The name of the game tonight for Wisconsin was being unselfish with the basketball. The Badgers were able to dish out 16 assists against Bradley. Jordan Taylor led the way with six assists and scored a season-high 15 points. It was nice to see Taylor be a little more aggressive, especially with the future opponents coming up that the Badgers will require Taylor to be more of a scorer.
Jared Berggren didn't have a rebound against UMKC but that's because he was doing a good job of boxing out his man to allow the guards for Wisconsin to get the rebounds. A stark change tonight, as Berggren set a new career high with 10 rebounds to go along with his seven points.
One area of concern is the 10 turnovers the Badgers had, tying a season high. At times in the first half, the Badgers got sloppy with the basketball and didn't make good decisions. What's even more uncharacteristic of the turnovers is that Taylor had four of the 10. It's not often you see Taylor turn the ball over that many times.
Wisconsin went 25-for-59 (42.4 percent) and got to the charity stripe 12 times, making eight of their free throws.
The defense played well tonight against Bradley. They were able to force the Braves in to coughing the ball up 17 times. Ten of their 17 turnovers came off of Badger steals. Ryan Evans led the way with four steals. Evans was aggressive through out the game on the defensive side of the floor. He was able to put together one of his more impressive games of the season.
Bradley only had one first half assist against the Badgers. That is to deal with a little bit of Bradley being selfish with the basketball but also Wisconsin doing a good job of limiting the passing lanes in the first half, which resulted in Bradley taking and forcing shots they didn't want to take.
With Bradley only having four assists in the game, it's clear that the Badgers didn't allow Bradley to get in too much of an offensive rhythm, which was good to see. That is one thing that has been consistent throughout the year so far with the defense. They haven't allowed opponents settling into much of a rhythm. That will change with their upcoming games and will be interesting to see how they adjust when an offense finds a groove.
Wisconsin did a good job of limiting Bradley to only one shot per possession tonight, as the Braves went 18-for-53 (34 percent) from the floor.
There were some teaching moments for coach Bo Ryan and his Badgers but nothing too concerning popped up during the game. It seems that they're building a solid rotation for the year.
This was Ben Brust's worst game of the year and he didn't do anything wrong. His shots just weren't falling for him, ending up with four points on 1-for-6 shooting. He had two assists but, most importantly, didn't turn the ball over. On one of his two assists he made a nice pass to Frank Kaminsky. Brust was driving to the hoop and two defenders collapsed on him which left Kaminsky wide open for the easy dunk.
Wisconsin was able to get 11 points out of its bench with Brust, Kaminsky, Rob Wilson, and Duje Dukan scoring. The bench has done a decent job of scoring so far this year but with the competition starting to improve, Wisconsin will need guys besides Brust to score.
I guess last year we were spoiled by good free throw shooting, which ended up being 81.8 percent. This year the Badgers are shooting 65 percent from the charity stripe. I know it's still early but the free throw percentage will have to improve as the season progresses.
Game MVP: Ryan Evans. The game ball can either go to Josh Gasser or Ryan Evans tonight, but I'll go with Evans as he did a little bit of everything tonight. Not only did he have 15 points but he also had eight rebounds, four steals, and two blocks. Evans used his size and length to his advantage against Bradley. He was able to knock down his first shot of the night and after that he was off and running. He finished going 6-for-12 from the field. He played with so much confidence and played with discipline that Coach Ryan has to be pleased. It was Evans' best game on the season so far and hopefully this game will give Evans some more confidence that he can fill the stat sheet on a consistent basis.