Northwestern dubbed it Social Media night with the program trying to feature all of the various ways to connect to Northwestern basketball and athletics. Students and media personalities took to the event with glee. Now, if only Northwestern could connect on a backdoor cut or even a jumper.
Anything resembling that orange spherical thing going through the orange-colored, lace-adorned cylinder. That is all the Wildcats were hoping and praying for and the one thing Northwestern was simply unable to do throughout the night. NU’s 41 points and 29.4 percent shooting are just scratching the surface of terrible offensive numbers for Northwestern in this loss to Wisconsin.
The Wildcats scored just 12 points in the first half and failed to score in the first five minutes of the game. By then Wisconsin had a nine-point lead and the game did not get much closer from there. The deliberate Badgers slowly extended and expanded their lead and took home a 69-41 win at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Wednesday.
It was a brutal game by all stretches of the imagination.
Wisconsin was able to break down the 1-3-1 defense from Northwestern and get the ball into the paint almost immediately. If the Badgers were missing shots they got the offensive rebounds and that set the tone early on. Wisconsin had 14 offensive rebounds in the game and a Bo Ryan team is going to score off of most of those extra opportunities. His team is just too disciplined and strong in its offense not to do that.
Defensively, Northwestern could not break free from Wisconsin’s defense or get free for any type of opening on shots. The wildcats probably made most of the open shots that they had available. There were just so few of them.
Reggie Hearn led the team with 13 points, shooting 4 for 14 from the floor. Dave Sobolewski and Tre Demps each added eight points. Any other type of offensive stats ended there. There was just little positive to take out of this game. Whatever gameplan Northwestern had was not executed well enough to keep this a game. And digging out of that hole, against a disciplined team like the Badgers was asking too much of this young and injury-depleted Wildcats team.
So Northwestern continues to drift through this season to its (hopefully) merciful end. That is not a good feeling. The positives are getting harder and harder to find.
But at the risk of jinxing the whole thing, it cannot get much worse than this.