while shooting 50 percent on its own.

It wasn't easy from start to finishing, but Wisconsin was able to erase a 17-10 deficit in the first half, turn it in to a 32-22 lead at the half in the final four minutes and blow it out from there.

Over the last 29:17 of the game, Wisconsin outscored American 65-18. The Eagles made just 5 of 27 field goals and had 13 turnovers in that time frame. 

UW was led by guard Traevon Jackson and his 18 points, but he was one of just three Badgers in double figures. Jackson was joined by guard Ben Brust (17) and forward Sam Dekker (11). 

What more can you say about a complete beatdown? So, lets get to the grades. 

 

Player Stats/Thoughts Grade

Ben Brust, G

17pts, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 6-9 FGS, 4-7 3pt FGs

No question about it, Ben Brust was the player of the game for Wisconsin. Just when it looked like UW was about to give this game up in the middle of the first half, Brust got hot and the Badgers never really looked back. Hard to have a better game from the outside than Brust. 

a_plus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Nigel Hayes, F

6pts, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2-3 FGs

Hayes didn't dominate, but he didn't need to. He was efficient and on point with the opportunities given to him. It was his defensive effort that stuck out the most, with two steals helping UW create 17 total turnovers.

a_minus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Traevon Jackson, G

18pts, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 6-8 FGs

If we could see this effort from Jackson every game, we'd have a star on our hands. What a second half for Jackson, who had 11 of his 18 points in the second stanza. He was everything you want out of a Wisconsin point guard on Thursday afternoon. 

a_plus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Duje Dukan, F

5pts, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2-2 FGs 

Dukan saw 12 minutes on Thursday afternoon and was nearly flawless in his play on both ends of the court. Considering he's not expected to contribute much, Dukan was a huge help to extending UW's second half advantage.

A_letter_grade.jpg
Sam Dekker, F

11pts, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 5-11 FGs

People were wondering where Sam Dekker was early on (ourselves included), but he came through in an important way against the Eagles. Dekker continued to rebound the ball well and play surprisingly good defense, but also added some offense for a change too. 

a_minus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Josh Gasser, G

7pts, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1-2 FGs, 4-4 FTs

Gasser didn't fill up the score sheet, but he did get to the line and hit his free throws. Once again, Gasser knew the hot hands and found ways to make sure those guys were getting the ball. He led the team in assists and continued to play solid defense. 

b_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Bronson Koenig, G

3pts, 1-3 FGs

In his 19 minutes, Koenig didn't do a heck of a lot, but he also didn't get in the way. When he was called on he hit a triple, but it wasn't an amazing effort by the frosh on the offensive end. His defense was pretty good, and it was near shutdown mode in the second half. 

c_plus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Frank Kaminsky, F

8pts, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3-9 FGs

Kaminsky kicked off the game on a personal 5-0 run, but he couldn't sustain it the rest of the game. If there was a player who didn't perform up to par or beyond expectation, Kaminsky was it. 

d_plus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg

 

Badgers cruise in NCAA tourney opener

Well that was scary for about 10 minutes or so, but the Badgers did what nearly every No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament does—blow the doors off the No. 15 seed. Wisconsin went down early, but found their rhythm late in the first half en route to a 75-35 win in the second round contest. 

The 40 point win was Wisconsin's largest margin of victory in the NCAA tournament, and it was the defense that finally got it done for Wisconsin. UW held American to just 29.7 percent field goal shooting, while shooting 50 percent on its own.

It wasn't easy from start to finishing, but Wisconsin was able to erase a 17-10 deficit in the first half, turn it in to a 32-22 lead at the half in the final four minutes and blow it out from there.

Over the last 29:17 of the game, Wisconsin outscored American 65-18. The Eagles made just 5 of 27 field goals and had 13 turnovers in that time frame. 

UW was led by guard Traevon Jackson and his 18 points, but he was one of just three Badgers in double figures. Jackson was joined by guard Ben Brust (17) and forward Sam Dekker (11). 

What more can you say about a complete beatdown? So, lets get to the grades. 

 

Player Stats/Thoughts Grade

Ben Brust, G

17pts, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 6-9 FGS, 4-7 3pt FGs

No question about it, Ben Brust was the player of the game for Wisconsin. Just when it looked like UW was about to give this game up in the middle of the first half, Brust got hot and the Badgers never really looked back. Hard to have a better game from the outside than Brust. 

a_plus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Nigel Hayes, F

6pts, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2-3 FGs

Hayes didn't dominate, but he didn't need to. He was efficient and on point with the opportunities given to him. It was his defensive effort that stuck out the most, with two steals helping UW create 17 total turnovers.

a_minus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Traevon Jackson, G

18pts, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 6-8 FGs

If we could see this effort from Jackson every game, we'd have a star on our hands. What a second half for Jackson, who had 11 of his 18 points in the second stanza. He was everything you want out of a Wisconsin point guard on Thursday afternoon. 

a_plus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Duje Dukan, F

5pts, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2-2 FGs 

Dukan saw 12 minutes on Thursday afternoon and was nearly flawless in his play on both ends of the court. Considering he's not expected to contribute much, Dukan was a huge help to extending UW's second half advantage.

A_letter_grade.jpg
Sam Dekker, F

11pts, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 5-11 FGs

People were wondering where Sam Dekker was early on (ourselves included), but he came through in an important way against the Eagles. Dekker continued to rebound the ball well and play surprisingly good defense, but also added some offense for a change too. 

a_minus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Josh Gasser, G

7pts, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1-2 FGs, 4-4 FTs

Gasser didn't fill up the score sheet, but he did get to the line and hit his free throws. Once again, Gasser knew the hot hands and found ways to make sure those guys were getting the ball. He led the team in assists and continued to play solid defense. 

b_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Bronson Koenig, G

3pts, 1-3 FGs

In his 19 minutes, Koenig didn't do a heck of a lot, but he also didn't get in the way. When he was called on he hit a triple, but it wasn't an amazing effort by the frosh on the offensive end. His defense was pretty good, and it was near shutdown mode in the second half. 

c_plus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg
Frank Kaminsky, F

8pts, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3-9 FGs

Kaminsky kicked off the game on a personal 5-0 run, but he couldn't sustain it the rest of the game. If there was a player who didn't perform up to par or beyond expectation, Kaminsky was it. 

d_plus_school_letter_grade_190x190.jpg

 

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com

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