There really wasn't any reason why the Badgers should have beaten the Buckeyes on Saturday, on paper at least. Ohio State has quietly made its case as a Final Four contender all season with rangy guards that can actually hit their 3-pointers and a powerful frontcourt led by Jared Sullinger. Yet the feeling after the loss was more like the breath-sapping "ugh" of an upset.
In retrospect, that feeling is probably a good sign. There isn't just hope whenever the Badgers take the court as underdogs against a contender, there is an expectation, especially at home and especially against the Buckeyes, that Wisconsin will make the necessary plays to pull through. That they failed this time is demoralizing to the nth degree, especially because at one point it seemed like the Badgers were going to do it again, just like they always do.
Mike Brusewitz 3-pointer was an inevitability. Of course he made it. Everybody in the stands drew an immediate connection to the three he made to spark the comeback last year against the Buckeyes. The 2012 version pulled the Badgers within one possession, 51-50, of retaking the lead late in the game.
Then nothing really happened. It was weird. Jordan Taylor committed two turnovers in the final minutes. Brusewitz missed two more 3-pointers. The Buckeyes made their free throws and it was game over, 58-52, final. There isn't much else to say really, the issues seem clear. Wisconsin was awful from behind the arc once again. They did a better job defending Sullinger in the second half, but still gave up 24 points and 16 rebounds for the game.
This isn't a bad team by any means, but it is more inherently flawed than any Bo Ryan squad in some time. They are capable of taking down the best in the country on their good nights. Saturday proved that to some extent. If they find any kind of consistency from beyond the arc they can hopefully make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. But that's the problem in and of itself. For the first time in a while, the expectation of success isn't there.
Check out John's piece for a full recap of the game.
Tom Oates on the Buckeyes making up for their Kohl Center woes.
People don't despise Leaders and Legends anymore.
Jordan Diamond chooses Auburn. On to 2013 for Wisconsin.
Bielema gives coaches the week off after signing day, claims no bad blood with Pitt staff.
Kyle Wojta's diary for this week as he prepares for the 2012 NFL Draft.
A look at the scholarship situation as recruiting for the Class of 2013 begins.
Wisconsin put Adidas on notice for failing to make severance payments to employees at an Indonesian factory.
Joel Maturi has resigned as the athletic director at Minnesota.
Wrapping up: Here are some Sam Dekker highlights to warm your heart: