Looking at the stats from the second half of Saturday’s game, one would think that Arizona was not defending well.
However, that wasn’t the case as much as it was simply Wisconsin making just about everything.
Sean Miller can’t remember coaching against a team that shot like Wisconsin did Saturday.
“Especially against our defense, who is very good, and especially in a game of this magnitude, what they did in the second half,” Miller said. “And you know what? Sometimes a kid has a bad night.
“A team has a bad night, and you miss some open ones that you got, and it went in the reverse order for them in the second half. They probably made some tough ones, but they're capable. They're a great shooting team.
“They're our game's best offense. To beat them, you have to both be able to score, which we did tonight, but you also have to have a solution in guarding their front court. Their three, four and five are spectacular players, especially two of them.”
Miller tried nearly every defensive strategy he could have gone to, but nothing seemed to cool down the Badgers.
“Emptied the bucket, and it was a big one,” Miller said. “You know, I think we've tried everything. Going into the game, because we played them last year, we tried the best we could to hedge every on-ball screen that happened with Kaminsky. We did an excellent job, in my opinion, of that.
“That's one of the reasons that our defense was organized and we were good at the half. Rondae did a really good job in the first half when he was on Kaminsky, but he's not going to be able to just pitch a shutout. The problem was he can't guard two people.
“When Sam Dekker does what he did, and I think some of the shots were very well defended, when he does that with Kaminsky, maybe Kentucky is that school that can beat them. But I'm telling you, I don't know if there is another one out there when they're clicking with that one-two punch.
“By the way, Nigel Hayes is pretty good, and he'll keep you honest making a three as well. Same thing with post trap. Hey, you've got to double team Kaminsky. You can do that a few times and get away with it.
“Eventually when that ball gets out, everybody on the court can shoot it, and they get you with an open three that breaks your back. I think they had two threes at the half. Think about that. Two made threes at the half, one, and they had ten in the second half.”
Going into the game, Miller knew that there would be some matchups that Wisconsin would take advantage of.
“We weren't letting them shoot, so I credit them,” Miller said. “It was a very difficult match-up for us. I wish I could have told you before the game, but I didn't do that.
“I knew before the game that we would have to play in many ways the perfect defensive game, and by the way, need some good fortune. Like maybe one of them has a bad night, because they have some answers that we don't really have a solution towards.
“If you would have told me that we would play the game with 10 turnovers, that we would have one more rebound than them, that we would go 28-30 from the foul line and shoot 56% from the floor, I would tell you that we were going to win. But their second half offense was spectacular, extraordinary, and they deserve the credit for that.”
At the end of the day, Arizona simply didn’t have an answer for Wisconsin’s two best players getting hot from the field.
“In last year's game we jumped on them like they jumped on us, and then I thought the rest of the half kind of favored them,” Miller said. “At halftime of last year's game, even though we were up three, I can remember that it didn't feel right.
“Obviously it became a great battle in the second half. If you think about it, for the last 16 minutes of the first half today, we were clearly the better team. I mean, we outscored them by about 10 or 11 points, so I believe we felt good.
“We also liked how our game plan was working. What hurt us in the second half was right away that other player jumped on us from three, making threes. Kaminsky made one, but he's a great player. He really is.
“I think every one of these guys in college thinks they're a pro. They've got two of them. Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, I know they're pros. And I don't mean that like Sam should leave. I'm just telling you he's a great player, and everybody in the Big Ten knows it, and we know it.”