Photo courtesy Kevin Jairaj: USA Today Sports

Beyond the Box Score: Wisconsin 68, Georgetown 65

Last night we gave a recap of the big semifinal win in the Bahamas. Today let’s dig a little deeper into that box score. As we mentioned last night, this was a great team win. It was a nice test as the previous five teams gave little resistance to the Badgers. Having to come back against a good team is what Wisconsin needed early in this season.

  • Bronson Koenig and Duje Dukan combined to score 18 second half points. This was the story of the game, but let’s break it down a little more. With both Traevon Jackson and Josh Gasser on the bench with four fouls, Sam Dekker basically had to play the two guard position. This opened up the guard game for Koenig as he was able to get more open shots. The same can be said for Dukan down low. With both Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes occupying Georgetown’s big guys down low, Duje was able to both get favorable match-ups. I guess what I’m saying here is that with such a big line-up in the game, it’s impossible to guard everyone and the Hoyas made Koenig and Dukan hurt them. They hit their shots and I can’t imagine how frustrating that had to be for the Hoyas.
  • D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 29 points for the Hoyas. This is very reminiscent of last year when one player (usually a guard) would take over a game against Wisconsin. It worked out yesterday, as it often did last year, but it’s not necessarily a recipe for success. The only way this strategy works is against teams such as Green Bay where the team has one legit star. You figure he’s going to get his points, so if you are able to stop everyone else, it’s hard to lose a game where only one player is scoring. Georgetown, on the other hand, was deep enough where having someone explode was almost too much to overcome.
  • Wisconsin was 20-27 from the free throw line. The 75% clip is what is needed in a close game. We’ve been talking early in the season that all those missed free throws would come back to haunt the Badgers in a close game. This was one of those games. With the size advantage and mismatches Wisconsin is often able to get, getting to the free throw line will be a common occurrence. Hitting the free throws early not only obviously help on the scoreboard, but it forces the opponent to play fairer defense. If the Badgers are missing their free throws, the opponent is able to foul more and keep Wisconsin off its game. It seems like a simple formula, but there is so much more to hitting free throws than just putting points on the board.

It’s onto the championship like we predicted, but it’s against an Oklahoma team that would have been my third guess as an opponent. It should be another good game, and a win would more than likely setup a matchup of two undefeated teams as Duke heads to the Kohl Center.

Jay Swenson

About Jay Swenson

Jay is a Badger fan currently living in Central Illinois. He has written for several newspapers as a freelance writer, and was the Western Illinois basketball beat writer while in graduate school.