Butler led by over 20 points for a good chunk of the game, while Wisconsin sleepwalked through the first three-quarters of the game. Jump shots weren’t falling, uncharacteristically bad choices were made, and Bo Ryan’s team was in a huge hole.
Then some shots started to fall. Namely, Jordan Taylor’s. He had a miserable first half but came to ball later on, finishing with 22 points on the night. A straightaway three with under two minutes to go cut the lead to four for the Bulldogs, but the Badgers would get no closer, as Matt Howard’s knack for making plays came back to the surface. Any time there’s a rebound to be had, the big local senior is the one to pull it down. He hit the last two foul shots to end Wisconsin’s dream comeback on the night.
Jon Leuer, the enigmatic senior with such intriguing upside, finished the night 1-12, dropping the Badgers’ field goal percentage under 30% on the night. So much can be said for the Butler defense but the simple fact is that Wisconsin did not commit to taking the ball to the basket this game. Shots weren’t falling, and Bo Ryan’s bunch was not making the right decisions in what to do on the offensive end, allowing Brad Stevens’ defensive schemes to dictate what they would do with the ball. Jump shots can go hot or cold, but when you’re getting high percentage shots from the inside, things tend to go warmer more often than not.
Butler will move on to face Florida in an 8/2 matchup that catches everybody off-guard, looking to advance to the Final Four for the second straight year. A Matt Howard/Alex Tyus matchup should be good. Same goes for Shelvin Mack and Erving Walker. Meanwhile, Leuer, Keaton Nankivil, and Tim Jarmusz will all be graduating from Wisconsin, leaving the team pretty short-handed for next year save for Jordan Taylor.
Another great night of madness in the books. Tomorrow figures to be just as wild, with only two #1 seeds remaining, and there are no more easy outs.