Thursday, February 15, 2007

Badgers 75, Gophers 62

In the beginning, the game looked like it was going to be one of those last gasp upset bids, those everything-but-the-kitchen-sink efforts that a team that's going nowhere somehow pulls out against a contender in the final weeks of the season. The Gophers were hitting triples, minimizing Wisconsin's scoring chances, and went into the locker room down only four, and, maybe more importantly for a team that had been on the wrong side of eighty-plus-point efforts in consecutive games, having only given up 28 points total.

But the Badgers came back and did what they do: hit big shots, wear you down, leave your arena with a win. Alando Tucker put up a gaudy 29 points (despite a cold run in the second half where he went 0-for-5), Kam Taylor and Michael Flowers scored in the double digits, and Jason Chappell shut down the Gophers' most potent scoring threat, Spencer Tollackson.

The Badgers were helped out by Gopher miscues, but ultimately this was a win that they created on their own. The most encouraging thing to take away from last night's game was that the things that went wrong went wrong because of the inherent inconsistencies in basketball. Some nights, you have a half in which you shoot 29%. Some nights, your star misses a couple layups. But if your team is strong enough and doesn't commit errors, you'll win. And that's what the Badgers did.

Looking at the two-point victory that the Buckeyes squeaked out over the Nittany Lions, Saturday's matchup with Penn State would appear to be more of a showdown than anticipated. With any luck the Badgers' effort on Saturday will look more like their Wednesday game, and not the Buckeyes'.