Wisconsin fell to the Northwestern Wildcats 66 to 59 on Sunday night, sending the Wildcats to their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It was a bitter sweet victory for me personally, because I also a Northwestern fan. I was more upset that the badgers lost, but a part of me is happy that Northwestern gets to go to the tournament.
Bryant McIntosh scored 25 points, and to defeat a defensive minded Wisconsin Team. Dererk Pardon added 11 for the Wildcats (19-6, 8-4), and they also doubled up on big man Ethan Happ to get the job done. Nigel Hayes scored nine of his 13 points in the second half for the Badgers (21-4, 10-2), who had their eight-game winning streak snapped.
The Badgers didn’t go down easily though, making an impressive comeback within five points with one minute left in the game. Zac Showalter is largely responsible for this surge of adrenalin, hitting two foul shots in the last 50 seconds.
But McIntosh followed with two free throws with 42 seconds left, and Wisconsin ran out of time. McIntosh hit the big shots late, including a drive and basket with 1:58 left to give Northwestern an eight-point lead after Hayes’ back-bending layup attempt on the other end rolled off the rim.
Wisconsin is still at the top of the pack in the Big Ten Conference however and they are expected to stay that way until the regular season plays out. Although this was a surprising loss for the badgers, it won’t affect them too drastically in the long run. As long as they win their last few conference games they should be solid; up next the badgers face the blue and yellow boys as they’ll travel to Michigan.