Wisconsin Badgers Josh Gasser Bursts Michigan’s Bubble

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The Michigan Wolverines (17-12, 7-9) went into Wednesday’s game with the #12 Wisconsin Badgers (21-6, 11-4) with everything to gain after winning six of their last eight conference games. Sitting firmly on the bubble, a win versus the Badgers in Ann Arbor would have went a long way for their NCAA tourney-resume.

The Wolverines played better basketball for the majority of the game, but in the closing seconds, it was Wisconsin Freshman Josh Gasser who banked in a desperation three to most likely dash any chance of Big Blue gaining an at-large bid to this year’s NCAA tourney.

For Gasser, the shot was a lifelong memory in the making. For the other team, it was a tragedy.

By: Nick Grays


Everyone knows about Wisconsin’s star-duo Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor, but the truth is that they’re not the only two in Madison making their mark this season. The freshman Gasser has had quite the year for Bo Ryan’s surprising Badgers squad.

In his collegiate debut, the Port Washington product went for 21 points against Prairie View A&M, the second highest debut for a Badger freshman behind Rashard Griffith’s 27 in 1993.

Two months later, Gasser recorded the first-ever triple-double in Badgers history at Northwestern. His 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists put him on a list next to the famous Earvin “Magic” Johnson who was the last Big Ten freshman to record an official triple-double.

The fun didn’t stop there as Gasser continued to play with a confidence and toughness not seen in many freshman basketball players coming through Madison. He quietly scored 11 points in an upset of #1 Ohio State and now has added a buzzer-beating game-winning shot to his young career.

Gasser has played significant minutes in every game for Wisconsin including 16 starts. This won’t be the last you hear of Gasser as he should be an integral piece in the future of Badgers basketball.

As for the Wolverines, where do they go after this heart-wrenching loss. As I mentioned above, Michigan’s bubble has pretty much busted, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find their way back on the bubble.

With upcoming games at Minnesota and home to Michigan State, Big Blue absolutely has to win both of those games and at least make it to the final of the Big Ten Tournament to get considered for an at-large bid. Michigan’s best wins are against Michigan State, Harvard and Clemson (none of which are considered locks for the NCAA tourney).

Wisconsin’s stock is rising even though they continue to struggle at putting the ball through the rim on the road. If they can magically pull out a win in Columbus versus Ohio State, the Badgers could be looking at a two or three seed depending on their showing in the Big Ten Tournament.

Will Michigan somehow make the tournament and what seed will Wisconsin end up as? What do you think of Josh Gasser’s play? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior editor at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Brewers. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

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