See, this is what is fun about amateur athletics, and to a lesser extent, all sports. To watch as an individual or group of individuals come of age under pressure before your very eyes.
In the wake of Wisconsin's 64-59 win at No. 2 Indiana, we learned a lot about the Badgers.
We learned they can leap from bubble team to tournament team in a single bound.
We learned that Mike Bruesewitz sure is the king of all things Badger hoops right now.
We learned Wisconsin may have a point guard after all.
We learned that one team can beat one single player any day.
I don't want to say the Badgers made it look easy, but they controlled the entire second half of the game. This after allowing Cody Zeller to spring for 18 points in a near-flawless first-half. I don't want to ruin my recollection of this game by looking at a box score, but I'm guessing not many other players from Indiana will end up with a pretty stat line for the evening.
But Bruesewitz stood out again for his hustle, his composure (read: MADE FREE THROWS!), and his ability to rise to the occasion. Bruesewitz is the undisputed heartbeat of a team that was crying out for senior leadership. The ginger assassin's return to form is one of two huge factors in Wisconsin's 4-0 conference start that has the Badgers atop the Big Ten ladder.
Another huge factor is Traevon Jackson. The sophomore handled the ball with poise against the Hoosiers and played with supreme confidence. Rest assured, I'm fully aware that he hasn't solved his problems with bad passes or dumb fouls, but that is a complaint for a different day. Needless to say, once Jackson gets that figured out, he's going to be a good one for Bo Ryan.
And who can forget honorary game MVP Frank Kaminsky?! Six points on two 3-pointers in three minutes of play before leaving for good with an eye injury. In the end, those six points made all the difference as the Badgers dug out a marquee road win.
Big Frank did not play scared. Sam Dekker did not play scared. They and their teammates proved they belong on the national stage. More than anything, Wisconsin is finally showing some heart.
"It [was] a gut check for us," Ryan told ESPN's Sam Ponder after the game. "We played like junkyard dogs."
Them dogs be rollin'.
Stayed tuned to B5Q for more coverage of Wisconsin's big win from our live correspondents in Bloomington.
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