Badger Bits: Is Hughes UW's most indispensable player?

If you missed it, Marquette was dealt a crushing blow last night that hurt more than their loss to UConn. Senior point guard Dominic James fractured his left foot and will miss the rest of his season, effectively ending his collegiate career.

It's a tough break for the Golden Eagles' top defensive player, who was just starting to click offensively. James considered entering the NBA Draft after each of the last two seasons, and now you have to wonder how badly this injury will affect his pro career.

Mike Lucas, UW's radio analyst, says James' injury is devastating for Marquette and he ponders the question: Who could the Badgers least afford to lose at this critical juncture in the season?

His answer: Trevon Hughes.

My first reaction was, "Oh, come on." But when you think about it, Hughes is almost the same player as James, except with a little less potential. Both play great defense and have excellent instincts to force turnovers, but both are streaky shooters who make questionable decisions with the ball at times.

Still, remember when Hughes didn't play against Davidson? They missed his ball handling and could have used better defensive pressure on Jason Richards.

Now, Wisconsin also beat Texas last year without Hughes, but I would argue that it was earlier in the season and the Badgers didn't rely on him as much. Plus, there's no question the rest of the team stepped up their play in that game better than they did against Davidson.

So while Hughes is arguably the most frustrating player on the team, could you imagine the defense with him? The coaching staff obviously has 100 percent faith in Jordan Taylor to handle the offense, but defensively, especially with Michael Flowers gone, Wisconsin would be a mess if they lost Hughes.

More links:

  • Now, if we're talking players the Badgers could bring back, no question No. 1 on that list would be Devin Harris. What a week the Nets' All-Star point guard is having. After knocking down this incredible half-court shot at the buzzer to beat the 76ers on Monday, he scored 42 points last night, including 19 in the fourth quarter, to beat the Bulls. Of course the worst coach in NBA history helped Harris out, electing to play a 2-3 zone when his team was down 14 points with four minutes to go. What?!? Vinny, you are supposed to do the exact opposite. And oh yeah, his best player (Derek Rose) was on the bench again for no reason.
  • If you're keeping tabs on UW's next opponent, Michigan hosts Purdue tonight in a must-win game. Check out Maize N Brew and Hammer and Rails for more.
  • The bizarre Leonard Taylor case rolls on. The former UW football player who threatened to kill Barry Alvarez was ruled mentally competent enough to stand trial. Meanwhile, fans everywhere are more concerned about why he also threatened to kill Maria Sharapova. Are you nuts? Oh wait... my bad.
  • Meanwhile, Mark Stewart of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caught up with Diamond Taylor's and Mike Bruesewitz's head coaches yesterday.
  • Finally, the UW men's hockey team is in Mankato, Minn. this weekend where it will try to rebound from a crushing series sweep at the hands of Denver last week. Our hockey guy will be in the building for both games and will have coverage starting tomorrow.
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