Game Day Grades: Northwestern

Continuing to improve its NCAA Tournament resume, No.12 Wisconsin outlasted Northwestern, 78-63, Sunday to finish the home slate undefeated and properly honor its six seniors. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: B

UW's offense was ‘A' caliber in the first half. The Badgers scored 43 points on just 27 possessions and shot 65 percent for the half.

But it was tougher going in the second half. Wisconsin shot 47 percent in the second half but went stretches of three and five minutes without a bucket. Fortunately for UW, they built a big enough lead in the first half to withstand the cold spells and remain in the lead.

Wisconsin finished the game shooting 57 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range.

Defense: B

Northwestern won't be going to the NCAA tournament this year. The Wildcats are quite used to that, because they've never gone to an NCAA tournament.

But Northwestern's offense isn't what's holding the program back. That much is clear. The Wildcats got out to a blistering start from long range, making seven of nine three point attempts in the first half. They came back down to earth in the second half, but still finished with a 52.4 percent mark from three-point range. It often didn't matter if the Badgers had good defensive position.

"They must practice shooting over mannequins," UW head coach Bo Ryan said.

Overall: B

Not the prettiest performance, but an efficient one to give Wisconsin a perfect home slate in 2010-11. Wisconsin limited Northwestern's production to just four players, but were beaten by a lot of tough shots and a couple open looks from the perimeter that helped keep the Wildcats in the game.

But for every big shot the Cats hits, Wisconsin answered with one right back, especially coming from Leuer in the paint or Nankivil or Taylor on the perimeter. Wisconsin was pushed in the second half, but those big shots made sure the Badgers never trailed.

Plus, there's something about Northwestern that gives Wisconsin motivated from the start. The Badgers' 43-point first half was tied for the second-most they've scored in a first half this year and two points from the 45 they hung on the Wildcats last time they played.

MVP: Wisconsin's senior class. All six Wisconsin seniors saw playing time and finished their careers with a 61-6 record at the Kohl Center. They were 32-1 at the Kohl Center as upperclassmen.

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