Game Day Grades: Minnesota

Mike Bruesewitz (Moebius/13)

MADISON - Just like it loss against Michigan State, Wisconsin struggles to find flow offensively, but the Badgers make enough key plays late on both ends of the court to win a physical 45-44 victory over No.12 Minnesota. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: D

Wisconsin had trouble getting into any kind of rhythm offensively with a 37 percent (17-for-46) shooting performance from the floor. Wisconsin early and often attempted the three-ball going 7-for-22 (31.8 percent) in the game.

Ryan Evans and Sam Dekker led the Badgers in scoring both had 10 points. Traevon Jackson had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting, and showed more poise late in the game than we had seen up until this point.

Wisconsin had trouble taking care of the basketball in the first half with eight turnovers. The turnovers were sloppy, as Wisconsin was either careless with the basketball or made lazy passes. The Badgers were able to clean it up in the second half with only two turnovers.

Wisconsin didn't try and get the basketball in the post at all against Minnesota. Jared Berggren went 1-for-4 from two (1-for-7 overall) and finished with two points while Mike Bruesewitz didn't score. Wisconsin had chances to get the basketball into the low block but missed their opportunities.

Again, the free throw line was a struggle with a 4-for-8 performance, but is lucky that the misses didn't cost them the game this time.

Defense: B

With the offense continuing to struggle, Wisconsin needs to continue to play well on the defensive side of the ball, which they did. The Badgers were able to contest the Gophers' shots and Minnesota ended going 16-for-45 (35.6 percent) from the floor.

Wisconsin had trouble containing guard Andre Hollins who led all scorers with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting. Hollins was able to use his quickness to get to the hoop and get his shot off.

Wisconsin forced Minnesota into coughing the basketball up nine times, four coming off steals by Wisconsin taking away the passing lanes. Wisconsin's defense turned up a notch holding Minnesota without a field goal over the final 3:53. They also held the Gophers to just four points on their final eight possessions over the last six minutes in the game.

With only 16 team fouls, Wisconsin was better limiting the "bad" fouls, but George Marshall's foul on Hollins at the end of the first half on his attempted three could have been avoided with better ball pressure.

Overall: C

Wisconsin played well enough to win the game but they are going to have to start shooting the ball better and to make free throws to win consistently in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin received good production from its bench with 10 from Dekker and Marshall adding eight points on 3-for-7 shooting. Although he only played eight minutes, Zach Bohannon was productive in his time. Bohannon only had one rebound but played strong defense, hustled and played smart. If Frank Kaminsky misses his fourth straight game, Bohannon should see more minutes.

Wisconsin was able to out rebound the Gophers 32 to 28; impressive considering the Gophers' tendency to clean up on the boards. Despite holding Minnesota to 28 rebounds, Wisconsin had trouble keeping Trevor Mbakwe (10 rebounds) off the glass. Minnesota grabbed eight offensive rebounds (half of its average coming in) and was only able to get four points off of their second chance opportunities.

Although he is only averaging 6.8 points in the last six games, Brust (six points) was able to still put together a solid game, finishing with four rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Game MVP: Ryan Evans. Dekker could have been given the MVP but Evans was able to put together more of a complete game. Besides Evans scoring in double figures, he was able to pull down eight rebounds, had three assists, one steal and one block. With the Badgers struggling early in the first half to score the ball, Evans was able to hit some key jump shots. Evans struggled mightily against the Spartans so it was good that he was able to put together a strong performance against Minnesota.

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