No. 8 Wisconsin 48, Virginia 38
Playing four of six games on the road last night, the Big Ten finished the first night of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge with a 2-4 record. Tonight, four B1G squads enjoy a home court advantage, but not the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers, who headed to Charlottesville for a tough matchup against Tony Bennett's UVA squad.
As Michigan fans know from the Wolverine basketball team's trip to John Paul Jones Arena two years ago, that is a tough place to play, especially against a team as defensively sound as the Cavaliers. Many people, including myself, have made this observation, but the Cavaliers would be a perfect fit in the Big Ten.
Despite losing a trio of important frontcourt players, the Badgers have jumped out to an 8-0 record, the best start UW's had during the Bo Ryan era.
Although the Badgers have shown an ability to push the pace this season in a way that can only be deemed uncharacteristic of your average Ryan team, tonight's game against UVA would assuredly be a stereotypical Big Ten slugfest, neither fast nor aesthetically pleasing.
Predictably, the first half was just that, as the two squad found themselves tied at 16-all with six minutes to play in the first half.
Somehow, the Cavaliers were down just 19-15 with 3:38 to play in the half despite not having scored a field goal in almost 10 minutes. It was that sort of half for both teams. On several occasions, the Badgers' swing offense failed to generate anything, resulting in a last second of the shot clock airballed three.
Even so, Frank Kaminsky came to play, as has usually been the case for him thus far this season. In the opening frame, Kaminsky scored seven points and hauled in nine rebounds. UW went into the half up 25-20, a lead that felt positively insurmountable.
Then again, UVA had to feel good about being down by only five given that they didn't make a basket for 10 minutes. With that said, another half like that for the Cavs would mean one more win in the Big Ten's Challenge total.