The Wisconsin Badger basketball team came up with a big win Saturday night against the Ohio St. Buckeyes, 55-50. It was a game that Big(11)Ten detractors like North Carolina coach Roy Williams would suggest set basketball back 50 years, but a thing of beauty for fans who have an appreciation of what UW basketball is all about.

No, it wasn’t perfect; few things about this year’s edition of the Badgers are.  Wisconsin allowed OSU to shoot 55% from the field while hitting only 36% themselves.  As usual, Wisconsin struggled against the Buckeye zone defense.  It seems that Wisconsin is sometimes overly intent on using up the shot clock; passing up open shots only to later force up rushed attempts against the buzzer.   Jason Bohannon picked the wrong time to go cold, hitting only 1 of 8 attempts from beyond the 3 point arc.  But UW managed to stay in the game by playing relentless defense that belied OSU’s shooting percentage.  The Badgers forced OSU into 19 turnovers and also dominated the bigger Buckeyes on the boards, including 14 offensive rebounds that helped Wisconsin to 17 more field goal attempts than their opponents.

Wisconsin was led by Marcus Landry, who had 17 points and 7 rebounds in front of his brother Carl, the former Purdue star and current Houston Rocket forward who was watching from the stands.  But the real difference maker was once again Joe Krabbenhoft, who had 6 of Wisconsin’s 10 steals while scoring a key 3 point basket and a pair of free throws down the stretch to help settle this issue in the Badgers favor.

With the victory, Wisconsin climbs above .500 in conference play at 7-6 heading into upcoming road games at Indiana and Michigan St.  Despite their mid-season slump, the 16-9 Badgers are still on pace for an upper division finish in the conference.  With their RPI at 31 and their strength of schedule at #4, barring a collapse that should still be enough for a NCAA bid.


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  • Gary

    This was truly a gritty win. If you didn’t know what OSU’S shooting percentage was, just from watching the game, you would have thought it was much worse. This team has rediscovred it’s will to win, led by the two seniors, JK and ML. During the six game losing streak I didn’t think they were even going to make the NIT field. Go Bucky!

  • Jon

    More so than any previous Bo Ryan team, this bunch looks more like a Dick Bennett squad than any other. The painful, long stretches with no points, and sometimes not even good shots, are so reminiscient of those days with Andy Kowske and John Bryant. Every posession is magnified. I find myself fearing the opponent going on an 8-0 run to go up by 9 points and putting the game out of reach. Bo’s teams are typically patient but could always score. Whatever gets a W…Bo and the team have stuck with it and are getting some positive results. It is no time to get cocky…Tan Tom is coming to town and don’t get upset by the Hoosiers who are playing much more competitively of late.

  • Chris

    Jon beat me to it: A scan of the post-game coverage left me with two words on my lips — Bennett Ball. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Seriously, that style took them to the Final Four. I have no problem with “winning ugly” or setting the game back 50 years. Just win, baby.

    More importantly, Bo seems to have this team on track again after that horrible six game skid. It is a credit to him as a leader. Forget the Xs and Os; Bo is as good as anyone at that. I am talking about his ability to keep his team together, focused and engaged after losing six conference games in a row. Moreover, this is a credit to the kind of kids Ryan gets into his program, guys who can take a shot in the package and recover.