Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Historic contest a nightmare for men’s basketball team

It all seemed like something from a dream.

It was the middle of the Big Ten season and Wisconsin was playing a non-conference opponent, something that hadn't happened since the 2000-01 season.

The game was played at 11:15 a.m., the only morning tip-off of the season. It was early enough to have the Kohl Center patrons looking a little sleepy as they slowly filed into the arena.


And most unusual was the fact that Wisconsin was beaten, and beaten soundly, by an upstart opponent who is so new to Division I basketball it hasn't even found a conference yet.

But when North Dakota State had put the finishing touches on its stunning 62-55 defeat of UW, it was very apparent for the Badger faithful that the game hadn't been a dream at all, but a nightmare.

"We just got stomped by North Dakota State," freshman Joe Krabbenhoft said, putting into words a nearly unthinkable pre-game scenario.

Dashed is Wisconsin's 27-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents. Gone is the tide of momentum that was with the team only a week ago, after starting out 4-0 in the Big Ten. The Badgers' rankings are nose-diving, both in the polls — where they were 15th in the AP and 13th in the Coaches' poll — and in the RPI, where the Badgers were ranked third.

It was a historic day to be sure. The win was without question the biggest in the history of North Dakota State, and it was also probably the biggest surprise upset of a Bo Ryan team since the coach first came to Madison five seasons ago.

It is all too easy to equate the Badgers' loss to overconfidence, especially since there probably wasn't one fan in the 17,142 at the Kohl Center who went in believing Wisconsin would lose to the no-name Bison.

But the fact is that Wisconsin didn't play like an overconfident team. They played hard through the duration of the game. On defense they managed to force 24 turnovers, a season high. On offense, they snatched down 22 offensive rebounds, also their best effort of the year.

"There is only one thing that you always say as a coach when you get into these types of games when you are struggling on the floor," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. "You have to get on the offensive boards and rebound when they are not going in. We did. And you have to get the other team to turn the ball over. And we did. You suppose we'd have a chance then, and we had a chance."

The fact is that after starting off the game 1-of-10, the Bison shot 61 percent (22-36) the rest of the way, often knocking down contested shots.

"It's hard to score on Wisconsin," Bison head coach Tim Miles said. "They play very good defense, but once we kind of got loose and stayed aggressive, we were better."

The Badgers, on the other hand, looked as if they couldn't have hit water if they fell out of a boat, shooting 22 percent from the field, which included shooting 4-of-27 from beyond the arc.

Wisconsin's two leading scorers, Kammron Taylor and Alando Tucker, shot a combined 8-of-42 from the field, scoring 30 points between them.

"Well, they were consistent at throwing three guys at me for 40 minutes," Tucker said of the defense on him, adding that the double- and triple-teams led to open shots for others.

"We had some good shots. You can't get any more open [than we were] and we have to knock them down, especially if we want to compete in the Big Ten."

Five minutes into the second half, Tucker missed a jumper, got his rebound, missed a lay-up, corralled the rebound again and then missed again from close range.

"That's it right there. That's the tale of the whole night. That right there is very frustrating," Tucker said. "A lot of shots rattled in and rattled out, and that is heartbreaking."

After the game, Miles was asked if he had envisioned this in his wildest dreams — and that was what this game was for North Dakota: its wildest dream.

And, for Wisconsin, its worst nightmare.

Landry, Stiemsma out again: For the second-straight game, both freshman Marcus Landry (academics) and sophomore Greg Stiemsma (medical) were unavailable to play for the Badgers on Saturday. The two were on the team bench but not in uniform for the game.

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