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Ugly Badgers Never Looked so Good

There are certain games that you mark on your calendar at the beginning of the season. They could be games that you know will be fun to watch, games that will feature great matchups, games that could make or break a season.

If you looked at the schedule at the beginning of the season, Wisconsin at Penn State would not have been one of those games.

But when they lifted the curtain at the Bryce Jordan Center, you knew this one was special.

Ugly, but special.

It’s hard to believe that a win at PSU would be the defining moment in a season, but Wisconsin’s 54-44 triumph was without a doubt the biggest win of the year so far.

This one had all the makings of another late game collapse. Marcus Landry couldn’t make a free throw. Trevon Hughes threw up one brick after another. Jason Bohannon disappeared for much of the game. Jon Leuer got into foul trouble.

Yet every time the Badgers wasted an opportunity on the offensive end, they came back and made a play on defense. (Or the Nittany Lions wasted on opportunity on offense.)

In all seriousness, Hughes played great defensively against Talor Battle, and Krabbenhoft and Wisconsin’s posts absolutely took Cornley out of the game. He played 39 minutes and scored four points.

Was it the Badger defense or were the Nittany Lions just startled by all the crowd noise in their home building? Who knows? Better yet, who cares? Wisconsin found a way to win a close game.

The Badgers are 5-6 in Big Ten play with three very winnable games coming up before their showdown with Michigan State in the Izzone in two weeks. An 8-6 conference record with four games to play would put the Badgers in a great position to secure an NCAA Tournament bid.

Nothing is guaranteed, and I’m sure it’s not going to look pretty. But going to an eleventh straight Big Dance … now that would be special.