first_imgView Gallery (2 Photos)Every week, Herald Sports looks back on the prior week’s games for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team and assesses UW’s performance.The Badgers, now ranked No. 13 in both polls, finished the regular season with a 23-7 (13-5 Big Ten) record. Their final game of the season was a 93-65 loss last Sunday to No. 1 Ohio State. The Buckeyes, quickly becoming a huge rival to the Badgers, shot the lights out in Columbus, converting an NCAA-record 14 consecutive 3-pointers to finish the game 14-for-15 from behind the arc. The loss simultaneously highlighted concerns for UW’s defense and established OSU as one of the best, if not the premier team in the nation.Prior to facing Ohio State, Wisconsin traveled to Indiana last Thursday. The Hoosiers, last-place in the Big Ten, used their home crowd to their advantage and surprised the Badgers with a spirited effort. UW led by only four at halftime, and in the second half, several Badgers were saddled with foul trouble.Yet, point guard Jordan Taylor seemed determined to continue his remarkable season. The junior finished with a career-high 39 points, three short of UW’s program record. Taylor shot 11-for-19 from the floor, including 7-for-8 from 3-point range. Perhaps most important, he got to the foul line 10 times and sunk all of them. The Badgers left Bloomington with a 77-66 victory that resulted in a four-game winning streak that was ultimately snapped at Ohio State.Next, Wisconsin heads to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament. The No. 3 seed Badgers will face the winner of No. 6 seed Penn State and No. 11 seed Indiana Friday night at approximately 8 p.m. CT.Offense: 3.5 out of 5If not for Taylor’s performance at Indiana, UW’s score here would be significantly lower. The Badger point guard, second on the team with 18.2 points and first with 4.8 assists per game, played 39 minutes against the Hoosiers – meaning he averaged an astonishing one point per minute.Outside of Taylor, only forwards Jon Leuer (16 points) and Keaton Nankivil (10) reached double-digits. The Badgers did shoot .490 from the field and .563 from three-point range, but without most of Taylor’s points, UW would have struggled to exit with its 11-point victory. Wisconsin, the nation’s best team from the foul line (82.7 percent) did make 20-of-22 free throws (90.9 percent).Against Ohio State Sunday, any offense in the nation – let alone Wisconsin’s – would have paled in comparison. In addition to their .933 shooting from three-point range, the Buckeyes also shot .681 from the field. UW, meanwhile, shot .417 from the floor and .375 from behind the arc. Freshman guard Josh Gasser led Wisconsin with 17 points, while Leuer contributed 16, Nankivil had 10 and Taylor finished with eight.Defense: 2.5 out of 5Against Indiana, Wisconsin – with the ninth-best scoring defense in the country (59.1 points allowed per game) – surrendered 67. The Hoosiers have the fifth-best scoring offense in the Big Ten at 70 points scored per game, slightly above the Badgers. So, while UW held IU below its scoring average, it gave up eight more points than it typically allows.The Hoosiers aren’t a bad offensive team – they have the third-best shooting percentage (.460) – in the conference, so against the Buckeyes is where most of the troubles came for the Badgers’ defense. Wisconsin struggled to closeout on Ohio State’s shooters, and its rotations were very poor.OSU’s best shooter, Jon Diebler, scored 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting, including 7-of-8 behind the arc. Freshmen sensation Jared Sullinger also scored 22 points for Ohio State.Bench: 3 out of 5Against Indiana, Wisconsin received slightly more than 50 percent of its offense from Taylor. With Nankivil and Leuer each scoring in double digits, there wasn’t much else needed from the bench. The Badgers’ six bench points came from Wquinton Smith, Mike Bruesewitz and Jared Berggren, each with three. Bruesewitz did pull down seven rebounds (three offensive) and contributed two assists.Three days later, UW received 14 points from the bench, but it made very little difference. Bruesewitz led the pack with five (zero rebounds, though), while Berggren, Brett Valentyn and Ryan Evans had three each. The Ohio State game was also the latest in a series of low points for reserve guard/forward Rob Wilson, who saw just two minutes of playing time and didn’t record a statistic of any type.Player of the Week: Jordan TaylorIf Wisconsin only played Ohio State this week, this section might’ve been absent. But due to his ridiculous effort at Indiana, Taylor gets the nod once again this week. In the Badgers’ first contest with the Hoosiers on Jan. 20, Taylor scored 28 points (previously a career high) and contributed eight rebounds and four assists. After that game, Indiana head coach Tom Crean became one of the earliest members on the Taylor bandwagon, calling him “one of the premier guards in the country.”After last Thursday’s game, Crean didn’t have to vary his postgame quotes very much.“Jordan Taylor flat out had a great performance,” Crean told reporters. “He made some incredibly challenging shots. He took advantage of us when we missed some assignments, and the biggest thing about a kid like that is he rises up.”last_img read more