This is one of those games where if it was the NFL, we'd be bombarded with the cliched "unstoppable force vs. the immovable object" throughout the entire game. Yes, it was the defensive minded Wisconsin Badgers trying to put the clamps on the second-ranked Connecticut Huskies, they of the running and pressing full court style.
"They did what they wanted to do,'' said senior forward Joe Krabbenhoft after the Huskies scored 31 points off the Badgers' turnovers and made four more free throws than the Badgers attempted.
"They wanted us to turn it over, they wanted to get running, they wanted to get to the free throw line. Everything they wanted to do, they successfully accomplished them. That hurts.''
Look, it's hard to tell this to a team full of college kids, but they really don't have anything to hang their heads about at this point in the season. It's difficult to prepare for a team with the obscene talent level of UConn, especially when you've only played the likes of Long Beach State, Iona, and San Diego.
Sure, it's easy to say the Badgers played poorly. Anyone who can read a box score can see the lackluster shooting and abnormally high number of turnovers.
On the flip-side, there are some things Wisconsin can be happy about. They played most of the first half right with the overly talented Huskies. A 14-4 close in the last five minutes of the first half was solely responsible for the ten point halftime deficit, so -- from the Badgers' point of view -- you could say they played UConn even for 15 minutes. They did. In the second half, they clawed their way back into the game. A Trevon Hughes three-pointer cut the UConn lead to three, and then a Krabbenhoft free throw trimmed the deficit to two with 13:24 to play.
From the Huskies point of view, though, they almost seemed to be toying with Wisconsin until flipping the proverbial switch. They closed both halves in dominant fashion, and that's what elite teams do. I always think back to the Michael Jordan Bulls. You could play them even until there were three or four minutes left in the half/game. Then you were cooked. UConn did just that to the Badgers, and that's why they are leaving the Virgin Islands as champions.
Hasheem Thabeet took home MVP honors, which is good, because I heard his self-confidence has been lacking lately.