On a scale of importance, college exhibition games rank pretty low. A summer international tour probably ranks even lower. So I'm not going to overreact to the first game of Wisconsin's Canadian tour this month, a 95-82 loss to Carleton University on Wednesday night.
But if there were any game to react to, this would be it. The Badgers were up against legit competition, which will end up being closer in quality to the regular season opposition Wisconsin faces this year than we realize.
Carleton certainly proved worthy of its reputation as the top basketball program to the north. Using the internationally-mandated 24-second shot clock to their advantage in their own gym, the Ravens used a 12-0 run to seize control of the game midway through the first half and never looked back.
Guard Philip Scrubb, the two-time CIS player of the year, scored a game-high 30 points and added 12 assists to lead Carleton.
It wasn't all bad for Wisconsin. Sam Dekker caught fire in the second half en route to four triples, 28 points, and seven rebounds to lead the Badgers. In a short bonus scrimmage after the game, Bronson Koenig hit a last-second jumper to secure a Badger "win."
"As a team, we defended well in the first half but let (Wisconsin) play to their strengths the rest of the way," Scrubb said.
Even in a loss, Wisconsin's play left Carleton fans appreciative:
Very impressed with speed and ball movement of @BadgerMBB. Easy to see why they're a perennial Big-10 contender. #playfast— Steve Stringer (@stevestringer22) August 22, 2013
Though the last-minute live streaming event didn't work out, those following Patrick Herb (@BadgerMBB) and others on Twitter, could keep tabs on the action.
My first impressions were that the Badgers have a long way to go on defense. No surprise there since the rotation up front is still unsettled and inexperienced. No one on UW's roster jumps out at you as a great individual defender and Carleton took advantage of that. The impressive team defense Bo Ryan rebuilds almost every year takes time, but it will be tough to match last year's defense.
Additionally, I glanced at the box score and found a few surprises. In our preview series this week, I told everyone to look out for which freshmen emerges this week, but it was Duje Dukan's 21 minutes that caught my eye. He played almost as much as Nigel Hayes (13 mins), Bronson Koenig (7) and Vitto Brown (2) combined, scoring 10 points.
Other items we highlighted this week were Frank Kaminsky's rebounding and Josh Gasser's health. Without actually seeing the game, the early returns were a mixed bag in my opinion. Despite scoring 14 points, Kaminsky only grabbed four rebounds. Meanwhile, Gasser only scored one bucket and had an early turnover, one of 13 on the night for Bucky.
On the bright side, Gasser successfully played 12 minutes in his return, which is at the high end of Ryan's expectations for the junior guard for the trip. To me that says he is coming along just fine.
But as I said earlier, there's no need to go overboard analyzing this result.
The Badgers take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees Thursday night. In case you were wondering, the nickname is a racing term for the horse that breaks out of the gates first. Like Carleton, Ottawa already hammered TCU this summer. Thursday's game is expected to be streamed live here, though it's on the same site that failed Wednesday so beware.
Also, Carleton plays Syracuse on Friday, looking to complete a sweep of its NCAA exhibition opponents. Sad, yet true.
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More from Bucky's 5th Quarter:
- Wisconsin hockey recruiting: Badgers' 2014 forward class has red flags after Dvorak decommitment
- Wisconsin practice report: Joel Stave takes 1st-team reps, Tanner McEvoy plays wide receiver
- What to Watch in Canada, Part III: Josh Gasser's health
- What to Watch in Canada, Part II: Emergence of freshmen
- What to Watch in Canada, Part I: Frank Kaminsky's rebounding