You know how one good test can save your grade even if you are failing miserably? The Badgers offense does. Take out the last few minutes and the Badgers offense was well on their way to an F-. Wisconsin hoisted up 13 more shots than the Illini in the first half, yet entered the locker room in a nine-point deficit.
Seniors Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon combined to go 0-of-13 from the field in the first half. In fact, Badgers not named Jon Leuer only made two shots before halftime. Things didn't change coming out of the half as it took Jordan Taylor 4:29 to score the Badgers first points. Wisconsin scored 21 points in the final five minutes to get within two, but the damage had been done. Three F's and an A still end up as a D.
If Demetri McCamey and Mike Tisdale get hot, things can go downhill real fast. And they did, as the leading scorers for the Illini scored 10 and nine, respectively, in the first period. Give the Badgers credit for shutting down McCamey in the second half, allowing him only one field goal. The Badgers forced 17 turnovers, helping them get off 23 more shots than Illinois. Apparently that wasn't enough.
It's hard to fault Bo, as the game plan wasn't bad. Illinois had a few hot streaks and Wisconsin had a 30-35 minute cold streak. Coach did, however, make a mistake in sitting Leuer and Hughes midway through the second half for an extended period. Illinois expanded a 10-point advantage into 15 points with the Badgers only scoring four points in 5:10. Bo flirted with a technical late in the game after a jump ball call was overridden by a foul, sending Ryan into an understandable, but possible tech-inducing frenzy.
As streaky as the Badgers shoot, someone other than the 1-of-10 (1-of-6 from behind the arc) Bohannon should have gotten the ball for the last shot. Then again, who was left after Hughes, who scored 12 of the final 21, fouled out. Speaking of which, can't someone else foul when the Badgers are in foul mode? The hottest shooter picking up three fouls with two minutes to go seems to not add up.
Game MVP: No One. Gun to my head, I say Trevon since he fueled the comeback. In addition to his 12 points in the big run he came up with five steals in the game. Considering he went 0-of-11 in the first 38:16 of the game, though, you can't really call him an MVP, especially since some of his decisions cost UW points that would have made a difference. I guess that leaves Leuer who made twice as many shots as his teammates in the first half. Then again, he only ended up with five baskets, one after halftime.