Well, this was weird.
It started off weirdly enough as the Badgers took on the Red Storm all the way out in South Dakota at an arena named 'the Pentagon.' To make things even more off was the fact that two schools associated with the color red were playing on a court that was predominantly blue. And to top it off we witnessed a Wisconsin team score 86 points versus a solid opponent. Oh, and they also shot the ball extremely well from the free throw line.
I could make some apocalypse jokes or maybe acknowledge that there may have been some substance to Bo Ryan's comments about the team playing considerably more up-tempo...or I could just chalk it up to the team adding 25 points from the charity stripe, having an impressive night from beyond the arc and adding 14 rebounds on the offensive glass.
Whatever the Badgers did it was impressive, as the team not only shot the ball effectively, they also managed to limit turnovers and held their own on the glass against a respectable Red Storm frontcourt.
One of the keys to the game I mentioned in my preview was Wisconsin forcing St. Johns to beat them outside as they were by far one of the worst teams in the nation from beyond the arc. St. Johns only shot 13 three pointers on the night but only made 2 of them, shooting a horrific 15.4%.
At the end of the day the biggest difference was free throws and three pointers as St. Johns actually shot better (48.3% versus 46.3%) from the field than Wisconsin, while also shooting 4 more shots. However, 9 less made three pointers and 8 less free throws helped contribute to the Red Storm's 11 point loss.
The loss came even though St. Johns saw impressive performances from forward Jakarr Sampson and guard D'Angelo Harrison. Sampson shot 9 of 15 from the field, scoring 21 points and adding 7 rebounds. Harrison led the team in scoring, recording 27 points in 36 minutes.
The Badgers saw everyone on their starting lineup besides Frank Kaminsky score at least 13 points. In his first game back Josh Gasser recorded a team high 19 points and 8 rebounds. Rising star Sam Dekker added 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Duje Dukan added 15 points from the bench.
Wisconsin will now have to prepare for another challenge as they will host the Florida Gators next Tuesday.