Losing ugly lately at Wisconsin

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 15, 2012 - 6:02 AM

 The Badgers have a reputation for playing ugly basketball. But after early success, it hasn't produced a deep NCAA run recently.

hide

Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan

Photo: Andy Manis, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Everyone knows what Wisconsin basketball looks like. Close games, low scores, lots of whistles and a bunch of big Jordan Taylor baskets at the end of the shot clock.

Right?

Apparently not always.

Last Friday against Indiana in the Big Ten tournament, the Badgers showed they weren't so predictable after all. Wisconsin won by eight, but the contest felt lopsided all the way through. Perhaps most notable was the Badgers' final point total (79), more than they scored during any regular-season conference game and even more suprising because Taylor contributed only 12 points.

Sure, the senior guard and former Benilde-St. Margaret's standout hit four of the last six free throws, but Rob Wilson, who had scored no more than 11 points all season until suddenly exploding for 30 to lead the Badgers, did the bulk of the work.

In some ways, it bucked everything people think they know about Wisconsin basketball. So does a game like that answer those who have been critical of Wisconsin's style?

"I never heard anybody. Next question," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said curtly in response to that very question.

If the Badgers coach is sensitive to the criticism, it's not a big surprise. Wisconsin -- which begins NCAA tournament play as a No. 4 seed against Montana on Thursday -- is regularly positioned as one of the Big Ten's punching bags for negative feedback despite the sustained success of 14 consecutive NCAA tourney berths.

The most recent flak came from inside conference walls. Sports Illustrated's website recently published a story citing two anonymous Big Ten coaches giving uncensored, occasionally brash opinions on teams around the league. The analysis of Wisconsin was less-than-flattering, saying Taylor "likes to run and grab you" while the Badgers, as a whole, "cheat the game."

Taylor just shakes his head at that stuff.

"Criticism is just part of it," he said. "Everybody has critics; that's part of what makes playing fun. ... Me, I love it. It kind of adds fuel to the fire and ups the stakes. It's fun for me."

For Wisconsin, the "fun" probably is easier to talk about now that the Badgers safely have a spot locked up in the tournament and have a seed that puts them on a path to reach the Sweet 16 for the sixth time since 2000.

But it wasn't always so sure this season, as Ryan reiterated to media after the NCAA field was announced Sunday. The Badgers started the conference schedule a 1-3 after being touted as one of the league's best in the preseason. They followed with a six-game winning streak, but then lost three more times in a five-game span.

"It's definitely been a roller coaster," Taylor said. "Obviously, critics play a big part of that but the most important thing is just to try to get wins, and I think we responded to adversity as individuals and as a team all year long."

Wisconsin has had the same starting lineup for all 33 games this season, and that group includes three Minnesota natives: Taylor, big man Jared Berggren (10.5 points per game) and forward Mike Bruesewitz (5.5 ppg). Friday, they helped the Badgers put to death one demon by winning their first Big Ten tournament game since 2008.

"Where were you between '04 and '08?" Ryan retorted when asked about that drought. "Were you doing your job here?"

They'll have to do it a few more times to buck another trend: shrinking in the NCAA tournament as the games get bigger. The Badgers haven't made it as far as the Elite 8 since 2005. Some experts have the Badgers coming up short again, while ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Wisconsin in his Final Four.

But whatever the pundits say, the Badgers will just keep playing their game, whether people like it or not. Regardless of whether it's predicable or erratic, whether it's Taylor at the end or someone else, they have faith in the direction they're heading as the NCAA tournament starts.

"It's already different since we finally got a win [at the Big Ten tournament]," Taylor said "That's definitely big. It's a different group of guys, we've got a lot of new personalities. We've just got to find a way to get the job done."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 4
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 5 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 6
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Hughes 2
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 8 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 12
Boston - WP: C. Buchholz 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 0
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 6
Texas - LP: N. Cotts 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Veras 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: C. Villanueva 6 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: P. Neshek 9
Oakland - LP: S. Kazmir 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse 5 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 15
Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu 7 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 1
Washington - LP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: C. Anderson 6
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 0 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 1
Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Red Bull New York 0 FINAL
D.C. 2
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
Chivas USA 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Phoenix 77 FINAL
Minnesota 82
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close