BuckyCap: Badgers Squash Quick Rutgers Scare
In Wisconsin’s head, they simply thought about not looking ahead. Don’t think about a big matchup with Marquette on Saturday afternoon and take care of business against Rutgers. Under Steve Pinkell, you can see the Scarlet Knights improving and they’re going to be difficult at home this year. And they may give some teams a game on the road every now and again. Despite Rutgers playing their third game in six games, they came out hot with a 31-26 halftime lead. Badgers woke up early in the second to take advantage and control of them. Scarlet Knight never let themselves get blown out on Monday night.
Player of the Game: D’Mitrik Trice – Happ had a bigger game from a box score perspective, but Trice made the big shot yet again. After Happ missed two free throws late in the game, Rutgers had a window to make this game close yet Trice shut it down. He hit a three with a minute left to pop the lead back to eight points, and Wisconsin didn’t look at back. He is so vital to the Badgers’ success.
Silver Star: Ethan Happ – These two might trade off the awards each recap. Nice game from Happ amid the free throws. He scored 20 points, four rebounds and three assists. It wasn’t the gaudy stat line for Happ, but he keeps producing at a high level. Through nine games this season, Happ is averaging 17.7 points per game. He has not been in single figures in any of the first nine games.
One Thing I Liked: Attacking the rim – Wisconsin didn’t have it from three tonight. They only made five of them and shot only 14. They’re not as much of a ‘live by the three, die by the three’ team like Badgers teams in the past, but it’s good to see Wisconsin head into the lane for their shots especially when the outside ones aren’t falling for them.
One THing I Didn’t Like: Hack-a-Happ – For the season, Happ is 41% from the free throw line. He is the college version of Andre Drummond. That’s not a compliment by any means for Happ. Big Ten teams need to employ some sort of hack-a-Happ strategy late in game. It might not make sense in double bonus, but it makes all the sense in the world with single bonus where Happ has to make one free throw. It could be a real issue for Wisconsin.
Next up: Yes, I know Badgers fans like to think of Wisconsin-Marquette as another game, but it’s a rivalry one. Wisconsin will have a chance to add another team to their impressive non-conference resume. There is a reason Wisconsin sees themselves sixth in the new NET rankings for college basketball. Trice versus Markus Howard will be absolutely awesome.