While many people believe the Badgers are winning because they have upperclassmen leading the team this season would be very average if not for the strong contributions of the younger players Ryan Evans,Rob Wilson and Jordan Taylor. It is also the fact that the Badgers rely so heavily on the contributions of young players to put them over the top to earn victories that they have struggled on the road in big games. Playing on the road is harder to do and takes experience to get used to and adjust to, these players just aren't used to playing in hostile environments against extremely talented competition and high level of pressure.
We would argue that probably the second biggest factor that led to the loss at Purdue was Ryan Evans picking up two bad fouls in a short amount of time with 8 minutes left in the second half that forced Bo Ryan to take him out of the game. The Badgers really missed Evans' defense and rebounding ability late in the game and he likely would have helped the Badgers get the victory,but it is understandable that Bo took him out as he clearly seemed to have lost his composure which likely wouldn't have happened at home. The good news for the Badgers is that the young players have now had some excellent tests playing on the road this year and should be improving as road players after playing at Michigan State,Ohio State and Purdue. In fact Bo Ryan has consistently raised the amount of minutes that Evans and Wilson have played in road games as the season has progressed, so this seems like a pretty good sign that their play on the road is improving.
Here is the progression of the threesome of Evans,Wilson and Taylor's scoring in the Big Ten as a percentage of the teams total game points.
Road: PSU 30% (63-46W),MSU 15%(47-54L),NW 20%(60-50W),OSU 15%(51-60L),Purdue 30%(57-60L): average 22%
Home: OSU 32%(65-43W),Purdue 43%(73-66W),Michigan 35%(54-48W),PSU 31%(79-71OT W),MSU 43%(67-49W): average 36.8%
We look for big things for the Badgers on the road or a neutral court as the young players continue to get more comfortable away from home.
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