Wisconsin Sweet 16 + USMNT WCQ

Live simultaneous blog of Wisconsin’s Sweet 16 matchup against the Florida Gators and the USMNT must-win World Cup qualifier vs Honduras.

USMNT Starting XI.  We’ll be in a 4-4-2.   current Timber Darlington Nagbe slotted in front of ex-Timber Jorge Villafana at leftback.  I would expect that Bradley will sit deeper and let Lletget roam fwd as the #10.  Lletget and Villafana sensible starts but 2 of the newest faces in the USMNT side since Bruce Arena took over.

1st Half

Badgers need to stay out of foul trouble + defend the arc + pound it inside.  Goodness, Koenig carelessly steps out of bounds.  2nd time this tournament he’s done that.   Brown steadies himself and hits a 3 off a kick from Happ for the first Badger points.   FL has a made jumper and drive to the rim for its first two baskets.  Hayes wild on 2 short jump hooks.   UW touching the post every possession.  Late double on Happ and he patiently finds Brown underneath for 2.  Koenig hits his patented stepback 3 to double the UW advantage.  FL not using much shot clock but so far the Gators settling for too many jump shots.    That’s not troubling UW.  Koenig slips it to Happ on a roll to the rim for the And1.

Wisconsin 10  Florida 4  15:30′ 1st Half

Happ hits the FT.  Lets see how FL adjusts .  Pick and roll to the rim for 2.  That’s a high percentage look for FL.   Hayes sticks a 3 from the wing and UW lead bumps to 8.   Hayes gets a little physical inside and FL player goes flying tagging Hayes with the foul.  Not the most discreet from Hayes there.  Trice in for Koenig.  He gets knocked down by an illegal screen and gets called for the foul.  So picks up right where he left off against Villanova.  Liftoff courtsey of Iverson (who else).  Showalter bounces to Iverson and nobody sticks with the high riser.  FL takes a TO.

Wisconsin 16  Florida 6  13:26′ 1st Half

4 of FL’s 6 points have come at the rim and yet they still settle for jumpers.  Shhhhh….  Koenig is off on a 3 and Happ can’t convert after Iverson offensive rebound.  Guess what, FL settled for another 3.  Koenig takes a quick midrange we didn’t need.  Trice for some reason was matched up on a FL big.  Not much he could do. Happ tries to help late.  Shot takes a fortunate bounce for FL so Gators will have an And1 out of the timeout.  It was on Trice.

Wisconsin 16  Florida 8  11:50′ 1st Half

FL misses on the FT.  Hayes sticks a midrange.  5 points outside for him early.  FL hits its first triple in reply which they badly needed.  Hayes pure again as UW gets to +9.

Off an inbounds miscommunication on D for UW leads to an easy FL layup.  Gators mixing up the defense showing some pressure/traps and nearly get a steal.  Showalter with nice drive and kick but Iverson can’t finish it.  FL jack another quick 3 off the heel.  Hayes uses the shot fake gets defender in the air for a soft call but he still converts. And1.  he misses the FT however.  Showalter claws it away and UW sticking with Hayes.  He explodes to the rim (“turns the corner”) and draws another shooting foul.  This is the formula.  We knew going in FL didn’t have the bigs to matchup and its depth inside was limited.  Hayes off on both FTs however not helping the cause.  He’s 0-3 from the stripe.

Hayes first step too much for the Gators and it leads to an easy deuce for Happ as the lead grows to 11.  Happ straight up tackles a Gator as Koenig fumbles it (that’s why UW doesn’t run) and its a tieup.

Wisconsin 24  Florida 13  7:49′ 1st Half

Apparently Mt. Horeb girls soccer made cuts today (the fightin’ trolls!).  I’ll try and get an update.  FL hits a corner 3 out of the Under8 timeout.  Pritzl goes the full Jarmusz and misses a wide open corner 3 that he had to take because he was wide open.  Side note: he was wide open because FL knows he will never make that shot. never.   Happ misses a bunny and FL guy flattens Pritzl.  The forearm shiver to the chest made that a fairly easy call.


