Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison came up with a deep three-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to stun Wisconsin in the Final Four in JerryWorld on Saturday night, 74-73. I was rather blitzed while watching the game and attempting to hide my glee from Wisconsin fans. Looking for answers, though, we diagnose what went wrong with the Badgers quest for their first title since 1941.
First, we look to our esteemed Hilary Lee, who responded via e-mail:
Nigel Hayes, who gamely (and unnecessarily) took responsibility for the loss, was limited to 7 minutes of play after picking up two fouls early in the first half. It didn’t kill Wisconsin, who still stayed out front much of the second half, but Hayes’ athleticism matched up nicely with Kentucky. Instead, something called Bronson Koenig decided he was going to be the shooter for the Badgers, going 4-10 from the field and 1-4 from distance en route to 11 points. Duje Dukan (STOP MAKING UP WHITE-GUY NAMES, WISCONSIN) also came off the bench and replaced Hayes, nabbing 8 points and 5 boards, but the Badgers did appear to miss Hayes’ athleticism down low.
Frank Kaminsky, after taking a Dakari Johnson fist to the nose early on, went out quietly for the Badgers, only scoring 8 points and pulling down 5 boards on 4-7 shooting. More concerningly, Kaminsky failed to take a 3 the entire game, one of the momentum boosts that Wisconsin relied on during its run through the tournament. Obviously Johnson presented a matchup problem Kaminsky rarely faced in the tournament, but Kaminsky’s draft stock likely suffered from his quiet performance against an athletic, NBA-caliber center.
As always, I wonder why Traevon Jackson is taking end-of-game shots for Wisconsin. I realize (and vaguely remember?) that Ben Brust was blanketed at the end of the game, but I have not been a fan of Jackson in late-game situations. Obviously, the season 38% three-point shooter is capable from deep, and his confidence to shoot the ball is encouraging, but I would just prefer the ball elsewhere (even Kaminsky) for the last shot.
In all, an eminently-winnable game for the Badgers turns into heartbreak for Wisconsin. Losing the battle in the paint 46-24 didn’t help. Josh Gasser going quietly didn’t help. Hayes being in foul trouble didn’t help. Yet Wisconsin stayed in it, and just didn’t get the bounces. Still looking for answers? Look no further than our own OTE community:
I watched the first half at a bar with some outdoor seating. It was great. It got cold so I came inside. That was mostly great, but then Wisconsin lost at just about the last possible second, which sucked. I blame my changing where I watched the game halfway through.
(Feel free to turn this into a FanShot)
by beezer07 on Apr 6, 2014 | 9:15 PM
Or, perhaps, our own Brian Gillis:
Pass the damn ball to Kaminsky!
What say you, OTE?