Consider it a tale of two halves. Wisconsin looked ugly in the first half in shooting 36.4 percent and turned it around to shoot 57.7 percent after halftime. The Badgers had shot under 40 percent for five straight haves until it hit 15-of-26 shots to really blow open the game, and it did so by getting the ball inside.
Wisconsin won because it pounded the ball into the paint, which is what UW will need to do to win games in the Big Ten. Wisconsin scored a season-best 36 points in the paint, getting most of those points by Ryan Evans (14) and Jared Berggren (13).
The 3-point shot continues to evade them. Wisconsin shot 3-of-17 from the perimeter and missed 13 straight at one point. Wisconsin opened the season with six straight wins shooting 47.2 percent from beyond the arc, but is on a downward trend. The 17 threes are a season low, and a number that reflects a big lead and success in the post.
UW finished with a 16 assists against six turnovers, improving its season assist-to-turnover ratio to 1.77, and made up for a sloppy game against Marquette. The same could be said for Jordan Taylor, who turned the ball over five times against the Golden Eagles but registered 10 assists to zero turnovers against the Phoenix.
Combined with his 15 points, Taylor posted just the second points and assists double-double by a UW player since 1993 (Gasser: 10 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists on Jan. 23, 2011). Taylor's shot still isn't quite there, meaning he's taking a lot of shots to get to his point totals, but UW will take numbers like that all night.
When the shot isn't falling, one can still be competitive by playing good defense. That's easy for a Bo Ryan coached team.
The Badgers held Green Bay to 42 points, marking the sixth time in nine games that UW has held its opponent below 50 points. UW leads the nation in scoring defense at 44.2 points per game. Wisconsin is 66-2 under Bo Ryan when holding opponents to fewer than 50 points and has held 13 consecutive foes to 65 or fewer points, the nation's longest such active streak.
The Badgers forced Green Bay into 16 turnovers - the second-most by a UW opponent this season- and translated that into a 21-0 advantage in points off turnovers. Berggren tied his career high with three blocks and Rob Wilson set a new career high with two blocks. UW also did a good defensive job on 7-1 sophomore Alec Brown, Green Bay's leading scorer shot 4-of-12 and scored only 10 points.
Rebounding is still an issue, surprising considering the amount of time players said it was addressed after the Marquette game. After building the Big Ten's best rebounding margin at plus-13.8 boards through the team's first six games, North Carolina out rebounded UW 42-29 and Marquette used a 12-point rebounding edge to have a 16-point edge in points in the paint and 12-point edge on second-chance points.
Green Bay out rebounded Wisconsin 36-35 and was dominating on the boards 16-7 at one point. The Phoenix had more offensive rebounds (15-13) and had a 17-13 edge in second-chance points.
Not the prettiest game to watch, but Wisconsin did enough to win its 42 consecutive home game against an unranked non-conference foe. Ryan did four subs in the first four-plus minutes, saying guys didn't look comfortable with things gone over in the scouting report. That led to Wisconsin getting an edge in bench points and having many guys in the mix early to build some confidence.
Wisconsin also shot 13-of-19 from the free throw line, second most this season makes and attempts this season.
MVP: Berggren. The junior forward shot a high percentage (6-of-8), had four steals, three blocks, only one turnover and was one of the key players responsible for making Brown uncomfortable from the start of the game.