There’s not a lot of flash and flair in the way Wisconsin play basketball, like most teams across College Basketball. But by managing to drag a much more talented Michigan team to their kind of basketball, and give Ben Brust the opportunity to hit two huge three pointers he’ll never forget.
The first came at the end of regulation, exactly at the buzzer. Tim Hardaway Jr. just hit an almost impossible three of his own for Michigan, giving the #3 team in the nation a 65-62 lead with less than 3 seconds left. The Badgers took a timeout, and Brust got the ball off the inbound pass and simply ran, with a player closely watching him, crossed the halfway line and launched an impossible shot, hitting nothing but net. Usually, that kind of finish calls for the fans inside the Kohl Center to pour onto the floor, but we headed into overtime. Again, it was Brust with a huge three that made the difference, handing Michigan their third loss of the season.
It was awesome, something I’ll remember forever, and I’m sure a lot of people will. The best thing was Mike’s pass on the dime on the run, didn’t have to reach back for it, able to catch it all in one motion.
According to Bo Ryan, the first inbound pass attempt was a fake, to see how Michigan react to the cutting player. Mike Bruesewitz passed on the first option, and gave the ball to Brust, who made the most of an impossible situation.
How special was Brust’s shot? He hit a game-tying three point shot from about 40 feet out with 1 second to go in regulation. By NBA standards, Brust had a 3.1% chance to convert that shot in that situation. Dating to the 1996-97 season, NBA players are 2-64 (3.1%) on game-tying three pointers from 40+ feet with under 2 seconds to go in 4th qtr/OT. Corey Brewer in 2010 was the last player to make one.
It’s a weird season for the Badgers, who have only one loss at home this season in the Big Ten, and have won on 6 of its last 7 home games vs top 5 teams., but it seems that early losses to Creighton, Marquette and Florida are what’s hurting them in the polls, while playing just as good as anyone else when it comes to conference play. The 65-62 win over Michigan was their fourth this season against a ranked team; tied with Syracuse and Indiana for the most this season. Unlike the Oragne and the Hoosiers (a team Wisconsin beat less than a month ago), Wisconsin also have four losses to ranked teams. Indiana and Syracuse are 4-0 when playing vs Top 25 teams.
It’s not that good to be ranked this season in general, not just as the number one team. Since the AP rankings came out on Monday, the top-5 teams are only 2-5 this week, and one of those wins came in overtime thanks to a late questionable no-call (Michigan over Ohio State). All the five losses came against non-ranked teams on the road.