Tuesday, January 09, 2007

#4 Wisconsin 72, #5 Ohio State 69

Oh, what a night to have been at the Kohl Center. (Speaking of, why on earth would the UW Athletic Department force students renewing their tickets to go through the same lottery process as first-time applicants? Don't they want to encourage loyalty? What they're doing is alienating future customers. But I digress.)

Anyway, the Badgers looked good in all phases of the game tonight. The slim margin of three points is deceptive; the Buckeyes never got within more than 8 points of the Badgers for a stretch of over ten minutes that spanned from 11:16 to go in the game up until the 0:45 mark, when the Badgers went into a very soft defense that allowed the Buckeyes to get great three-point opportunities. Granted, the last three-point attempt that Jamar Butler heaved up just before the buzzer provided a tense moment for all the Wisconsin fans. But looking at the way the game played out, it is certain that the Badgers were the best team on the floor for 36 minutes. The last two minutes, obviously, is when the Buckeyes gnawed away at the Badgers' lead. The first two minutes provided Ohio State with is biggest lead of the night: 3-0, after their fourth attempt at a triple fell. They held that lead for all of 29 seconds when Kammron Taylor tied it up with a triple of his own. 37 seconds later, a Michael Flowers layup made it 5-3. Once the score ran to 7-6 Wisconsin, the Badgers kept the lead till the very end.

Alando Tucker did his usual big-game thing, scoring 17 points; Taylor had 25. Everyone seemed to make a contribution tonight. Flowers, Chappell, Butch ... they all showed up and added needed blocks, steals, assists, and points. This team needs to maintain its focus, and it can go far.

And Greg Oden should shave his damn beard.