Rapid Reaction: Butler

First impressions from fourth-seed Wisconsin's season-ending 61-54 defeat to eighth-seed Butler in the Southeast regional semifinal at New Orleans Arena Thursday night.

- The Badgers led the nation entering the weekend by giving up just 7.48 per game and making 82.3 percent of their free throws, both of which would set new NCAA records. Wisconsin played nothing like that during the first half against Butler, which crowded the paint and stayed aggressive defensively.

In the opening half, Wisconsin shot just 34.8 percent from the floor, committed eight turnovers and only dished out six assists. Wisconsin finished the game with nine assists and 11 turnovers, marking just the third time this season the Badgers made more mistakes with the ball - at UNLV (9-15); and vs. Milwaukee (11-13). As a result of the sloppy first half, Butler had a 15 to 1 advantage on points off turnovers.

"We just made plays that were uncharacteristic of us, trying to force some things," senior Jon Leuer said. "You've got to credit Butler, though. They did a good job defensively, and just made plays that we normally don't."

It also didn't help that junior Jordan Taylor started off slow. After shooting 2 of 16 from the floor against Kansas State, Taylor start 2 of 7 from the floor and made only 2 of 6 free throws. UW shot 4 of 8 in the opening 20 minutes, finishing 13 of 19 to fall short of the free throw record of 82.3 percent.

"It was just kind of one of those nights, the ball wasn't going through the hoop," said Taylor. "It's frustrating, definitely frustrating, especially when you end your season like that."

- Wisconsin was looking for some energy coming out of halftime to try to chip in to a 9-point Butler lead. Problem was that the Badgers settled too much for tough outside jump shots and when they had the open looks, didn't knock them down. Wisconsin didn't score for the first 5:57 in the second half, went point less for 9:07 and went without a field goal for 11:40, a span of 17 straight misses from the floor.

When Mike Bruesewitz finally made a field goal in the second half, the lead had swelled from 9 to 16.

It got so bad that the patented ‘swing offense' that got so much publicity this week for being deliberate with its shot selection, using back cuts, high pick and rolls and inside-outside action turned into a quick shot.

"Well, we touched the post four out of five times, come away with nothing," said UW coach Bo Ryan to the second half start. "You need to score. You need to dent and get numbers moving on the score board. And once we didn't score inside, I think the guys got a little gun-shy and then we started looking to hit some from the outside, and then we'd get some go in and out, and that didn't work. I really liked the way we touched the post, and you've got to come away with something, either a foul, a bucket or both."

- Wisconsin has relied all season on the production of Taylor and senior Jon Leuer, production that wasn't there tonight for the Badgers. Taylor finished with 22 points, but was just 6 of 19 from the field. Leuer ended his UW career on the sourest of notes. Not only did he foul out, Leuer, who was averaging a team-best 18.7 points per game, shot 1 of 12 from the floor and finished with only 3 points.

Wisconsin finished by shooting 30.4 percent (17 of 56) from the floor and 24.1 percent (7 of 29) from 3-point range.

"I mean, you've got Jon Leuer 1 for 12?" Ryan questioned. "He's a good player, very good player, and he works hard. There wasn't anything about some of those shots, he hit his first one, and he had some of the most wide-open threes. Nobody in our league -- he doesn't get those wide-open looks. Maybe he needed to be guarded a little closer."

- Wisconsin made Badger fans turn their TV back on when they went on a 17-4 run over a seven-plus minute stretch, bringing the score to 56-52 with 37 seconds left by using a full-court press to get turnovers and Taylor hitting some perimeter shots. But when the game turned into a free-throw contest, Butler put the nail in the coffin, hitting 5 of its last 6 free throws to keep the game at two possessions.

"We just needed to put a few more minutes together here tonight so we could keep dancing," Ryan said, "but the music stopped playing."

- Taylor's 22 points gives him 1,001 for his career, making him the 36th player in UW history and ninth player under Bo Ryan to reach that mark.

- In the last five NCAA Tournament appearances, Wisconsin has lost to five straight mid major opponents: UNLV ('07), Davidson ('08), Xavier ('09), Cornell ('10), Butler ('11).


Badger Nation Top Stories