Game Day Grades: California

MADISON - Shooting over 50 percent from the field and finding its aggressiveness on the offensive and defensive glass, Wisconsin turned in a near complete performance in a home blowout victory over California. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: B

The Badgers missed their first five shots of the game, four of which were three-point attempts. The reason why I bring this up is that the Badgers didn't try and feed the basketball down low. The three's Wisconsin took weren't bad shots but I think the Badgers rely too much on the three at times. It would have been nice to see them try and get Jared Berggren the basketball down low to see if they could open up other parts of the offense. Wisconsin had 28 points in the paint. The Badgers went 7-for-21 from three in the game 30-for-58 (51.7 percent) from the floor.

The Badgers had four players score in double figures. Ben Brust led the way with 22 points, Berggren had 18, and Ryan Evans and Sam Dekker had 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Brust was very effective on the offensive end. He went 3-for-6 from three and he went 9-for-13 overall from the floor. Besides shooting the basketball efficiently he also grabbed five rebounds and able to dish out four assists.

The Badgers were able to go on a 14-0 run in the first half that helped the Badgers take control of the game. Dekker was able to help get the run going, scoring six of the Badgers' first 8 points. He knock down his first shot (a three) and attacked the hoop after he stole the ball and converted a three-point play on the next possession.

Defense: B

Wisconsin's defense forced the Bears to take some tough shots, resulting in California shooting 18-for-47 (38.3 percent) from the floor. Besides forcing the Bears into some tough shots on offense, Wisconsin's defense also forced California into some sloppy plays on offense, which led to 23 Bears turnovers. The Badgers showed active hands and recorded 16 steals (Mike Bruesewitz led the team with five steals). With the Bears turning the basketball over at a high rate, the Badgers were able to convert their turnovers into 25 points.

The Badgers' defense did a good job of boxing out and making sure the Bears didn't have many second-chance opportunities. California was only able to pull down nine offensive rebounds, which led to seven-second chance points for California.

California only had two players score in double figures, Justin Cobbs had 11 points and Allen Crabbe led the Bears with 25 points. Crabbe came in averaging 22 points a game and the Badgers didn't seem to have an answer for Crabbe. Crabbe went 8-for-15 from the field, was able to drive the basketball and managed to get to the free throw line going 7-for-8.

Even though the Badgers were able to force the Bears into 23 turnovers, the Badgers committed 19 personal fouls that sent the Bears to the free throw line 26 times. California ended up going 17-for-26 in the game.

Overall: B

This is the kind of game the Badgers needed to respond with after their loss to Virginia on Wednesday. There is still work for Wisconsin to do but they shot the basketball well and the defense was able to force some sloppy plays.

The point guard play needs to improve. I know there is going to be struggles at times, but neither George Marshall nor Traevon Jackson recorded a point but each had three assists and Jackson had two turnovers. Jackson received his second consecutive start and did well running the offense at times, but other times he miss read the play, which led to his two turnovers.

Turning the basketball over 13 times, the Badgers need to take care of the ball better, as some of the turnovers were due to miscommunication. Hopefully as the season continues, the Badgers can limit their turnovers down, because Brust having four turnovers and Dekker having three turnovers aren't productive for the offense.

Wisconsin was able to win the rebounding battle against California by pulling down 36 rebounds to the Bears 30. Wisconsin had 14 offensive rebounds, which led to 18 second-chance points. The Badgers struggled to get on the boards against Virginia so it was good to see the bounce back. The Badgers did a good job of boxing out, as Berggren and Bruesewitz each had eight rebounds.

Game MVP: Ben Brust. Brust played a great game, leading the team in scoring with 22 points and had good shot selection. Brust missed his first two shots of the game but went 9-for-11 for the rest of the game. Brust drove the basketball when he could and made Cal pay by making connecting on his three's if the Bears' defense sagged off of him.

Brust has been playing really well as of late and the way he's been playing will only help his confidence once the Badgers get into Big Ten play.


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