Game Day Grades: Samford

MADISON - Enjoy a week off before the grind of the Big Ten season starts, Wisconsin's final tuneup went as expected, overwhelming Samford with its size and talent in a 36-point victory. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: A

If it weren't for Wisconsin's size advantage against Samford, the game could have been a little closer. That being said, Wisconsin did rebound well on the offensive end and finished on its put-back opportunities. The Badgers shot 58.1 percent in the first half (18-for-31) and made all but one of their free-throw attempts (5-for-6). The second half was decent for the Badgers, too, finishing 52.5 percent (31-for-59) in the game.

When the Bulldogs switched to a 2-3 zone, the Badgers adapted and shot them out of it pretty quickly. UW's three-point shooting was excellent in the game, 6-for-10 in the first half and 12-for-22 in the game. The Badgers' 54.5 percent from three-point range was their best percentage of the season, as UW has now shot 50.0 percent or better from long range in back-to-back games

Frank Kaminsky (16 points) and Mike Bruesewitz (13 points) each shot the ball well the whole game; both were 6-for-7 from the field. Evans, Dekker and Berggren also scored double figures. Bench points were also landslide in the Badgers' favor (38-3).

The offense turned the ball over once in the first half, and finished with six giveaways.

Defense: A-

Wisconsin held Samford to shoot just 35 percent from the field and while Wisconsin did give quite a few open looks, Samford could only manage six offensive rebounds with Wisconsin closing out rebounding lanes. At times the Badgers looked slow trying to defend the Bulldogs' guards on the dribble penetration, but Berggren, Evans and Kaminsky used their height advantage to block or change Samford's shots inside the paint. The Badgers had six blocked shots as well as six steals in the game, as Samford managed only 18 points in the paint.

Wisconsin gave up seven three-pointers in the game, four of them in the second half, and most were pretty open shots. The Bulldogs were held to very few second chances (only two second-chance points) on offense because UW was tough on the boards (13 offensive and 30 defensive). UW did cause 10 turnovers, but made up for it with all the missed shots they were causing.

Overall: A

Wisconsin came in and did what they had to do against an overmatched opponent. The Badgers played well on offense, notching 21 assists on 31 made field goals. Defensively they could have played tighter, but they held Samford to a low shooting percentage and created double-digit turnovers and forced 10 turnovers.

Samford only scored four points in the paint in the first half and finished with 18, compared to Wisconsin's 32 points in the paint. Wisconsin owned the paint because of its size advantage, but kicked it out for a three when they were doubled in the low block. UW looked sloppy a few times in the second half, but got away with a few things against a weaker opponent that they might not against a Big Ten team. Bo Ryan stopped the play from getting stagnate by using subs frequently.

Wisconsin put together a good nonconference season devoid of any ‘bad' losses and will now look to use what they improved on when Big Ten conference play starts for them against Penn State.

MVP: Mike Bruesewitz. Bruesewitz didn't miss a shot until the second half while scoring 13 points in the game. It will be important to have him ready for Big Ten play because of his physicality inside and his occasional outside jumpers. If they can keep him healthy the lineup will be helped by the less physical Sam Dekker as the sixth man.

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