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Badger Bits: Jordan Taylor, "Control Freak"

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As much as Jordan Taylor means to Wisconsin, he's drawn a lot of criticism from armchair analysts (like yours truly) throughout the season because of his inconsistency and dropoff in numbers from his stellar 2010-11 campaign. Lately though, folks like myself have had to bite their tongues a bit, as Taylor put together two of his finest performances of the season -- both as a player and a leader -- in wins over Ohio State and Minnesota.

If you need further proof of Taylor's continuing importance to the Badgers, check out Luke Winn's Sports Illustrated piece on elite point guards and their abilities to possess the ball. Winn not only revists Taylor's knack for avoiding turnovers at all costs (he has fewer turnovers on the season than the combination of Marquis Teague and Tyshawn Taylor had in only their non-conference games), but points to a factor outside his control that may have contributed to his "decline."

Winn correctly identifies the departure of pick-and-pop targets Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil as a key reason for Taylor's struggles at times this season. Their absence has not only affected his assist numbers, but has also forced him to take more long jumpers (leading to a lower shooting percentage) and operate in the isolation more often. Of Taylor's 46 turnovers on the season, 16 have come in isolation situations.

Football Links

Former Michigan center and NFL draft prospect David Molk didn't mince words when asked if he was a better player than former Badger Peter Konz. (Insider account required)

Wisconsin's hire of new offensive coordinator Matt Canada earned grades of B and B- from the ESPN Big Ten team.

The offseason coaching staff turnover lost the Badgers another recruit.

Brian Bennett took a look at possible candidates to replace Russell Wilson and Aaron Henry.

Here's a Journal Sentinal guest blog from Bradie Ewing on his combine experience.

Hoops Links

Off Tackle Empire's Graham Filler discussed the Big Ten's NCAA Tournament outlook and picked his all-conference team.

Here's a giant list of Wisconsin's tournament projections from around the web, as provided by Dave Heller.

Hockey Links

Wisconsin is headed to Minneapolis to take on the Gophers. Chuck talked to Gophers writer Nathan Wells about the series.

Derek Lee will not be playing in the series due to lingering effects from a concussion.