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Wisconsin Basketball Defeats Ohio State 71-60: Here’s What Stood Out

The Wisconsin basketball program remains unbeaten in Big Ten play.



Wisconsin Badgers Basketball
Jan 10, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Scotty Middleton (0) blocks a shot from Wisconsin Badgers guard Max Klesmit (11) during the first half of the NCAA men’s basketball game at Value City Arena.

It’s not quite time to start comparing this team to the 2015 squad, but the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program has solidified themselves as a Big Ten front-runner after a convincing win at Ohio State.

What a big step forward for a team that missed the NCAA tournament last season and started out 2023 slowly. Wisconsin basketball is fun again. Here are three things that stood out during the 71-60 win over the Buckeyes.

Max Klesmit Stepping up Late For Wisconsin Basketball

Max Klesmit was held scoreless in the first half in Columbus, mainly focused on playing complementary offensive basketball and guarding a top perimeter player. However, as UW struggled to find the bottom of the net in the second half he began looking for his shot.

And Klesmit’s teammates are happy he did, as he scored 18 points in the final 20 minutes. He hit two clutch threes within the six minute mark and knocked down all six of his free throws. He even got to the hoop off the dribble and finished strong.

Klesmit hasn’t had to be much of a scorer since his big day against Marquette, which is fine. The guard picks and chooses when to get his shot. This makes him a perfect fit in the Wisconsin basketball rotation.

A Nice Glimpse of Nolan Winter’s Game

With Steven Crowl banged up coming into Wednesday night’s tilt, the freshman center knew his number was going to get called early and often for Wisconsin basketball.

Winter played 11 minutes, logging just 7 points, 2 rebounds. But it wasn’t the stat line that stood out to me, it was his overall offensive and defensive activity and potential.

Yes, the young big man is rather wiry and got bullied a few times down low. However, Winter stood his own bodying up Zed Key down the stretch. He also showed touch making a crafty runner early on, offered up his range hitting an open three off of a screen, and finished a strong layup down low.

Yes it’s early and a small sample size, but Winter is a great athlete and may offer up even more scoring than Crowl for Wisconsin Basketball in the coming years.

Wisconsin Basketball Knocking Down 10-11 Free Throws

If the Wisconsin Badgers want to make a run at a Big Ten title and beyond in 2024, strong free throw shooting must be a constant.

The team lives at the free throw line most games due to their willingness to go inside and play through contact. On Wednesday night, Wisconsin basketball once again confirmed they are locked in at the charity stripe making 10 of 11.

Klesmit made all six of his down the stretch, and even more important to me was Tyler Wahl going 3-4. Wahl gets to the line at a high clip, but only converted 63% of his last season.

This year, Wahl is shooting 68% with his revamped high arching shot. It may not be a thing of beauty, but if he can get his percentage up over 70% he will be even more of an asset.

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