Showalter pass intercepted leading to a flush at the other end for FL.  Gators creep back within 6.  The pressure on Koenig really bothering him as he fights to get up the floor.  Bailout call for UW to catch its breath and presumably go back to Hayes.   Koenig dribbles around a bit and kicks to Brown for his 2nd triple.  Wild drive and flip by Gators gets 2 back.  FL shows full court pressure off the make.  Hayes turns the corner on a spin and FL forces a fumble by slapping his arms.  I mean in football that was probably fine.   Iverson soars for an offensive rebound.  Hayes gets his 2nd foul on offense by throwing an elbow into Gators chest.  I mean sort of.  But he does that all the time so I never really know if/when it should be called.  Tough break for him.  He goes to the bench.  UW up 7.  Trice airmails a long pass to Happ.  The very definition of a guy pressing.  Just get to half with a 7-point lead would be fine.  UW sort of crumbling here since the Under8.

Wisconsin 27  Florida 20  3:53′ 1st Half

FL just dribbled around the perimeter as UW comfortable ducking under ball screens.  Shot clock violation.  Terrible call as FL guy dives into Showalter around a screen and that’s a foul on UW.  No. No it was not.  FL basket in the lane, not settling for a jumper, but Gators foul UW in the full court press.  Brown converts from the FT line as UW lead stays at 7 for now.   Little 1-2 combination play leads to an open 3 and FL is suddenly within 4.  Iverson using shot fakes gets the foul but splits the FTs.  FL hearing up offensively as they’ve battled back to trim the deficit to 2.  Gators on a 15-6 run.   Happ contesting on a 3 and gets whistled for a foul.  There wasn’t any contact but I guess that’s still a dumb play by him.  FL cashes all 3 to take its first lead since 4-3.

Happ travels as UW just unraveling in the last 8′ of the half.  6-second different in shot and game clock.  I suppose they can run a play.  Or Koenig can dance around and hit a stepback to close the half as he is want to do.   Happ with a pretty drive and spin as FL was focused on denying Koenig.  Now Gators can hold for last shot.  and Brown this time fouls a FL 3-point shooter.  That one was a foul.  So so dumb.  This was a brilliant 12 minutes of basketball followed by some of the ugliest 8 minutes of the season.

HALFTIME   Florida 34  Wisconsin 32

Stats from ESPN

FG Made-Attempted 12-23 12-29
Field Goal % 52.2 41.4
3PT Made-Attempted 4-7 4-10
Three Point % 57.1 40.0
FT Made-Attempted 4-8 6-7
Free Throw % 50.0 85.7
Total Rebounds 16 15
Offensive Rebounds 3 5
Defensive Rebounds 13 10
Team Rebounds 0 0
Assists 8 8
Steals 3 3
Blocks 1 2
Turnovers 9 6
Team Turnovers 0 0
Total Turnovers 9 6
Personal Fouls 9 8

USMNT v Honduras 1st Half

0-5′ John Brooks cleans up after some sloppy play wiht Cameron and Bradley.   GOOOAALLLL USMNT.  Pusilic darts through the middle and ball falls to Altidore who flicks it forward for Pulisic.  His shot is deflected and Lletget follows up and punches it home on the back post.  He was never going to miss from there.  1-0 USMNT.

5-10′  Lots of open space in the middle between Bradley and the US frontline.  Honduras just carelessly hammering the ball fwd for no apparent reason is a welcome gift.  Nagbe and Villafana with a bad turnover trying to establish possession but Villafana wins it back off the throw.  Honduras steams through the middle off another bad turnover but no worries as Villafana erases it.  Frenetic pace thus far.  Bradley with a ghastly pass intercepted but wins it back.  His chip fwd comes to nothing.  Honduras continues to look for long balls.  not the worst idea assuming you have a target there.  Villafana, Cameron, Gonzalez, and Brooks not the fastest back 4.

