Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wednesday Bball Goodness

The Wisconsin Badger's Men's Basketball redeemed themselves Tuesday night and helped to cement themselves alone atop the Big Ten Conference with a 72-43 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions tonight in Madison.

After the embarassingly abysmal performance last weekend, the Badgers had a lot to prove and did so early. Each team scored 5 within the first 1:30 and from there the game was over. The Badgers went on a 21-0 run over almost ten minutes of the first half and never looked back. Wisconsin took advantage of the space they were given behind the 3 point arc, shooting 8-16 in the first half. 26 of the first 44 shots the Badgers took were from 3 point range.

Penn State committed 18 turnovers. While the Badgers accounted for 7 steals, the Nittany Lions also just plain threw the ball away too many times for comfort. Geary Claxton accounted for all of Penn State's first 9 points and 11 of the first 14. He led the team with a total of 17 on the night.

It was 40-18 at half and freshman Ray Nixon was 3-3 from three point range. With two of Wisconsin's reserves declared academically ineligible for the rest of the season, there were doubts as to whether the Badgers could recover from the rough week.

The Badger's Ray Nixon celebrates after a 3. Photo from jsonline.com

With Michigan handing #12 Michigan State another loss, the Big Ten picture looks like this:
#21 Wisconsin 5-1 15-4
#7 Illinois 4-2 18-2
#16 Ohio State 4-2 14-2
Michigan 4-2 14-3
Iowa 4-2 15-5
#11 Indiana 4-2 12-4
#12 Michigan State 3-3 15-5
Northwestern 3-4 10-8
Penn State 2-4 10-7
Purdue 1-6 7-11
Minnesota 0-6 9-8

Now I know Conference standings aren't indicative of the overall landscape, but every time I look at this, the rankings make me laugh.

Up next Wisconsin plays at Michigan, who'll be pumped after tonight's upset and then hosts Indiana.

Also fun tonight....
Hack will be happy to note that the Gamecocks upset Florida, handing them their second straight loss. Conference losses at that. Also, South Carolina was 1-4 coming into this game, sitting on the bottom of the SEC East.

You know it's bad when your coach compares you to how bad you were in preseason.... "We're right back to where we were before the season started," Donovan said. "We've got to be able to prove ourselves. I think it's very, very evident, we're not a Top Five, Top 10, Top 15 team."

Though Florida went up 15-6 early on some nice 3s, South Carolina went on a 20-6 run, showing they weren't looking to pay for Florida's loss to Tennessee on Saturday.

We also had 7-9 Marshall beat the mighty Mountaineers of West Virigina for the second straight year and Seton Hall upset the NC State Wolfpack. Seton Hall led for all but the first two minutes and was up by as many as 23 at one point in the game.

3 comments:

Newspaper Hack said...

The Carolina men's basketball team was supposed to be last in the conference the year I covered them. Not only did they do well in the regular season, they made the SEC tourney semis. Then they punked out and lost to Memphis in the first round of the NCAAs, but that happens.

Newspaper Hack said...

Oh, yeah -- I just wanted to point out that beating Penn State isn't a big deal when JoePa is the starting point guard. The arthritis hurts the hell out of his jump shot.

Nicole said...

Hey, I admitted it wasn't necessarily a big, quality conference win. I'm just saying after the Bison, I'll take whatever excitement I can get.


Also, that's a fabulous visual. I wonder if he's got any ups.