Vanderbilt's John Jenkin's shot hit the rim and hung up in the air for was wasn't quite an eternity, but at least enough time for me to think "Wow, that better not go in". It didn't and Ryan Evans muscled/pushed to grab the rebound, and the Badgers are heading to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row.
We probably too often uses phrases like "willed the win" or gutted out the victory", but I really can't come up with more apt descriptions for this Wisconsin win. But don't get the wrong idea. This was not an upset. It was not the case of an underdog upsetting the better playing team. No, this was Wisconsin basketball. Not pretty or glamorous, but effective.
Let's look at the last possession when Wisconsin was up by 2.
1:22 remains: Rob Wilson rebound after missed free throw
3o seconds later: Missed 3 pointer by Evans, Berggren offensive rebound
35 seconds later: Missed 3 pointer by Taylor, Gasser offensive rebound
:17 remain: Gasser misses front end of 1-and-1
:04: Jenkins misses 3 pointer, Evans grabs rebound
:02: Evans makes 1 of 2 free throws
:02 Breggren blocks inbound pass, Badgers Win!
Yes, not pretty. Taylor hit the "winning" 3 pointer with 1:45 left, but all those little things mentioned contributed to the win. 5 Badgers scored in double figures and we will need this balance again on Thursday. Evans started off hot again. Brust and Brueser hit some big 3's. I enjoyed the gritty display despite how nervous I was at the end of the game.
Last note on Saturday's win, can everyone stop sweating Vanderbilt now?!!! I'm looking at you Dick Vitale, Seth Davis, and almost all of the ESPN "experts". Has there ever been a more overrated 5 seed? Damn.
Up Next: #1 Seed Syracuse. This one will come down to shooting. I'm sure you're shocked by this. Wisconsin played pretty poorly when Vanderbilt went into the zone late in the 2nd half. Wisconsin will need Brust and Wilson to be zone-breakers. Wisconsin will control the tempo, but it will need to make shots to make this pay off. There is no reason we cannot take this game!
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 by Tony Brown ·
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