UW just keeps finding a way to win. Total ugliness but clutch three point shooting in the first half, then mistake free basketball in the second, but poor shooting. Ohio State scored 7 points in the last ten minutes of the game. UW hardly shot any free throws and gave up a bunch of offensive rebounds, and turned the ball over a dozen times in the first half, but still came out on top. Craziness. Random thoughts--
- The most interesting development in this recent string of big victories is Flowers and Bohannon getting hot from outside. Both have been stroking it of late, and made three pointers will make up for several other ugly possessions. Flowers is having a hell of a senior year. He may not make first or second team all-Big Ten, but if you did an All-League Senior team, he would have to be on it.
- Did Hughes score any points this afternoon?
- Does it seem like OSU has more talent than the Badgers but significantly worse results? I know they lost four starters, but they have three seniors on the team, and a lot of talented guys, so it still seems to me like they're underperforming this year. They don't seem to play that intelligently, especially on offense, and they're just not that cohesive. I guess you could say it's youth, but Cook, Lighty, Oden and Conley all played huge minutes for them last year. Also, did you see all the empty seats in Columbus? OSU is on the bubble, they're playing against a top ten team who was their biggest in-conference rival last year, in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, and there are hundreds of visibly empty seats? Sure, the drop-off from Conley and Oden is a bummer, but come on. Get some loyalty, Buckeye fans. Maybe last year's success in football and basketball spoiled them.
- That was the last tough road stretch of the regular season. Coming out 2-0 from games at Illinois and at Columbus was enormous. Crazy to think that the only road games Wisconsin has lost this season, so far, are at Duke and Purdue. UW now has home games against Sparty and Penn State, and then finishes at Northwestern. (I won't even get into how nerve-racking an ugly game in Evanston could be with a possible league crown on the line. Ugh.) Sparty should be tough stuff, although they've laid some huge eggs on the road this year. I'm sure they'll be looking to redeem themselves and get some momentum going for post-season runs. Penn State has been adapting to losing Claxton and is playing far better than they were when UW hammered them.
- It's interesting to see that Tim Jarmusz, who I earlier criticized for not redshirting this season, has gotten over ten minutes in both of the last two games. He hasn't been an impact player, and he doesn't wow you with his physical abilities, but he hasn't had any huge screw-ups, and he's been able to deepen what had been a three guard rotation. Sounds like he's just been busting his ass in practice, and earned his minutes. Way to go, Tim. Guess I should have been on the former (Madison Memorial) Spartan, Nankivil, to redshirt instead. I was wrong, although I maintain my position that five free years at UW is not something that should be scoffed at. Anyhow, this is a positive development, and it's good to see the team will have some guard depth next year after Flowers graduates.
- Was anyone else a little embarrassed that this ugly a game was nationally televised on a major network? And right after a Notre Dame-Syracuse game where the scores were in the 90s? Any of the Indiana or Purdue games would have been preferable. Also, it has become clear that Billy Packer just makes things up in order to have something to say. For example, toward the end of the game, Diebler for OSU was being guarded by the Hoft, and he slipped and fell to the ground, and called a timeout. Packer said that Krabby tripped him. The Hoft did not get anywhere close to tripping him. Earlier, Flowers hit Bohannon on a nice in-bounds pass for a quick lay up. Packer said Bohannon's man got cut off by a "backside screen". I rewound and watched the play repeatedly. J-Bo's defender was not only not "screened," he wasn't even touched by any player, either on OSU or Wisconsin. Packer also kept saying that J-Bo was unable to drive to the basket, a fact that was been repeatedly disproven over the past few weeks. In summary, Packer makes things up and does a poor job of scouting the teams he "covers". He makes me yearn for Big Ten Network color commentating, which for those of you who don't have BTN, is really saying something.
UPDATE-- The Journal Sentinel's coverage of the game says it was played "in front of a sellout crowd of 19,049." Sellout? Maybe. But there's no way in hell there were 19,000 people in that place.