Back on October 1st, with 37 minutes to go in Nebraska’s Big Ten Football opener against Wisconsin, Nebraska held a 14-13 lead at Camp Randall Stadium and it appeared a close game was in store. Of course, this wasn’t the case — over the final 37 minutes, the Badgers would oustcore the Huskers by 32 points, taking home a 48-17 victory and sending the Huskers home with an 0-1 Big Ten record.
Tuesday night, with 37 minutes to go in Nebraska’s Big Ten basketball opener against Wisconsin, the Huskers held a 7-0 lead and looked like they could, against long odds, make a game of it against the 11th-ranked Badgers. But three minutes does not a full game make, and over the final 37, the Badgers piled it on, outscoring the huskers 64-33 (a 31-point margin) to take home a 64-40 victory in another rude introduction to Big Ten play.
In their slowest game of the year, the Badgers put together arguably their best offensive performance since the opener against Kennesaw State. Led by Ryan Evans’s career-high 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting, the Badgers managed a whopping 125.8 points per 100 possessions against a Nebraska team which had only allowed over one point per possession three times all season prior. The Badgers were lights out from three, hitting 11 of their 21 attempts, led by Jorday Taylor (3-for-6), Jared Berggren (2-for-3) and, shockingly, Evans (2-for-3).
But as good as the offense was, the defense continued to be the big story. Nebraska shot just 15-for-49 (30.6%) on their home floor and their 78.3 points per 100 possessions was by far their worst of the season in any venue. The Badgers played impeccable defense at all points on the floor, holding Nebraska to just 6-for-20 shooting on layups, 5-for-18 on two-point jumpers, and 3-for-13 on three-point jumpers. Overall, the Badgers have now held opponents to 36.1% shooting from two-point range and 24.1% from three-point range, marks which rank first and third in the country respectively.
For Wisconsin, it was about as great an opener to Big Ten Conference play as possible. Performances like these, particularly on the road, should serve notice to Ohio State that yes, there is another contender in the heartland this season.