The offense looked sluggish for most of the evening and once again sorely lacked a presence in the low post. The wrist injury to Jon Leuer has entirely robbed the Badgers of someone capable of receiving touches in the post. Without any post touches, Wisconsin continually struggled to get anything going toward the basket early in the shot clock. Additionally, the lack of plays in the paint resulted in the Badgers shooting a measly five three throws all game as they were able to draw fouls on the Buckeyes but never on the shot.
The swing offense is not geared towards playing without the lead and the long pauses and possessions that the swing entails leaves the Badgers with little opportunity to come back when faced with a large deficit. Thus, Wisconsin must come up with ways in which the offense can get touches in the paint and not have to solely rely on tough perimeter shots. This becomes especially important when the Badgers are trailing down the stretch and do not want to use large portions of the shot and game clocks.
Lastly, the inexperience of the backup frontcourt players was finally exposed as the Badgers clearly lacked a reliable big man off the bench. Jared Berggren did not look ready for the physicality of the Big Ten and Ryan Evans struggled with the speed of the Buckeyes on both offense and defense. Evans still provides nice energy and is an athletic body that can provide a spark off the bench but it would really help if Berggren would begin to play like a player who is close to seven feet tall.
Defense – B-
The Badgers did not do a good job of containing the Buckeyes dribble penetration and the lack of an athletic wing player on defense finally showed up in Columbus. The guard trio of Trevon Hughes, Jordan Taylor and Jason Bohannon do an excellent job of staying with their men but the Badgers do no possess a player that can adequately match up with a taller wing. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes are full of tall athletic wings and Tim Jarmusz, Rob Wilson and Ryan Evans were unable to stop the Buckeyes wings from getting into the paint.
Coaching – B-
The Badgers made few adjustments on either offense or defense and seemed to lack the intensity required to win on the road. Wisconsin had trouble with the pick and roll all game long and continued to cover it the same way every possession. Additionally, the Badgers made few tweaks on offense despite missing their best big man and second leading scorer. If the Badgers are going to play small, the offense must match the skill set of the players on the floor and tonight it did not.
Game MVP: No real MVP but Trevon Hughes wins it by default for keeping the Badgers in it at times in both the first and second half. The Badgers will need increased playmaking from senior Jason Bohannon if they are to sustain the loss of Leuer.