Wisconsin rolling towards top seed in Big Ten

Frank Kaminsky did get some help on Sunday afternoon.

But out of the 23 points and 11 rebounds that he scored in the game, 17 came in the second half and Wisconsin trailed the Fighting Illini 32-24.  The physicality of Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig helped the Badgers big time and Illinois simply couldn’t recover.  The final score was 68-49 in favor of Wisconsin.  The most telling stat was the field goal shooting:  50.9% for the Badgers compared to only 40% for the Orange Crush.

Historical tidbit–the last time Illinois beat a Top 5 ranked team on the road, it was during their days being the Flying Illini en route to a Final Four berth in 1989.  Nick Anderson (a decent college player who turned out out to be a nice NBA player with several teams) hit a desperation 35 foot shot at the buzzer to stun one of Bobby Knight’s last highly regarded teams at Indiana, 70-67.  Indiana was ranked third at the time.

While most of the stars were braving the chilly winds in New York for the NBA All-Stars along with SNL’s 40th anniversary, Sunday had a light slate of games

Northern Iowa continues to put pressure on Wichita State.  This time, they went on the road and disposed of Missouri State 68-57.  Led by Seth Tuttle posting a game-high 22 points, the Panthers shot 50% from the field and drained 12 three-point shots for the second straight game.

By combining a high shooting percentage with long range accuracy, this team might put together a Sweet 16 berth–depending on what type of draw they get.

In the Pac 12, Arizona and California won their games comfortably on the road over Washington State and Utah, respectively.

Tonight, Villanova and Virginia continue to state their cases for a 1 seed, while the 9 p.m. slate of games feature some tantalizing matchups with West Virginia hosting Kansas at 9 p.m. on ESPN, while a few minutes later on FS1 has Butler in Creighton, as the Blue Jays fall on hard times for the first time in several years.  Can Butler put Saturday’s shocking loss to Villanova behind them quickly?

For my next blog, it is time once again to go Under the Microscope:

Oklahoma State, Davidson, and Colorado State since I already covered Purdue.  The Selection Committee has less than 27 days to decipher the Boilermakers resume, but most bracketologists have them winding up in Dayton as one of the last four schools in.

Look for that either later today or on Tuesday.  Take care, everybody.

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