The 6th ranked Wisconsin Badgers are already in the NCAA Tournament, while the Michigan Wolverines only real chance to get in would have likely been to win the Big Ten Tournament title. The start of today’s quarterfinal game looked like that.
Michigan played harder early, playing with a real sense of urgency, while the Badgers looked as if their wakeup call came a few minutes late this morning.
There haven’t been many down moments for the Badgers this season, and when things didn’t go their way early, there’s been no panic. Such was the case again today, as the Badgers woke up, chipped away and took a 5-point lead into the locker room at halftime. Wisconsin went on to win, 71-60 at the United Center and will face either Penn State or Purdue in Saturday’s semifinals.
Wisconsin (29-3) got 17 points from Sam Dekker and 16 from Frank Kaminsky to lead four players in double figures. Bronson Koenig added 12 points and Nigel Hayes 11 for the Badgers.
Michigan jumped out to a 14-2 lead before the Badgers started to slowly pull themselves back in it.
Wisconsin also had a decided advantage at the free throw line, hitting 14 of 16, while Michigan attempted just two foul shots and missed both of them.
Bo Ryan said after the game, the best thing about this win is they get to play another game. He even said he brought a James Patterson novel along with him, anticipating a weekend stay in Chicago.
Michigan finished 16-16 with the loss.