Game Day Grades: Big Ten Final

CHICAGO - Wisconsin finally met its match. After dispatching two top-six teams Friday and Saturday, the size and length of No.10 Ohio State in the post and UW losing its shooting touch spelled doom in the tournament final. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: D

Wisconsin struggled to get any consistency going on offense in the second half which hurt them in the end. Wisconsin went 8-for-22 (36.4 percent) in the second half and 18-for-46 (39.1 percent) from the floor in the game.

Besides the Badgers failing to score a field goal in the last seven minutes of the game, Wisconsin didn't give its offense any second-chance opportunities. Wisconsin was only able to grab five offensive rebounds in the game and was only able to score four points off those opportunities.

In the two wins at the Big Ten Tournament, Wisconsin was able to find success down low. That was not the case in the finals with UW only scoring 22 points in the paint, as Ohio State did a good job of taking away inside looks and wouldn't let Ryan Evans beat them off the dribble.

Traevon Jackson was the lone UW player to score in double figures with 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting. Sam Dekker was second with eight points off the bench. Mike Bruesewitz, Ben Brust and Evans all had six points.

Wisconsin did a better job of taking care of the basketball with only nine turnovers.

Defense: C

The Badgers defense played well for most of the game and didn't necessarily allow the Buckeyes' offense get into any offensive rhythm. Ohio State went 20-for-52 (38.5 percent) from the field and an abysmal 1-for-16 (6.3 percent) from 3-point range.

Wisconsin struggled at times to contain junior Deshaun Thomas - who led the Buckeyes with 17 points – but the Badgers made him work by attempting 19 shots to get that total.

While the Badgers did a good job of defending the perimeter, Wisconsin couldn't slow Ohio State down low from scoring (Ohio State had 30 points in the paint) or off the glass (Ohio State converted 12 offensive rebounds into 13 points).

Wisconsin was able to force the Buckeyes into coughing the basketball up nine times and turn the Buckeyes nine turnovers into 11 points.

Overall: C

Ohio State made more plays down the stretch to pull out the victory but what hurt the Badgers is they went the final seven minutes with out scoring a field goal. Wisconsin had been shooting the basketball well the past two games and couldn't suffer a scoring drought against a good defensive team if it wanted to win. Unfortunately the Badgers were never able to regain the shooting touch that led them to wins over Michigan and Indiana the last two days.

Playing well in the first two tournament games, Evans couldn't get into a rhythm Sunday, partly due to finding himself in foul trouble and limited to 29 minutes. But even when he was in the game, the Buckeyes did a good job of taking away any lane for Evans to drive.

With Wisconsin struggling in the paint, the Badgers couldn't get anything going on the perimeter either – finishing 3-for-18 (16.7 percent) from three. The Badgers seemed tired down the stretch and didn't have enough gas in the tank. It may have been because of the two tough matchups the previous days, but they had chances and were unable make enough plays down the stretch to get it done.

Game MVP: Traevon Jackson. The only Badger who scored in double figures, Jackson hit some tough mid-range jumpers and didn't do anything to hurt the team. Jackson only turned the ball over once in the game, was able to dish out two assists, grabbed three rebounds and really pestered the tournament's most outstanding player in Aaron Craft. In order for the Badgers to have success in the tournament, Jackson doesn't have to do a lot; he just has to take care of the basketball and let the game come to him. If he does the Badgers should find success.


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