Wisconsin - 71
Penn State - 58
It's hard to get angry with your team when they lose to the #4 team in the country. There's no shame in that, and although the losing streak is now extended to eight games, the longest in two years, this one is easier to take than the losses to Purdue, Iowa, and Minnesota. This game should have served as a benchmark for the team to see where they want to get to and look for some positives. Although the final score indicates a sound 13 point victory for the Badgers, the actual game was much closer than that.
The Nittany Lions held their own with the formidable Big Ten powerhouse for much of the game. They briefly held the lead late in the first half and went into halftime only down by five. They closed the gap quickly in the second half and mostly stayed within one or two points of the Badgers for much of the second half. Then with 13 minutes to play the Badgers did what good teams do. They took care of the ball and made clutch shots.
Around the 11 minute mark guard Michael Flowers drained two consecutive three point shots. Two minutes later Alando Tucker, perhaps the best player in the country, scored and was fouled on two straight possessions. He hit both free throws for a quick six points of his own that pushed the Wisconsin lead to 12 with five minutes to play. Ballgame.
The Lions can take heart in the fact they played the #4 team in the country pretty tough. So maybe we're not as far off from being competitive as we thought we were. But realistically it's more likely that the Badgers wrote this game off until they found themselves up by only a point in the second half and decided to turn on the jets.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Northwestern to play the Wildcats on Saturday. This is the game of the year as far as I'm concerned. We have to win this game. If not, we will most likely not win a game the rest of the year and set a new standard for futility in the Big Ten.