March 9, 2009

Good, bad and ugly from Indiana win

MADISON, Wis. - After a loss to Minnesota last Wednesday, the Wisconsin men's basketball team found itself back on the NCAA tournament bubble. However, after the blowout win against Indiana Sunday evening, the Badgers seem to be on the right track towards tournament play.

Before UW heads to Indianapolis to defend its Big Ten tournament crown, takes a look back at the good, bad and ugly from Sunday's win.

The good

Overall play of seniors:

On a day that all four of UW's seniors were recognized once more in front of the home crowd, it was only appropriate for the veterans to have a major impact on the game. Joe Krabbenhoft, Marcus Landry, Kevin Gullikson and Morris Cain combined for 35 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists on 11-for-23 shooting.

"I thought they handled their minutes well," UW head coach Bo Ryan said following Sunday's game. "They were very proud to have a Wisconsin uniform on and to wrap up their career at home and be a part of what they accomplished, be a part of what's transpired here over their four years.

"It's pretty neat stuff. I know a lot of people would love to be in their shoes."

Final five minutes of the first half:

For the first 15 minutes of the opening frame, the Hoosiers, much like they did in the first meeting, hung with the Badgers. In fact, they had cut UW's lead to six with just over five minutes to play before Wisconsin went on a 14-3 run to end the half.

"They got into the depth with us a little bit," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said after the game. "We weren't nearly as good getting our hands up on shots. We can't be a step off. We've got to get up into people and we've got to force them to make the next pass.

"Wisconsin does such a great job, they are as confident at the end of the shot clock as they are in the beginning. That's one of their strengths. You can never relax."

Free throw shooting:

In a game that saw 46 personal fouls called, free throw shooting was obviously going to play an instrumental role in the outcome. While the game was not close in the end, it was still good to see the Badgers convert on 26 of their 32 attempts from the line.

Krabbenhoft, who finished with a career high 19 points, hit 9-of-10 shots from the charity stripe to lead the Badgers.

The bad

Landry's turnovers:

This may be a little nitpicky, but Landry was directly responsible for four of UW's six total turnovers in the game. Those miscues were widely overshadowed in large part because of his six assists, but the fact that the senior forward still arose in the post game press conference when Landry acknowledged his turnovers.

"Marcus had six assists tonight," Jason Bohannon said. "He did a great job of passing out of the post when he had the double team. We're a dangerous team when we're able to do that."

To which Landry quietly responded:

"I had four turnovers too J-Bo."

The ugly


In the first half, the Badgers only fouled Indiana six times. But in the second half, UW hacked the Hoosiers 15 times and put them in the bonus midway through the second half. While the game was never really in question during the second half that is something Wisconsin cannot do in close tournament games to come.

"In the second half there was a lot of action that resulted in fouls," Ryan said. "A lot of free throws taken, but we stayed true to our tasks. We were trying to take care of the ball and take good shots."

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