The clock strikes midnight

With 8:42 to play, Bucknell was ahead of Wisconsin. A second later, the Badgers Zach Morley put the Badgers ahead with a tip-in. Wisconsin pulled away from there, posting a 71-62 win over the team that won America's hearts with Friday's upset win over Kansas.

The difference in this one? If you look at the box, it is pretty simple. Wisconsin shot 15 more free throws and made 11 more, in a game decided by a 9-point margin. Bucknell was called for 24 fouls, Wisconsin for just 12. In every other category statistically it was almost dead even.

We won't suggest that the officials favored the favorite, or that the higher seed got the home whistle.

Dave Jones, of the Patriot-News seems to suggest as much:
Wisconsin got some borderline post-play calls and Tucker began filling it up. He scored but a single field goal yet still piled up 17 points on 15-of-18 at the stripe.
Maybe so. But as Jones mentions, it was Tucker, the 6-5 slasher, who got all the calls.

But that will happen. As we have pointed out all season, the calls tend to go to guys who take it to the rim, not to the jump shooters. The one thing Bucknell lacks is a big time penetrated like Tucker, who can put the ball on the floor and go to the hole.

At times during the season, Kevin Bettencourt filled that role. But he is not big enough and does not have the springs to do that against Wisconsin's 6-5 backcourt types. Abe Badmus has that ability, but is too small to do it consistently. He needs to pick his spots. Charles Lee seems the most likely guy to fill that role in the future, or Donald Brown. But both will need to improve their ballhandling skills.

Don't misunderstand. All four of those guys are fine players. Big-time slashers are in short supply, especially at the mid-major level. Remember the American-Navy tournament game? It was Linas Lekavicius that had the ball at the end because Jeff Jones said he was the only one on his team with that ability, not Andre Ingram or Jason Thomas.

Bucknell's success offensively comes from crisp patterns, hard screens and good ball movement, finding the open man and going inside out with McNaughton. But when teams as athletic as Wisconsin have bigger guards playing in your face, it is tough to shoot over them. You need to make them pay by going past them.

Tucker could do that, Bucknell could not. That was the difference in a game that was very even everywhere else.

We won't go on and on rehashing the game. We'll let others do that. There are more than enough views to link to.
AP story | Sports Network | Box score
  • Tom Housenick's Bucknell notebook (Daily Item)
  • Badgers end dance for Bucknell (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • NCAA Basketball Bucknell's tournament run ends with loss to Wisconsin(CBS
  • Hard road to hoe, no matter the foe Wisconsin State Journal
  • Inside job: Badgers reach Sweet 16 (Chicago Tribune)
  • Big boys awake in time (Oshkosh Northwestern)
  • Badgers overtake game Bison( Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
  • Inside information pays off (Wisconsin State Journal)

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