For the first time since Dec. 28th, 1995, the Wisconsin Badgers broke the century mark on a basketball court.
The Badgers shot 62.1% from the floor and hit 12-of-20 from beyond the arc en-route to a 103-85 win over Big Sky contender North Dakota.
Wisconsin has a reputation in basketball circles. They’re slow. They don’t score a lot of points. They drain the shot clock. For lack of a better word, they’re boring! That wasn’t the case on Tuesday, as Wisconsin matched North Dakota fast break for fast break.
The star of the night was Frank Kaminsky, who shot 16-for-18 from the floor, 6-for-6 from three and hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line en route to a Wisconsin record of 43 points. It’s obviously a career-high for Kaminsky, who had 26 points in three games this season and who entered the game with 133 points in his Wisconsin career.
I know, right?
Just to provide some context for how ridiculous this scoring outburst from Wisconsin is, some numbers:
Kaminsky is a junior. Three times since he’s been at Wisconsin, the Badgers have failed to score more than 43 points in a game. 11 times during that stretch, Kaminsky’s 43 points would have beaten the team they were playing.
Wisconsin had about 72 possessions against North Dakota. They averaged less than 62 a season ago. Northwestern led the nation averaged a little more than 73 possessions.
The last time Wisconsin won a game where they had 74 possessions in regulation? Dec. 9th, 2007, in a win over Marquette. The final score of that game was 70-66.
Kaminsky’s career-high had been the 19 points he scored in a win over Illinois last season.
Kaminsky’s 43 points are the most scored in a game this season at the Division I level. Jack Taylor of Grinnell, a Division III school, had 109 points in a game this weekend. What Kaminsky did against a real opponent is infinitely more impressive.
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The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.