Wisconsin Badgers still in the hunt for a Big Ten Title

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A Bo Ryan-led Wisconsin Badgers squad will rarely impress you with pure talent, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win. The Badgers run one of the least sexy offenses in the country and play such fundamental defense that they almost lull opposing teams to sleep.

This season has been no different with the #22 Badgers checking in at 19-6 and 8-4 in the Big Ten Conference, just a game and a half back of the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (21-3, 9-2).

One difference that has popped up this season is the Badgers solid play on the road. Did you know the Badgers have lost more games at home than on the road? With an overtime win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Wisconsin improved to 6-2 away from the Kohl Center.

With three of the next four games on the road, the Badgers hopes for a Big Ten Title will ride on continuing to compete outside the state-lines.


Head Coach Ryan has no idea why the Badgers are excelling on the road this season.

“We drink the same water, milk, juice as we do at home,” Ryan said. “I hear stories about teams that do this every once in a while, but we always think we can get the next one no matter what.”

Two of the those three remaining road games are against Michigan State and Ohio State, the two teams ahead of the Badgers in the standings. If the Badgers want to pull off an upset in either East Lansing or Columbus, they will need more exceptional play from Jordan Taylor and Ryan Evans.

Against the Gophers, the senior Taylor went off with a game-high 27 points. Not a huge surprise from a Minnesota product who was looking for his first win back in his hometown (Badgers had lost previous two at The Barn). In order to compete with the Buckeyes and Spartans, Taylor will have to bring the same motivation he had on Thursday night.

In the midst of a breakout season, Evans took his game to another level with his first career double-double. He notched 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, including four offensive rebounds. Evans is the x-factor for this team, when he plays well, the team plays well. The key to his game is finding the right shots as he tends to take just as many bad shots as good ones.

What the Badgers cannot do for the remainder of the season is go on their somewhat common scoring droughts. Wisconsin did not score in the final seven minutes and 44 seconds of regulation against Minnesota. Not only did they not score, they found it particularly difficult to find what you would constitute as a good look. Going forward, the Badgers will need to find a way to avoid forcing their shot during crunch-time.

In The Sports Bank’s latest bracketology, David Kay has the Badgers seeded #5 and playing either Seton Hall or Xavier in Portland.

Do you think the Badgers have any hope at competing for the Big Ten Title? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

 

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