The morning after thoughts. On the surface, there is no bigger win than the next one for the Wisconsin Badgers.
And while we’ll dwell for a minute on the last one, the focus for Bucky quickly turns to Big Ten leading Michigan who’ll they go to visit this weekend.
Thursday’s win at home for coach Bo Ryan’s crew enacted a bit of revenge in the border battle against first year coach Rich Pitino and his Golder Gophers.
Wisconsin was thoroughly out-played in their first contest in Minneapolis, but used a short memory to get in front early and salt away the win down the stretch by going 30 of 36 at the free throw line.
A big part of Wisconsin’s success down the stretch will have to do not so much with making free throws at the same high percentage, but simply getting to the line instead.
Fouls on the defense slow the game down, keep teams from being the aggressor and really allow Wisconsin’s offense to operate at the pace it’s successful.
Helpful shooting from the three point line continues to be an asterisk in just about every Wisconsin win, but going along with that is typically the sense that opposing teams need to start respecting Frank Kaminsky’s play with his back to the basket and the forward play and faceup game of freshman, Nigel Hayes.
A continued 16-20 point effort from anyone of the following players: Ben Brust, Josh Gasser or Sam Dekker, will always be a boost. Simply, Traevon Jackson cannot be looked at as the go-to scorer. And while his ability Thursday to hit those 15-18 foot jump shots off the dribble added a bit of relief at times in the first half, he’s going to be better served dishing assists off the dribble than he is hitting the consistent jumper.
One guy who might end up needing to be clutch down the stretch is Bronson Koenig.
The freshman point guard continues to spell minutes for Jackson when needed, and should UW get into a run-and-gun style game, he’s the type of player who drops right in and can go with just about anyone.
It’s just his style. He loves it. He cherishes it. And most of all, he accepts the challenge put in front of him should Bo Ryan call.
Wisconsin’s season doesn’t so much rest on what they do during what looks to be their most difficult six game stretch of the season thus far.
What is does rest on is how they play – in victory or defeat. It’s surely a sign of what’s to come in the NCAA Championship tourney if Wisconsin can continue to shoot the ball at a high percentage, get to the free throw line and not turn the ball over.
Overall, sooner than later, teams will challenge UW’s depth. It could be where they either stumble and fall, or push through to the next level.