With Ryan Evans, Jared Berggren and Mike Bruesewitz — Wisconsin’s three top rebounders from last season — graduating, Bo Ryan is looking for some added production on the frontline besides rising sophomore Sam Dekker.
On Wisconsin’s trip to Canada, the Badgers may have an answer in 6-foot-11 rising junior Frank Kaminsky. As a sophomore, Kaminsky played around 10 minutes per game, averaging 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds. However, he’s made a solid inside-out combo with Ben Brust in these Canadian exhibitions according to Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State-Journal.
On Saturday night, in a 88-76 win over A-Game Hoops, Kaminsky had a team-high, tied with Brust, with 17 points. He is averaging 14.3 points per game on this trip, which is good for second on the team behind Dekker.
“Obviously, I’ve had a chance to step in and play some more minutes now that most of our frontcourt has graduated,” Kaminksy told Polzin in a phone interview. “It’s been nice to be able to step in and play more and get looks that maybe I would have gotten last year. I’m excited about what this year is going to bring.
“I feel like I’m building on what (coach Bo Ryan) is saying. After every game, he talks to us (and shows) teaching clips. I’m just really excited to work on it now when we have actual games so I can prepare for it when practice comes.”
Last week, Wisconsin got word that point guard Josh Gasser would be cleared to play in Canada after missing the 2012-2013 season. The addition of Gasser, and the rise in Kaminsky’s game — along with Dekker, Brust and Traevon Jackson — and the Badgers have a solid core on a team trying to build on a 23-12 (12-6 Big Ten) season, while also trying to make up for an early exit in the NCAA tournament.
“It’s a great learning experience for some of these younger guys when they’re going to press us in the Big Ten, because you learn to play with a lead,” Kaminsky added. “That’s what this trip is about is learning to do those type of things.”
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: