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Game notes: Wisconsin 75, Penn State 74

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Glad these game are only 40 minutes long and not, like, 40 minutes and 30 seconds.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 11 Big Ten Tournament - Penn State v Wisconsin Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers won on Thursday night, and even looked good and like they were having fun at times, and that’s really all that matters but boy howdy are there still a couple of things this team needs to work on if they’re going to try and make a run in the NCAA Tournament.

The offense looked really good and had their highest AdjO rating since the Christmas Day beatdown of Michigan State. The defense...could still use a little touch up. The Badgers had trouble with a penetrating Sam Sessoms, who was 7-of-11 from the field with all seven of his makes coming at the rim, and couldn’t get a stop at the end of the game until the very final possession.

Luckily (I think?) there’s no time to dwell on any of that because the Badgers are right back on the court Friday night against Iowa! Before we get to that, let’s take a look at some of the things I found interesting from Thursday night’s win over Penn State.

  • The Badgers scored 75 points which is the seventh most they’ve ever scored in any Big Ten Tournament game.
  • Wisconsin is 8-0 when hitting that scoring mark on the season.
  • Thank the good Lord! The Badgers knocked down 12 3-pointers, going 12-for-23 (52.2%) from deep. It was an extremely impressive shooting performance from Wisconsin especially when you take into account that they’re playing in a football stadium and the three prior games of the tournament featured dreadful shooting.
  • UW’s 12 triples tied as the team’s second-most in Big Ten tournament history and most since knocking down 12 vs. Northwestern in 2017.
  • UW’s 52.5% from three was also the team’s second-highest in a BTT game and best mark since shooting 60.0% (9-of-15) vs. Iowa in 1999.
  • The Badgers dished out 18 assists, equaling the second-highest mark in UW’s Big Ten tournament history.
  • D’Mitrik Trice was particularly giving, doling out nine assists all by himself. That tied his career high and the Badgers’ Big Ten tournament record. Trice also only turned the ball over twice and with his seven points passed Jon Leuer for 17th place on Wisconsin’s all-time scoring list.
  • UW went 13-for-15 at the free throw line, improving its season FT percentage to 76.4% (343-449). That figure would equal last year’s team for the second-highest mark in school history.
  • Senior Nate Reuvers tallied eight points, to go with three rebounds, three assists and two blocks and the game-clinching steal with two seconds left. He also nailed both of his three-point attempts and looked much improved on both ends of the floor. Seeing the ball go into the hoop can do wonders for a player’s confidence. With Micah Potter off his game (and maybe cramping up some?) it was really nice to see Reuvers step up and play well.
  • Aleem Ford had a masterful performance shooting the ball against PSU. He scored 17 points and made 5-of-6 three pointers and with a usage rate of only 8% (!!!) he was letting the game come to him and didn’t force anything. If this is the version of Ford we are going to see this March, this team has a whole new ceiling.
  • Brad Davison was everywhere. He scored 15 points, had five assists, two rebounds and was energized and animated all game. His diving timeout/ball securing play to end the game was the epitome of a Brad Davison Play and should go down in history with Michael Flowers throwing the ball in the air against Texas as the premier end of game/diving out of bounds plays for UW.
  • Freshman Jonathan Davis scored 10 points, reaching double digits for the eighth time this season and threw down a monster, one-handed dunk (pictured at the top of the post).
  • Tyler Wahl didn’t contribute much offensively but was active on defense and recorded two blocks and a steal. He got into some foul trouble and never really seemed to find his footing on the offensive side of the court.
  • As mentioned above, Potter didn’t really play well and Trevor Anderson ably guided the team while Trice was on the bench. Although, Anderson did have an uncharacteristic turnover.
  • UW, as a team, only had eight turnovers while forcing 10 from Penn State.
  • The Badgers had 1.17 PPP while the Nittany Lions had 1.16 PPP.
  • Wisconsin shot 50% at the rim and Wahl had a particularly rough night there, going 3-for-7.