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Badger Bits: Assessing Wisconsin's defense against elite offenses

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The Badgers have a long tradition of defensive excellence under Bo Ryan. A combination of gritty competitiveness, strong defensive fundamentals and a slow-as-molasses pace has helped the Badgers consistently rank among the top defensive teams in the nation. This season is no different. Wisconsin's opponents have scored just 49.6 points per game, giving the Badgers the nation's top scoring defense

On the heels of one of the Badgers' finest defensive performances of the season -- one in which Wisconsin held the Big Ten's top statistical offense to just 50 points -- I thought it appropriate to see how they've fared against other top offenses. The chart after the jump shows statistics from games against the Badgers' five strongest offensive opponents. The teams' national rank in scoring offense is in parentheses next to each school name.

Opponent (offense rank) PPG PPG vs. UW PPG +/- FG% FG% vs. UW FG% +/-
North Carolina (1st) 84.5 60 -24.5 47.7% 42.2% -5.5%
UNLV (t-7th) 81.5 51 -30.5 47.4% 39.1% -8.3%
BYU (14th) 79.6 56 -23.6 47.7% 43.1% -4.6%
Indiana (t-20th) 78.4 50 -28.4 49.8% 45.7% -4.1%
Marquette (36th) 76.3 61 -15.3 46.1% 38.3% -7.8%

I know the Badgers play at a slow pace, but those numbers are pretty telling. Teams score far fewer points and shoot the ball significantly worse against Bo Ryan's bunch than on average. However, the Badgers did lose two of these games (@North Carolina, Marquette), so maybe the stifling defense isn't a foolproof winning formula. Still, playing that brand of basketball seems to keep the Badgers close in games that would be otherwise out of reach. It's also is absolutely vital in closing out games, as Indiana found out last night.

Hoops Links

Here's a recap for those who missed the game last night.

Here are some other tidbits on the Badgers win from Jeff Potrykus

Tom Oates labeled the game a "must-win."

Football Links

Running back/safety recruit Leo Musso (Waunakee) committed to the Badgers last night.

Unsurprisingly, the Badgers come in first in the postseason running back rankings over at the ESPN Big Ten blog.

Draftnik Tony Pauline gives brief scouting reports on Wisconsin's NFL hopefuls.

Russell Wilson might have a shot in Canadian football if he's unable to stick in the NFL.

Hockey Links

North Dakota hockey beat writer Brad Elliot Schlossman answered five questions about the team's upcoming series with UW.

Tyler Barnes is concerned with his play, but Mike Eaves seems patient with the sophomore.

UND is well aware of the impact Mark Zengerle and Justin Schultz can have on the ice.