Final score: Marquette 60, Wisconsin 50
Twitter recap: Cadougan helps Eagles avoid 2nd half meltdown, drops career-high 18. Badgers shoot 33%, no player in double figures. FTs weren’t free.
He’s no Junior. Call him ‘Senior’ until further notice. Junior Cadougan only averaged six points per game coming into the weekend, but erupted for a career-high 18 points—14 in the second half and 13 in the final 10 minutes—when the chips were down against Wisconsin. He may not fill the stat sheet, but the Golden Eagles point guard has certainly established a reputation as a big-shot taker and maker. Vander Blue is Marquette’s best player. Junior Cadougan is the quintessential leader of the team. Note the difference.
Kryptonite of Wisconsin basketball. Bo Ryan has become a master at maximizing his teams’ tempo-free offensive efficiency numbers by limiting the number of possessions in a game. The Badgers run the 17th slowest pace in the nation (out of a possible 347 teams), but own the 15th-best offense in terms of adjusted efficiency, as measured by Ken Pomeroy. Don’t let the specious ratings fool you. This is not a great offensive basketball team, as Saturday’s game proved while highlighting the flaws of Ryan’s system. The Badgers shot a tick worse than 33-percent from the floor and turned the ball over 13 times while playing their usual, methodical pace. Wisconsin, which averages 62 possessions per game, matched that clip against Marquette. The problem with that? The margin for error is extremely low. When the Badgers mounted a comeback early in the second half, they couldn’t follow it through, lacking the requisite number of possessions down the stretch to sustain the rally. Teams that play at a fast pace can overcome poor shooting performances by extending the game and creating more possessions. When Wisconsin struggles shooting the basketball as it did over the weekend, forget about it.
So much for “free” throws. Free throw shooting appears to be a lost art in the state of Wisconsin, where the normally marksman-like Badgers are shooting just 63-percent as a team on the season. Wisconsin missed 14 of its 23 free throw attempts in Saturday’s loss, though its opponent didn’t fare much better. Marquette missed 10 of its 17 free throws. The Badgers can thank Ryan Evans for trashing their percentage. Evan, a 73-percent free throw shooter a season ago, shot an unsightly 1-of-9 from the line. Yikes.
Deuces wild. The Badger State rivalry has followed a trend of twos over the last eight years. The last eight outcomes have alternated in pairs between the two schools, with Wisconsin taking the first two games in that time frame (2005, 2006), Marquette the next two (2007, 2008) , Wisconsin the two after that (2009, 2010) and Marquette again each of the last two (2011, 2012). Look forward to these next two meetings, Bo!
Raucous Crowd. The Bradley Center seldom disappoints for big games, and Saturday’s showing was no exception. The rowdy crowd made for one of the best scenes of the early college basketball season and had a visible effect on the game itself. Marquette fans make their presence felt when basketball is alive in the Milwaukee area, but will they have much more to cheer about this season beyond a win against a downtrodden non-conference rival?