MADISON—When Brian Butch steps onto the court, the Kohl Center faithful erupts into cheers.
When Butch scores six points in less than two minutes, the crowd is on their feet with excitement at the potential the 6-foot-11 freshman forward brings to the Badgers.
In Wisconsin's 77-44 victory over Penn, Butch along with the Badger big men provided needed bursts of offensive power that coach Bo Ryan referred to as a "banana" offense with the bursts coming for various players at different times.
Penn held senior forward Mike Wilkinson to two points in the first half, but Wilkinson exploded in the second half, scoring 17 points including a three pointer from the top of the key that impressed Penn coach Fran Dumphy.
"I think he's a good example of what Wisconsin basketball is about—just solid, makes few mistakes," Dumphy said. "The one three that was ridiculous. I thought we were right in his face, there was just no way the ball could go in the basket and it did … I think that just speaks to the kind of solid player that he is."
Junior forward Ray Nixon provided the offensive burst in the first half with eight points while Butch scored eight in the second.
Ryan said diverse scoring is not a reflection of his subbing method during the game. Nine of the eleven Badgers had double-digit minutes with Wilkinson, sophomore forward Alando Tucker and sophomore guard Kammron Taylor tallying up most of the minutes. Instead, Ryan said Tucker and Wilkinson are "identified" players, making it difficult for them to get shots. Tucker finished with eight points, seven coming in the first half.
"When somebody doesn't get touches it isn't necessarily because they are not out there on the floor," Ryan said. "If they're [Tucker and Wilkinson] not getting touches, somebody else's got to get them. That's the way we've always played. That's the way we've always coached. We'll get it to somebody."
Ryan said when it comes to a point spread as diverse as the Badgers created in their first three games, the important thing is the results.
"When they [points] come, they could be the banana offense—comes in bunches," Ryan said. "It's okay with us as long as it comes."
Wisconsin's "banana offense" splits the scoring
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