Jordan Taylor's performance alone earns an 'A'. Going up against the No. 3 ranked defense in terms of point-per-possession, Wisconsin scored 1.22 points-per-possession Saturday as UW proved to have too many shooters for Ohio State to handle.
The scheme was remarkably simple for the entire second half. Taylor would take the ball up, and receive a ball screen. From there he would basically make the correct decision from whatever the defense proffered. If he was open to shoot, he pulled the trigger, connecting on 5 of 8 threes and 8-for-13 overall for 27 points. If he was trapped or hedged hard, Taylor found the open man and finished the game with seven assists.
His teammates converted on the excellent passing, knocking down 12 of 24 threes on the day and shooting 51 percent overall.
Down 15 with 13 minutes to play, Taylor orchestrated a comeback that erased that lead in just over three minutes of game clock.
As Ohio State coach Thad Matta said, he is not sure what OSU could have done defensively.
Taylor was just that unstoppable.
Josh Gasser continued his second-half resurgence, hitting four-of-five shots including all three 3-pointers. Mike Bruesewitz plunged the dagger of the game with 29 seconds left when he was left wide open and swished home his second 3-pointer.
Maybe it wasn't Wisconsin's most dominant game defensively. Ohio State scored well over the one point-per possession benchmark head coach Bo Ryan sets for his team. The Buckeyes shot 54.3 percent for the game and Jared Sullinger (19 points) and William Buford (21) had big games.
But the Badgers did enough defensively to beat the undefeated number one team in the country, a team with the third-most efficient offense in the country and had outscored its opponents by an average of 20 points per game. That says something.
Sullinger was held relatively in check, and Buford found things tougher once Mike Bruesewitz switched on to the Buckeye guard. UW held David Lighty 4.5 points below his season average. Jon Diebler, Ohio State's all-time three-point shooting leader, was held to nine points and just one triple.
Jordan Taylor was incredible, but the fact that he got key contributions from Bruesewitz, Gasser and Leuer were the difference. Taylor played a direct role in 26 of the 30 points during that 30-8 run and his teammates knocked down the shots.
After a stagnant first half, props to UW coach Bo Ryan and his squad for making the right adjustments to generate some scoring offense, primarily the ball screens that opened up space for the 3-point bucket. The Badgers limited their turnovers down the stretch, and took advantage of missed shots Ohio State had been knocking down earlier in the game. Shooting 51 percent against the No.1 team in the country is phenomenal and, like Tom Izzo said, can lead the Badgers to uncharted waters next month.
Say what you want about the UW's students and fans, but the electric atmosphere was something to behold. The crowd was rocking 30 minutes prior to the game and was big with the noise and energy it brought during that 30-8 run. After Ohio State stormed the court on No.1 Wisconsin four years ago, it was nice to see the Badgers return the favor.
MVP: Jordan Taylor – 27 points on 8-for-13 shooting, 5-for-8 from 3-point range, 6-for-9 from the free throw line, seven assists, one turnover, four rebounds and one block in 39 minutes. How much egg do you think are on the faces of the Bob Cousy voting committee now?