10-20’Honduras earns a CK.  Played short and Howard tries sto spring Dempsey on the counter.  1-man show.  Nagbe works to Lletget on the wing but attack fizzles as too much horizontal passing.  Does allow US to catch its breath a bit and regain its shape.  Lletget cut down on the right touchline but Bradley’s service poor.  Honduras cross finds a fwd at the PK spot but its a poor turn and he can’t get much on the shot.  Brooks flailing there.  Lletget down for treatment and Bedoys looks ready to come on for him.  He does.   Pulisic clowning people on the touchline.  Looked to be away but flag is up for out.  That ball was in and Pulisic was in on goal.  No idea how an AR misses a ball right underneath him.  The AR was inches away and still missed that call.  Brutal break for US.

20-30′  Bradley tracks back and yes, looks like he got more of the man than the ball.  Landon Donovan praises Bradley’s work committing a turnover and then hustling back to foul? ???  Dangerous spot on the wing for Honduras to spin in a cross.  Nobody can connect and its out for US throw.  Bedoya  in acres of space and he choose the wrong ball as he cuts back into traffic instead of keeping the ball wide.  Bedoya has words with the Honduran he fouls.  Honduras pressuring Bradley intensly in the hopes of forcing a fatal turnover.  They’re getting closer.  Cameron booked as Honduras player just collapses yards away from him.  I missed that.  Replay shows Cameron just clips him on the shin guards.  I see the foul.  Not sure why that has to be a yellow.  FK on the outer edge of shooting range for Honduras.   Straight at Howard.  Thanks.  UW finally surges fwd via Altidore on the right.   Bradley races free over the middle and a beautiul strike into the bottom left corner going back against the grain GOOOOALLLL USA!  US 2 Honduras 0.  Off the throw he just spins to the middle and nobody from Honduras defense bothered to contest and with no pass available he drives in low and perfect placement as it settles in the corner to double the US advantage and put Honduras to the sword inside 30′

30-45′ Speculative ball fwd and misplay by Honduras but Altidore clatters over the defender instead of keeping the guy in jail.  Honduras stepping up the pressure at the back but the visitors with no ideas outside of forcing turnovers.  Pulisic with scoop pass to Dempsey.  Dempsey muscles off the challenge and blasts it home into the top corner.    That was probably close to being a PK but Dempsey sliding as he went to ground and fires it in to secure all 3 points.  US 3  Honduras 0.  Pulisic chopped down 40? yards from goal.  No card.  Honduras might need some of the ball if its going to gain a foothold and US is not willing to oblige.

Honduras can’t decide whether to go 1-and-1 or just send in a hopeful cross.  Bedoya gets whistled for a soft call giving Honduras a chance to send in a cross from the left wing.  Nagbe suffers an ugly foul as he tries to counter and now the ref doesn’t want to give yellows.  lame.  intentional foul busting up a counter is 100% a yellow.  Altidore feeds PUlisic.  Pulisic fouled but no call.  Some Honduran looks to be in agony near his own bench.  Shoulder?   Soon as he went down signaled to the bench.  I’m guessing dislocated giving the pulling/tugging the trainers are doing.  And we’re back.  US asserting itself just building possession.  Bedoya cross met by Pulisic but the youngster can’t keep it down.  Honduras guy subbed out.  Bedoya and Cameron burned and cross escapes everyone on US to an open Honduras man at the 6.  Gonzales and Brooks split and somehow the Honduras fwd misses unmarked from the 6.  Again down the left and Bradley in pursuit.  Brooks beat again but cross floats just high.  US a step slow and too much ball watching.  Honduras coming very close to making this interesting.  Honduran fwd goes to ground looking for PK.  Nagbe races fwd but then loses it as halftime beckons.  Ref just putting the whistle away now.

HALFTIME  USMNT 3  Honduras 0

2nd Half Wisconsin – Florida.  Showalter with a nice drive and floater for 2 to tie the score.  FL answers with 2.  Brown passes on the open 3 and kicks to Happ as the shot clock expires.  After a FL 3 Happ converts a 3-point play to draw UW back within 2.  FL splashes a midrange jumper and Gators lead back to 4.  Showalter walks.  FL cleans up on the offensive glass and off a turnover Happ commits a foul.  FL makes both FTs and the Gator lead is at 8.  Happ answers back with 2 but fair to say FL the side with soaring confidence and more energy.  

