Notebook: Ironing out the Wrinkles

After a sloppy victory against Mercer, Wisconsin takes small steps forward in a number of offensive areas.

MADISON, Wis. – Granted, it may be only Wisconsin's second game of the season, fourth if you count exhibition play, but the Badgers have yet to show any signs of playing a complete 40 minutes of basketball. Even so, Wisconsin is 2-0 after easily handling Mercer this past Sunday and beating UW-Green Bay by 17 tonight and that's all that matters.

"When you can start the season off 2-0, any team would be happy with that," senior Kammron Taylor said. "We're not going to be overlooking anybody."

After Wisconsin had comfortably built a 21-point lead late in the first half, the Badgers seemed to take their foot off the accelerator, slowly allowing the Phoenix to get back in the game. With the momentum they started generating at the end of the first, Green Bay came out in the second half with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 11. Wisconsin did counter with 13-4 run of their own to put Green Bay back at an arm's length, but it was the defensive breakdowns that concerned the Badgers.

"There were a couple times in transition that they got some easy baskets on us," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "[UW-Green Bay] had a little streak there where they cut into the lead a little with those fast breaks. Anytime that you can keep distance, thay's obviously what you want to do.

"It's not that anybody let up," Ryan added. "It's just that we didn't identify and cover our guys at that time."

The night wasn't all bad for the Badgers, as Wisconsin shot much better from the perimeter. In addition to making nine of their first 15 shots (60 percent) in the game, Wisconsin made eight threes and shot a solid 42 shooting percentage from long distance.

"I thought our guys moved the ball well [and] the score showed that we were doing some things well," Ryan said.

Out-Rebounded?

One surprising statistic from tonight's game was the fact that UW-Green Bay grabbed seven more rebounds than the Badgers. With nobody on their team taller than six feet nine inches, it begs the question if Wisconsin was out-worked on the boards tonight. When asked about it, Bo Ryan thought the Badgers were active on the boards and pointed to the 15 missed free throws as part of the high statistic.

"How many rebounds did they get with us missing the second free throw," Ryan questioned. "I thought it did. If you take those away, I thought we did a decent job on the glass."

In-State Battles

With tonight's game against the Phoenix, Bo Ryan and the Badgers begin their annual battle through Wisconsin's Division I teams. In Ryan's five previous seasons, the Badgers are 13-2 in games against Marquette, UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee. With their win tonight, Wisconsin is now 11-0 against the Phoenix in games played in Madison.

With the Badgers also playing at Marquette (December 9th) and hosting UWM (December 13th), Ryan is looking forward to games because of the type of competition and preparation these games serve for the Big Ten season.

"These games are always going to be a dogfight," Ryan said. "When two teams are playing that hard, contact happens. I think these state games always help us for the Big Ten. It doesn't necessarily matter what the score is, but how hard they are playing on each possession. It's hard to get into a flow when each team is battling on every possession."

Offensive MVP: Michael Flowers was an animal in the first half, scoring 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting in 16 minutes on the court. But whatever the case, Flowers disappeared in the second 20 minutes, failing to make a single bucket. In a shocking move, Alando Tucker played solid for Wisconsin, leading the Badgers with 18 points and three blocks.

Defensive MVP: The pride of South Dakota, Joe Krabbenhoft had another quiet, yet solid performance on Wednesday night. In addition to his seven points, Krabbenhoft grabbed six rebounds, five on the defensive end, and chipped in with three assists and a block. More importantly, he was 2-2 from the line.

Turning Point: Wisconsin came out of the gates in a hurry, opening up a 22-4 lead on the Phoenix in the first eight minutes of the game. Although Green Bay made some runs late, they never cut the Wisconsin lead under ten points.

Up Next: The Southern University Jaguars (0-1) make their way to Madison for the first round of the South Padre Invitational. Southern, who made the NCAA Tournament last season with an automatic bid from the SWAC, lost their season opener at Georgia 97-37 on November 10. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.


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