With a 70-56 win over the Fighting Illini, the Wisconsin Badgers’ Head Coach Bo Ryan is now 11-0 in Senior Day games at the Kohl Center.
Seniors Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson were magnificent with 24 combined points to help the Badgers (23-8, 12-6) end the regular season on a three-game winning streak.
After losing eight of their last nine games, Illinois (17-14, 6-12) would have to pull out a miracle and win the Big Ten Tournament if they want to make the NCAA Tournament.
What It Means: Not a lot of new information here; when the Badgers shoot well (44.7% from the field), they win. While the Badgers appear to be primed for a deep run, I wouldn’t let the ugliness of Illinois’ game change your perception too much. If the Badgers can play this way against the likes of Indiana, Michigan State or Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament, then it will be time to get excited.
As for the Badgers cheating (as reported by Seth Davis earlier in the week), this game with the Fighting Illini should have disproved some of that. They had only 14 personal fouls and played extremely well on the defensive end.
Player of the Game: Josh Gasser (16 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists)
Yeah, yeah, Gasser is not a senior, but he played like one. The sophomore finally had one of those complete games everyone expected him to have for much of the season. It was his first seven+ rebound game with double digit scoring since posting eight and eleven against Iowa in late December.
He took smart shots and was all over the ball for most of the game. If Gasser can play this well from here-on-out, he could be the team’s x-factor in the postseason.
Stat of the Game: (265) The amount of wins that Bo Ryan has amassed while at Wisconsin, tied for the most-ever with Hall of Famer Harold “Bud” Foster. Amazingly enough, it took Ryan only 364 games to reach the mark while Foster coached 532 contests.
What’s Next: The Badgers are locked into the #4 spot in Big Ten Tournament, taking place in Indianapolis and starting this upcoming Thursday. Right now, Wisconsin is slated to play the winner of the #5/#12 match-up who could realistically include Indiana and Nebraska. Thus, barring a major upset, I would expect the Badgers to play the Hoosiers in an early afternoon game on Friday.
This season, the Badgers are 1-0 against the Hoosiers, a 57-50 triumph at the Kohl Center in late January. Key reserve Ben Brust was the leading scorer for Wisconsin with 13 points.
What did you think of the Badgers win versus the Illini on Senior Day? Will this team make some noise in the postseason? 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.