It was the perfect example of classic Wisconsin basketball on Sunday.
The Badgers dug deep on defense, scored a few points along the way and earned a hard-fought 47-41 win over Nebraska on the road.
OK, so the Badgers scored more than a few points despite shooting only 37.7 percent from the field, but offense has never been the story at Wisconsin.
It’s all about what the Badgers do on defense, and against the Cornhuskers, they played it as well as anyone, forcing Nebraska to shoot 36.7 percent from the floor.
“That’s as physical and as tough of a game on both sides,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said in a post-game press conference. “I thought our guys played extremely well defensively, and I thought their guys did too.”
Wisconsin has won its last five games, and while it’s not likely to win the Big Ten championship, the Badgers are going to be one of the better teams in the league because of how well they do defend.
They have held nine consecutive opponents to 60 points or less and there is no question that they will go as far as their defense can take them.
From an offensive standpoint, Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans need to continue to lead the way, much like they did against Nebraska.
Berggren scored 13 points and blocked three shots. Evans poured in 10 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the year.
Ryan was particularly pleased with the way Berggren stepped up as he provided the Badgers with a shot of energy, scoring 12 of his points in the second half.
“Berggren just gave us life,” Ryan said in a post-game press conference. “…the guys were so down, and I could tell the guys were like ‘thank goodness,’ because we finally had a guy that got into rhythm and could put the ball through the net.”
The Badgers put the ball through the net just enough to win the game, but it’s their ability to keep opponents from scoring that will be they key to their success this season.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. He is a member of the United State Basketball Writers Association as well.
Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.