Teeing off with Trent

Bucky keeps on keeping on


The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team, along with head coach Bo Ryan, danced together Saturday night in front of a sea of red in Milwaukee after an 85-77 teeth-grinding victory over the hot shooting Oregon Ducks.

This was a glorious sight for Badgers fans everywhere. Seeing as the Badgers were able to overcome the Ducks unreal 3-point shooting in the first half and nearly flawless 91 percent free- throw shooting there is nothing to complain about, and the future looks bright.

Five Badgers scored in double figures led by Frank Kaminski with 19, despite his rough free- throw shooting throughout. Kaminski struggled to find his range in the second half but somehow found ways to impact the game without scoring.

Kaminski is the X-factor for the Badgers. Where he goes the Badgers will go. If he gets in foul trouble or struggles to make plays the Badgers most likely struggle without his presence.

However when Kaminski is able to affect the game the Badgers thrive. He draws defenders into the post which allows the Badgers three point shooters to get open looks and cuts to the hoop, making the Badgers look like the well-oiled machine they were on Saturday night.

Now as we look forward to the Sweet Sixteen this week, the Badgers will face an opponent with a fast-paced 3-point shooting style similar to what was seen this week with Oregon. Not saying this bodes well for the Badgers, but if they can control the tempo of the game and not allow Baylor to run and gun, they will give themselves a shot.

Every year I make the same mistake of picking the Badgers to make some sort of magical run through the tournament to the Final Four, to later be disgusted by a first or second round loss. This year is different though, the Badgers are a team built to win together as a unit and no longer are just a defensive team, they can flat out score.

The Badgers are a tight knit squad who all live in the same apartment complex together in Madison. This is something Ryan says he has never had happen with his players, but it has helped them become closer as a team and build chemistry.

This new found chemistry off the court has shown itself on the court throughout the season, as the Badgers have excelled running their famed swing offense. When the Badgers can efficiently run their offense and not allow guards to penetrate the lane when they are on defense, they succeed.

Baylor is a team that defensively plays a zone against opponents to try to eliminate penetration and to force the Badgers to hit three pointers. This means that if the Badgers are able to come out early in the game hitting threes, that it will force the Bears to switch back to a man to man defense which would allow the Badgers more driving lanes to the hoop.

If the Badgers can find a hot shooter early in the game in Josh Gasser, Ben Brust, or even big man Frank Kaminski, it could go along way to punching a ticket to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005.