By TOM LEA
MADISON – The Wisconsin-Minnesota game isn’t the sexiest on Tuesday’s Big Ten schedule (mostly because the Michigan State-Indiana tilt has conference implications involved), but it still has some interesting things to keep an eye on.
Here’s the latest installment of three in the key, an exercise meant to highlight three keys to the Badgers contest with the rival Gophers.
1.) Chasing a milestone…
With his 19-point effort in Sunday’s win at Ohio State, Wisconsin senior guard Jordan Taylor entered top-10 scoring status in program history. Should he find a way to muster 10 points against rival Minnesota he’d surpass Devin Harris’ career-mark of 1,425 points and take over the ninth-place slot on UW’s all-time scoring list.
Harris, of course, compiled his scoring total in three seasons before declaring early for the NBA draft. Taylor, a legitimate contributor all four years, said he’s still excited to pass Harris’ mark because he’s one of the program’s all-time greats.
“I watched him growing up and I hated Wisconsin when he was coming through the program,” Taylor said. “I cheered against him sometimes, but he was unbelievable. To do some of the things he’s done here has been pretty special for me. He’s still done it in three years so he’s still the best.
“He’s the Michael Jordan of Wisconsin.”
2.) The Rob Wilson effect…
If you were to peruse through the box scores of UW’s past 10 games you wouldn’t have to look much further than the minutes played category to see a meteoric rise out of senior guard Rob Wilson.
He’s averaging 16.5 minutes per game during UW’s past four contests, as compared to the 4.8 minutes per he was receiving during the six prior to that. Even more impressively, during the 66 minutes Wilson has played in during UW’s past four games, he’s only committed two turnovers.
Anybody that follows Wisconsin basketball knows there are two incredibly important things that a player needs to show if he hopes to play for Bo Ryan. He needs to defend and he needs to take care of the rock.
Wilson may not be the team’s best defender on the court, but he’s more than serviceable. And he may not be the team’s go-to offensive weapon, but he’s capable of making sure he values each and every possession.
If Bo Ryan is your coach, each solitary possession is the most important. Wilson seems to be adhering to that principle. It will be interesting to see how his recent surge in production and confidence will continue against a team he only mustered five minutes of play the last time they met.
3.) Slump busting…
Mike Bruesewitz hit 44 percent of his 3-point shots during UW’s first eight Big Ten games this season. Since then he’s only been able to connect on 9.5 percent of his attempts from distance.
Since hitting his first 3-point attempt at Minnesota five games ago, the junior has missed 11-straight. He’s not shooting the ball too well from inside the perimeter, either.
Bruesewitz hit 5-of-11 shots in a losing effort against Ohio State earlier this month. Since then, he’s hit just six shots from the field. That equates to a 23 percent shooting clip from the floor, a number 16 percentage points below his season average.
Will Tuesday night be the night Bruesewitz finally breaks out of his current shooting slump? If there’s any symmetry left in the world of college basketball, it would make sense for him to have a big night, especially considering his recent 6-of-26 shooting stretch started with a 1-of-8 performance at Minnesota, UW’s opponent Tuesday night.
Return to: Wisconsin Badgers Blog