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