February 23, 2009

Good, bad and ugly from Michigan State loss

MADISON, Wis. - Going into Sunday's game against Michigan State, it was hard pressed to expect Wisconsin to leave the Breslin Center victorious. However, after opening up a 12-point lead with only 12 and a half minutes to play, the loss to the Spartans becomes more difficult to grapple with.

The Badgers now have a full week to prepare for its next game, but before moving on to the Wolverines, BadgerBlitz.com takes a look back at the good, bad and ugly from UW's loss to Michigan State.

The good

The first 28 minutes of the game:

From the opening tip, it seemed UW had the Spartans playing at its tempo. The Badgers were not rushing things on the offensive side of the ball and they were luring MSU into committing turnovers, 10 alone in the first half, leading to 12 Badger points.

"Everyone has to do what they have to do to get their point across and I was not very pleased with the way we were playing," MSU head coach Tom Izzo said after the game. "I do not want to take anything away from Wisconsin because they played pretty well, but you have to admit some of those turnovers we were just throwing the ball away."

On multiple occasions, Trevon Hughes would sneak up on a lazy MSU pass and intercept it. In total, the Badger junior had three first half steals that helped him score 10 first half points.

Collectively, UW held MSU to only 41.7 percent shooting in the first half and only allowed the Spartans to score two field goals through the first seven plus minutes of the frame.

But once, Goran Suton scored on the low block with 12:22 to play, the Spartans run had begun.

"We had everything in place to win this game," UW senior Joe Krabbenhoft said after the loss. "We just didn't do it."

The bad

Lack of rebounding:

Granted Michigan State is one of the nation's premier rebounding teams, but the Badgers were hanging with the Spartan in the category throughout the majority of the first half. UW had just as many offensive rebounds (6) as MSU, but trailed in the overall category 19-15 at the break.

Still, considering the height and athleticism that Michigan State presents, the margin was manageable midway through the game. However, in the second half, particularly over a three-minute span, the Badgers gave up five offensive rebounds that led to eight Spartan points.

"Our guys tried," UW head coach Bo Ryan explained after the game in regards to MSU's offensive rebounding. "But we didn't have the answer."

But perhaps even more confounding for the Badgers was the fact that the offensive boards forced them to play more defense. Due to the second chance possessions, UW had to play an extra shot clock of defense and that led to tired legs that were worn down and more susceptible to fouling that what was happening in the first half.

"The key to winning games is offensive rebounds," Krabbenhoft said. "Today (Sunday), that's the case. They get offensive rebounds, they get three-point plays, they get an extra 35 seconds on the shot clock.

"All that goes into them winning this game."

The ugly

Two offensive field goals over final 12:31 of the game:

After Marcus Landry drilled a three-point shot from the left wing that gave UW its largest lead of the game, the Badgers were unable to muster hardly anything on the offensive side of the ball.

From that point on, the Badgers shot 2-for-10 from the field and committed four turnovers that led to seven Spartan points in critical stages of the game.

"I think they have guys that play a lot of minutes and one of the things we were trying to do was wear them down a little bit," Izzo said. "We couldn't play Korie Lucious because he is sicker than a dog, so was not able to do anything which hurt us a little bit.

"Travis Walton and Kalin Lucas really picked it up and when we went inside it was a lot better."

When MSU started pounding the interior, Suton started having success. He scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and all of them came during MSU's final 32-9 run to seal the win. The Badgers simply could not find a way to defend him on the low block or around the mid-range.

"We did a lot better job the second half getting it inside and it make a big difference," Izzo said. "He (Suton) has skills and abilities to do a lot of things, and so how I am going to get that out of him in the next three weeks because that kid could be a very good player."

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