Just five games remain in the regular season for Wisconsin (18-8, 9-4 Big Ten), and it's still in the thick of the conference title race. The Badgers kept themselves in contention with the 71-49 walloping of the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday.
Looking back at the Ohio State game, everything went right for the Badgers. They started off hot, surging to an early lead. Impressively, the Badgers never relinquished that lead or let the Buckeyes come anywhere near making the game tight again. Wisconsin seemed to nail everything, shooting a season high 52.7 percent while Ohio State struggled to connect on layups.
It's one of those games UW fans should enjoy, but not read too much into. There are some games during the course of the season in which everything plays into one team's favor, while the other can't seem to do anything right. I'm not saying Wisconsin didn't play wonderfully on Sunday, but I don't believe the Badgers are as good as they played (I mean, how often do they put up 70 points?!) and the Buckeyes aren't as mediocre as they played. Personally, I think these teams are pretty evenly matched, and if they played each other 10 times, it'd be fairly close to an even split.
With that aside, lets see how they Badgers looked like a well-oiled machine against Ohio State.
First and foremost, Wisconsin managed to knock down the majority of its baskets, but it did so with excellent shot selection. Out of 55 field goal attempts, just 19 were from three-point range -- still high for most teams, but that's a solid ratio for the Badgers.
The play and resurgence of Jared Berggren proved to be huge, as well. Berggren, typically one of Wisconsin's more consistent players, had struggled as of late but really found his groove down low Sunday. He finished the game with a team-high 15 points to go along with eight rebounds.
I could point out many other keys to success -- such as the superb play in the backcourt from Ben Brust and Traevon Jackson -- but the final aspect I appreciated was the increased minutes for forward Sam Dekker. There's been much talk around town of fans' desire for Dekker to start over forward Ryan Evans, but despite still coming off the bench, Dekker played 28 minutes.
Ultimately, the way Wisconsin worked the ball inside was the difference. When the Badgers can consistently work the ball inside, in addition to making occasional three-pointers, they're as tough as anyone to beat.
An article by Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal, essentially saying how the Badgers should attempt to replicate the offensive formula they used against the Buckeyes.
The Big Ten regular season title is certainly still in reach for Wisconsin.
UW basketball players Dan Fahey and J.D. Wise may rarely see the court, but Jim Polzin writes why they're still vital pieces to the Badgers' success.
Keys to tonight's monster matchup between Michigan State and Indiana.