Wisconsin HoopCap: Badgers’ Big Three Steps Up
Wisconsin Badgers faced their second test of the year as they opened up Maui Invitational on Monday afternoon versus a young and up-and-coming Tennessee team. Badgers are one of the favorites in the tournament, and if ESPN and Maui folks have it there way, Wisconsin will have a date with North Carolina on Wednesday night when all of Wisconsin is good and drunk. Step one of three is completed.
Big Three does all the hard work
Greg Gard envisioned this kind of game from his Wisconsin team before the season started with Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ scoring 54 of the 72 points for Wisconsin. All three players were great in their own individual ways. Hayes and Koenig both hit big shots down the stretch to extend Wisconsin’s lead. Badgers have to like the kind of line Hayes put out there especially spreading out his scoring from around the basket, at the free throw line and from three.
Turnovers were still an issue
One of the emerging trends for Wisconsin is their carelessness with the basketball. Badgers turned the ball over 18 times with Tennessee’s high-pressure defense, and this might be a key to beat Badgers this season. Not every team will have the athletes to push Wisconsin like Volunteers did on Monday, and what Creighton did last week, yet there will be many teams who try.
Weathering the early second half storm
Wisconsin lost their game to Creighton after Jays got hot in the second half, and Badgers were never able to cut back into their lead. After Tennessee came back to even this basketball and even take the lead in the second half, it didn’t seem to phase Badgers. Wisconsin knew all along they were the better team. Soon enough, they pull away from Vols.
Players of the Game.
Hayes (Wisconsin), Shembari Phillips (Tennessee) – Like I said, this is the best game from Hayes thus far in the 2016-2017 season. If Hayes has stat lines like this consistently, Wisconsin is going to be a great team, and he’ll be a National Player of the Year candidate. Shembari Phillips played well for Tennessee with 16 points in his best game of the season.
Wisconsin thought they would be facing 13th ranked Oregon, but instead, they will see Georgetown who’s been a mystery team thus far. This is the third straight November that Georgetown and Wisconsin will play each other. This is the rubber match as Georgetown beat Wisconsin in the 2k Classic last year, and Badgers got the best of Hoyas in Bahamas two years ago.