Game Day Grades - Minnesota

Wisconsin came into Thursday's game with Big Ten title hopes, an easy end to its schedule and Jon Leuer back in the lineup. Sounds like a recipe for good things, right? Wrong, Wisconsin couldn't hit anything inside the arc and the rival Gophers did what they had to do to beat the Badgers 68-52, handing Wisconsin its worst loss of the season.

Offense: D+

Any time you hit a season low for field goal percentage in February, you should know your grade will be on the wrong side of average. The Badgers managed a season low 30.5% from the field at The Barn. It was an especially cold homecoming for the Minnesota-born Badgers, as Jordan Taylor (1-8), Jon Leuer (2-12), Mike Bruesewitz (0-2), and Jared Berggeren (0-0, DNP) managed to combine for a grand total of 3-22 from the field and 9 points. The seniors keep Wisconsin from failing by going a combined 9-19 from beyond the arc. It doesn't help, however, that the rest of the team went 2-11 from 3-point range. Oh, and neither does going seven minutes without scoring in the second half.

Defense: C

It surprised me to see that even though the second half was where Minnesota pulled away, the Gophers' shooting percentage dropped nearly 20% from the first to the second period. Hot shooting helped Minnesota early, as Blake Hoffarber and Damian Johnson led the Gophers to a 57.9% field goal percentage in the opening stanza. Its hard to fault the Badgers too much, as many of the shots were contested and the Badgers gave up a lot of size. Bruiser showed a little bit of freshman inexperience, getting into foul trouble and crippling the Badger depth at forward, and as a team the Badgers let Minnesota into the bonus way too early in both halves. Extra credit for holding Lawrence Westbrook without a field goal (0-4), and for stopping his cheap and classless attempt at a dunk with five seconds left in the game after everyone had conceded that he would dribble out the clock as he had been. As a side note, I now have absolutely no respect for Westbrook. If Wisconsin was the team Kalin Lucas thinks they are, someone would have taken his legs out and flipped him on his neck on the way down. He would have deserved it.

Coaching: C-

Getting a technical at a critical moment in the game is hard to excuse. The call was bad, but Bo really couldn't have had a great view of it, and the refs seemed to be looking to T him up for most of the game prior, so Bo could have dialed it down a little (although he wouldn't be the same coach we know and love if he did). Ryan made some good adjustments on defense in the second half, getting players up in shooters faces more and improving spacing on the floor. One thing I couldn't get my head around: Where was Rob Wilson? He would have been a better defensive fit on Johnson than Hughes and Taylor, who gave up at least 5 inches and let him into the post too often, and he might have been able to help the Badgers break out of their funk in the second half, much like he did in the Badgers game against Michigan.

Game MVP: Jason Bohannon. While he wasn't the leading scorer (his 18 points trailed Trevon's 19), Bohannon was the only Badger to shoot 50 percent from the field. He made 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, and kept the Badgers close up until the big drought. Bohannon played good defense on Hoffarber, holding the hot shooting guard to only four second half points. Credit Blake getting as many points (16) as he did to his ultra quick release, as only one shot was not contested well by J-Bo.

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