The Wisconsin Badgers methodically picked apart the Michigan Wolverines on Friday in Chicago's United Center, emerging with 68-59 victory in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinals clash.
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan is known for having fundamentally sound teams that rely on a deliberate pace, half-court execution and airtight defense to get the job done. It certainly worked against the high-octane offense of the Wolverines.
After an ugly first half in which the Wolverines led 20-17 and Wisconsin shot just 17 percent, things began to pick up in the final 20 minutes.
Traevon Jackson led the way for the Badgers with 16 points, as he not only scored efficiently, but also was also dynamic on the defensive end of the floor.
He did a number on Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke, who struggled, sinking just eight of his 22 shot attempts. However, when Jackson went to the bench late with his fourth foul, Burke sparked a 9-0 Michigan run that cut the Badgers' lead to 56-54 with less than three minutes remaining.
The charge wasn't quite enough, as Burke was forced to carry the heavy load for the Wolverines once again and couldn't quite muster enough magic to pull it out. He wound up with 19 points, while Tim Hardaway, Jr. kicked in 14 of his own as the only other Michigan player in double figures.
Ben Brust nailed all three of his shots from beyond the arc after the halftime break for Wisconsin, and he wound up with 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Badgers reserve forward Frank Kaminsky, who averages just four points per game, was key contributor as well, pouring in all eight of his points in the second half and making all kinds of hustle plays.
Now, the No. 22 Badgers will face the AP No. 3-ranked Indiana Hoosiers in a tournament semifinal on Saturday, while Michigan looks toward the NCAA tournament, where it will likely garner a second seed.
Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs provided some hilarious commentary in reference to the ridiculous halftime score.
Michigan vs Wisconsin 20-17 at the half. Yall playing football at the United Center today??? #DoINeedToGrabMyPads— Lance Briggs (@LanceBriggs) March 15, 2013
ESPN Stats & Info highlighted the disparity in the Badgers' offensive efficiency, as this game truly was a tale of two halves.
Wisconsin scored 17 points in the first 20 minutes against Michigan, but its next 18 points in under 7.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 15, 2013
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com provided a blunt assessment for the Wolverines, whose defense failed them down the stretch.
Michigan couldn't buy a basket, but their defensive limitations late were a major reason why they lost today. McGary/Burke undisciplined.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 15, 2013
Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead provides a silver lining for Wolverine fans, as he is not necessarily counting out Michigan despite the flaws the squad showed on Friday.
Not reading much into Wisconsin win. Badgers smart, efficient, well-coached. Mich D = issues. Wolverines still F4 contender. All about draw— Jason McIntyre (@TheBigLead) March 15, 2013