Gritconsin

Wisconsin – The Definition Of Grit

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Wisconsin had its way with Northwestern in the Big Ten semifinal matchup today. The Badgers cruised to a 76 to 48 beat down. Northwestern struggled from the opening tip and never got any resemblance of offense going during the contest. Wisconsin out rebounded them 36-27, and shot 47% compared to the 35% of the Wildcats.

 

Leading the way for Wisconsin were its two post players Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes. Ethan Happ continues to be super-efficient and productive. He is always in the right spot at the right time. Happ has elite footwork in the post and is much stronger than he appears. He continually is around the ball and comes up with 50/50 balls at a rate that I have never seen. Happ had 16 points on 4 of 6 shooting, while also hitting 8 of 11 at the foul line where he normally struggles. He chipped in eight rebounds and kept countless possessions alive with his hustle. Happ may not look like the most intimidating or impressive specimen but he is a natural basketball player. His smarts and court awareness are already at a high level. Senior forward Nigel Hayes had one of his most effective games of the season. He ended up with 18 points, ten rebounds and two assists. Hayes was working the mid-post game to perfection. Northwestern had no answer for him. He is an extremely physical player and if he can be consistent with his outside shot he has a good chance to succeed in the NBA. Hayes provides versatility with his size (6’8 240) that is a match-up nightmare at the collegiate level. He is stronger than some centers and also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and create for himself or kick out to open teammates. While senior point guard Bronson Koenig struggled on the night the rest of the Badgers squad stepped up. Zak Showalter chipped in ten points and Vitto Brown tallied eight points and eight rebounds.

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If Wisconsin can handle business tomorrow against a hot Michigan team it could be in line for a four or five seed in the NCAA tournament. Wisconsin’s tough and gritty style of play is a tough matchup for any team, but a team that might stand a chance is a team with an up tempo style of play like Michigan. Tomorrow should be a solid game to decide who will win the 2017 Big Ten Tournament.

 

Northwestern And Wisconsin Meet In Big Ten Semi’s

Wisconsin And Northwestern Set To Meet In Big Ten Semi’s

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Wisconsin handled business against Indiana finishing them off in the second half 70-60. Northwestern defeated Maryland, in basically a home game for the Terps, 72-64. Both squads are playing well at the moment and it should provide quite a semifinal matchup on Saturday.

 

Wisconsin was clicking on all cylinders against Indiana. Five players scored over ten points and they were led by senior point guard Bronson Koenig, who scored 16. Koenig has a knack for hitting big timely shots. He has done it throughout his career and did it on several occasions late in the game. Koenig’s physicality on both sides of the ball provides a matchup problem for smaller and less physical guards. He has a solid shooting stroke when in rhythm and it showed going 4 of 7 from three. Koenig finished with 16 points, five assists and three steals. The other factor for Wisconsin was their rock on the inside. Sophomore power forward Ethan Happ was extremely efficient on the night only missing two shots on nine attempts. Happ is a tough presence in the post and uses his elite footwork to score making up for his lack of athleticism. He also has a nose for the ball on the glass, keeping possessions alive even when being outmanned. Happ finished with 14 points and twelve rebounds.

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Northwestern had a trio of contributors that Maryland could not slow down. Scottie Lindsey, a junior shooting guard, hit several tough shots in the lane and while under duress on the perimeter. Lindsey is a physical player that can finish with either hand around the rim. He finished with 17 points. Vic Law is also starting to turn the heads of NBA scouts. His skill set is versatile and he has the potential to be a very effective defender as well. Law, who is a senior, should receive interest in attending the Portsmouth Invitational after the season. Law finished with 17 points, five rebounds and two steals. The most important player for Northwestern is junior point guard Bryant McIntosh. McIntosh is having a solid tournament. He penetrates at will and has ability to mind open players for easy baskets. He is also finishing many tough floaters in the lane as well, which is immensely important for guards at the next level. McIntosh finished with 16 points, six rebounds and two steals.

 

The matchup between these teams tomorrow should provide a thriller. The difference may be the post advantage Wisconsin has with Happ and Nigel Hayes. Northwestern does not have much to offer to stop that, but they have been underestimated all season. McIntosh will have to play very well, but he has his work cut out for him with Bronson Koenig.

 

Prediction: Northwestern 73 Wisconsin 70

 

Big Ten Day 2 Nightcap

Big Ten Nightcap

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Tenth seeded Indiana rolled over seventh seeded Iowa 95-73, thanks to a huge 52 point second half. Early on the game was competitive as Indiana only held on to a three point halftime lead 43-40. Indiana shot a scorching 68% from the field in the second half, including making six of eight from three. On the other hand it was not Iowa’s night. While they shot 45%, they could not overcome being outscored in the paint 46-32.

 

For Iowa two players were the only reason they kept the game respectable. Jordan Bohannon (6’0 182) and Cordell Pemsl (6’8 249) provided the only consistent and impactful play for the Hawkeyes on the night. Bohannon was hot from downtown and did a great job of setting his teammates up for baskets. The freshman point guard plays a fast but level headed pace and has a chance to be a solid leader for years to come. Bohannon finished with 24 points, ten assists and went six for eleven from three. Pemsl, a freshman power forward, provided a scoring punch from down low and some toughness that the rest of the Hawkeyes seemed to lack. The strong lefty was also a factor on the boards chipping in a game high eleven. Pemsl finished with 14 points and eleven rebounds. NBA draft prospect Peter Jok was a disappointment, as he never asserted himself in the game. Jok finished with nine points, on four of eleven from the field, with three rebounds and four turnovers.

 

James Blackmon Jr. (6’4 200) exploded with 18 second half points that led to Indiana’s route of Iowa. Blackmon was super efficient shooting on the night only missing two shots. Blackmon never forced the issue and showed that he has the ability to carry Indiana when healthy. The junior guard finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists. NBA draft prospect Thomas Bryant (6’10 255) showed some versatility on defense, which should impress some scouts. Bryant played physical down low and displayed his high motor on the offensive end by running the floor regularly on breaks. Bryant has a chance to be a mid first round pick and has all the tools the NBA desires. He finished with eleven points, three assists and five blocks.

 

Iowa will now wait out there fait on Sunday during the selection show.

Indiana will play 2nd seeded Wisconsin tomorrow night.

 

 

Sixth seeded Northwestern had its way with fourteen seeded Rutgers from the get go and finished the route 83-61.

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Northwestern spread the wealth on offense having four players score over 13 points. The Wildcats were led by Bryant McIntosh (6’3 185) and Vic Law (6’7 205). McIntosh captained the offense and kept the Wildcats in flow throughout the game. McIntosh Had 13 points and three assists, but his leadership of the offense was the most impressive impact he had on the game. Vic Law looked extremely fluid on offense and showed some versatility as well. Law is another NBA prospect in the making that is showcasing at the Big Ten tournament. He may not be on the radar this year but his future looks bright. Law had 16 points, on five of six shooting, with five rebounds and four assists.

 

For Rutgers the game wasn’t as pretty. Guards Nigel Johnson (6’1 186) and Corey Sanders (6’2 181) were the only source of offense for the Scarlet Knights. Without them on the floor Rutgers was not a threat to score. You could even argue if they didn’t have the ball in their hands there was no threat either. Sanders finished with 14 points and three assists. Johnson tallied 21 points and five made three-pointers.

 

Rutgers season will now come to an end, as they will not garner any post season birth with a 15-17 record.

Northwestern will take on 3rd seeded Maryland tomorrow night.