Wisconsin’s Ben Brust may be the Badgers most important player by a longshot

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Ben Brust game-winning shot

With only 2.4 seconds left on the clock, Wisconsin Badgers junior guard Ben Brust made one of the most memorable shots in the history of the program. Brust took an inbound pass from teammate Mike Bruesewitz at half-court, turned the corner and hit a game-tying 40 foot running jump-shot at the buzzer with a Michigan defender draped all over him.

Not only did he hit one of the best shots of the college basketball season, he displayed ice-cold veins by knocking down a critical three in overtime to seal the Badgers home-win over third ranked Michigan.

Some would credit Brust’s heroic acts on this day as just another role player stepping up, but statistically it could be argued that he’s been the Badgers most important player all season.

Due to teammate Josh Gasser going down with a torn ACL in the pre-season, Brust has been forced to grow up fast and become the team’s top guard. He is one of only three Badgers to start all 24  games this season (the other two being Badgers big men Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren) and leads the team while playing 33.5 minutes per game. Just to show you how much he’s been on the court, his team-high 803 minutes is 81 minutes more than the next highest player who’s Ryan Evans at 722 (that’s two entire games of minutes).

In addition to playing more, Brust has elevated his game in pretty much every basketball category. He leads the team with 52 made three-pointers and is making 40 percent of his shots behind the arc, up from 38.9 percent in 2011-12 when he made 58 of 149 on the season.

Last season, Brust assumed the role of a three-point specialist. In 2012-13, Brust is playing more of an all-around game out of necessity while increasing his assists per game from 0.7 to 2.6 and rebounds per game from 2.2 to 5.3. He leads the team with 63 assists and is second on the team with 11.2 points per game.

While Evans and Berggren have shown flashes of being the leaders of Bo Ryan’s Badgers, Brust has quietly been the most consistent and the glue that has helped the Badgers jump out to a surprising 8-3 record in the ultra-competitive Big Ten Conference.

What do you think of the Brust’s play? Do you think he’s the most important player on this team? Let me know by commenting below.

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at grays@uwalumni.com.

*Video via cfbsectionhoops.
*Image via Foxsports.com

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Comments

  1. Love the thought, but stats bare out that Evans is by far the most important player to UW’s success. Wisconsin is 15-1 in games when Evans scores in double figures & are 1-6 when he doesn’t score in double figures. Add in the fact that his numbers drop nearly 4ppg between wins and losses & the rebounds by nearly 4 a game as well and he’s clearly more important.

    That’s not to say Brust doesn’t have an increased role, because he clearly does. However, I say this team goes as Ryan Evans goes and that’s supported by the numbers.

  2. sorry, correction… They are a 2-6 in games where he doesn’t score in double figures.

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