As predicted here yesterday, the Badgers were in for a scare Wednesday night at Iowa but held on 62-59 which was very close to our predicted score of 63-58. I believe wins like this actually show how strong of a program Wisconsin has become. This game did have trap game written all over it with Ohio State looming. The Badgers could not hit anything in the first half, only scoring 18 points, but in the second half they found a way to win on the road without their A game.
Tim Jarmusz, Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor all hit big shots down the stretch to allow the Badgers to force overtime and then hold on for the win. As fans we had to sweat to the very end as Jordan Taylor made one of two free throws to push the lead to three but a last second three by Iowa was not all that close.
Under the circumstances I qualify this as a very good win. Winning when you are not at your best on the road is very tough to do. The Big 10 is much better than it was just a couple of years ago, if you sleepwalk on the road you will get beat. The Badgers played very well in the second half and were able to get a solid win.
The Badgers style of play can take on some criticism for being boring or playing it safe but it was what won them the game tonight. Even when a little flat the team does not turn it over. They do not magnify a cold shooting night with stupid turnovers. They were cold to start the game but due to their protection of the ball and controlling of the clock they were only down five at halftime. I have watched a lot of College Basketball this year and there are a ton of teams that would have lost this game in the first half. Credit must be given to Bo and his system for getting a win like this because if they lose to another lower seed in the tournament the same system will get hammered.
Other College Basketball Notes
If you are a fan of college basketball and have the Direct TV sports-pack, Wednesdays and Saturdays are incredible. These two days are loaded up with games of interest not only on the ESPNs but throughout the 600s.
- North Carolina lost to Duke in a game they had a big lead. It was a typical Duke run at Cameron where they drew a bunch of charges and hit a ton of shots in a row. Carolina will be better by the end of the year and would win on a neutral court.
- Texas keeps rolling. Oklahoma is not great but Texas does not let you breath. At this point I cannot fathom this team not making it to the Elite Eight at the very worst. Very impressive.
- The Rutgers-Villanova ending was amazing and felt very March-like. Nova had a solid lead most of the game and was even up 10 with under two minutes. Rutgers hit some threes to get back in it and tie the game which forced a crazy end of game sequence where Nova hit a three pointer, followed by Rutgers banking in a three to tie, Nova hits another three, then Rutgers hits a three and gets fouled. The free throw was the winning point. Big win for Rutgers who had been knocking on the door in their last three games to get a big win.
- Georgetown had a good road win at Syracuse but something seems off with the Orange. They can get some steals and block shots but their defense is allowing some wide open shots.
- Louisville looked much more athletic than Notre Dame but squandered a chance to win the game in regulation and were beaten in overtime. The Cardinals had the ball for the last shot but got off a very poor shot at the buzzer. I feel teams become too worried about getting a shot off at the buzzer so the other team does not get a shot. On the road you do not want to go to overtime, if that means running a play that leaves a few seconds but results in a better shot I am all for it.