Other Campuses: Badgers hope to move past Illini loss

(U-WIRE) MADISON, Wis. – After round two against the nation’s No. 1 squad, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team left Champaign, Ill., with a clear indicator of where it stands against the top program in the country.

“After watching the film, there’s no doubt that they’re the No. 1 team, and they deserve that title. They’ve proven it, what, 25 times now? So we just have to learn from it,” guard Michael Flowers said. “If we can do the little things – which we got away from doing against Illinois – we’re like ‘Wow, we were right there with them.'”

After the game, Illinois guard Deron Williams said the Badgers struggled to contain dribble penetration throughout the game. Jeter credited the Illini offensive scheme for his squad’s inability to stop the penetration and said he does not feel it is an ongoing defensive concern for his team.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an issue,” Jeter said. “All good teams do things well … Illinois is known for their dribble penetration.”

Flowers echoed Jeter’s sentiment, attributing his team’s defensive struggles against the penetration to Illinois’ vaunted backcourt trio.

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    “I wouldn’t say it’s been a problem for this season,” Flowers said of opponents’ dribble penetration. “It was just that we went up against Deron Williams, Luther Head and Dee Brown on the same team.”


    No player worked harder than guard Michael Flowers in Monday’s practice session. The freshman was everywhere, diving for loose balls, hauling in offensive rebounds, slicing to the basket and, of course, locking down hard on defense.

    Coming off what may prove to be a breakthrough performance in Saturday’s loss, in which the freshman saw his first action at the point and showed promise offensively as well as filling his traditional role as a shutdown defender, Flowers expressed confidence that his hard work will yield increased playing time in the coming weeks.

    “I think the role I play is going to get more blown up because I’m out there, and my teammates know I’m out there doing positive things,” Flowers said. “I think that getting their confidence and their trust is what has enabled me to grow as a player.”

    Flowers’ play has also caught the eye of the UW coaching staff, which has seen its freshman defensive specialist gain confidence on the offensive end recently.

    “I think it took some time for him to get his timing down and then to really get that confidence, where ‘Hey man, I can play,'” Jeter said. “I think he’s always known that defensively he’s blessed with quick feet, he’s really good at anticipating … but now he’s understanding that to really be a complete player, [he’s] got to be able to step out a little on offense.”

    With Flowers beginning to flourish on both ends of the floor, the freshman has begun to grow into the role of the X-factor for Wisconsin.

    “He’s getting there,” Jeter said. “In order to be an X-factor, you have to be either a total lockdown guy or a guy that comes in and puts up big numbers quickly. I think he’s somewhere in the middle. He’s a very good defender at this point; he’s got things to work on both ends, but he’s able to get minutes, and once he’s able to get more minutes, then you can see maybe some of that X-factor stuff.”

    – Michael Robinson