FL coasts through  the UW defense and lead back to 8.  dangerous time for UW.  We don’t have the offense to get back. Happ driving in and gets swatted but goaltending.  Impressive block but clearly goaltending.  FL hits a tough jumper and Happ called on the boards.  ref huddle.  Still not sure what Happ did that earned a foul.  FL lining up for FTs and refs have no idea what is going on.  FL lead grows to 10 but Hayes gets back 2.  FL guard slips and that draws a whistle.  Wisconsin fans not pleased with these calls.  

UW down 8 and Koenig hits a much needed jumper to keep touch.  Pick-and-roll and Brown fouls which was too bad because Iverson was there to block it.  FL splits the pair and UW finds Koenig for 3 to creep closer.  Great screening action to get him free.  Hill beat but Iverson with a statement block to erase Hill’s mistake.   Brown misses off the pick-and-roll.  FL drives in and there’s a foul in there somewhere I guess.  Not really sure.  

Badgers need to keep the Gators out of the lane.  FL getting good looks and even if the Badgers can force the initial miss it’s too easy for FL on the offensive glass to cause havoc.  Showalter called for the foul this time.  Showalter bulls through a screen. That was an offensive foul on him in the 1st half but this time the foul gets called on the defense.  FL misses the FT.    Koenig short on a 3.  FL stunned they didn’t get a foul called on the turnover.  Hayes patiently works inside and its a 2-pt game again.  UW with 12 turnovers.  Showalter strips FL  and no foul called!.  Definitely a pro-UW crowd.  FL called for the illegal pick ths time.  Have to think Gard talked to the ref after that Showalter call on the previous possession.   Hayes with deep position and great ball movement.  And1.  Tie game with 10:21 left and Hayes can give the Badgers the lead.  UW won’t go away.  Hayes imrpoves to 1-4 from the FT line and UW up 53-52.  FL answers back with a 3.   Hayes bringing the ball up the court now.  Maybe to give Koenig a little rest?  Iverson slips on the drive.  That was a foul on UW defensively but no call on FL.  To be clear, it was not a foul.  But it’s called as a foul against UW.   Awful sequence.  Showalter steals but throws it away and leads to FL And1.  Underhand FT is super exciting to the old white commentators.  He makes it.  FL lead back to 5.  Happ bulls his way inside.  absolutely atrocious call on him for his 4th foul.   In no world is that an offensive foul.  FL converts And1 on the floater as Gators gapping UW again.  Koenig reaches in for some reason.  Not a great couple plays by UW seniors on defense.  

Koenig drives in and gets the friendly whistle this time.  He hits both Fts and UW takes a TO.

Florida 61  Wisconsin 55  8:31′ 2nd Half

FL hits a 3 as UW can’t keep ducking under ball screens now.  Showalter drive draws a foul and he hits 2 FTs.  Koenig from deep and misses.  FL smartly flops to draw a foul on Brown on the rebound and Brown has fouled out.  Florida 64  Wisconsin 56  7:10′ 2nd Half

UW can’t get anything offensively and FL pressure bothering UW.  Allen for Allen with 32 and UW down 11.   FL splits some FTs as I’ve lost focus amazed by US running riot over Honduras.  UW down 12 under 5′ as the curtain is closing.  Koenig forces a floater and way off.  Off a rebound Showalter gets out on the break for quick 2.  Happ finishes off a Showalter miss but UW still down 8.  JS beat writer says its over.

UW ball down 8 now clock rolls under 3.  Badgers have to be perfect now.  Showalter fouled on the floater.  Showalter hits both.  Off a switch Koenig on a big and he fouls rather then allow an easy 2.  Not much Koenig could do there.  FL splits and the lead is 7 for the Gators with 2:37′ left.  Koenig off the heel on a 3 and that’s the shot UW needed to get back in it.  Deep but open look but he can’t stick it.  FL splits again.  But UW down 8 with 1:57 left.  UW needs offense in a hurry and this is a good defensive team.  Koenig misses a 3 but SHowalter sticks back the rebound.  UW fouling now.  FL hits both and lead back to 8.  Koenig sticks a 3 from the UW bench and the deficit is cut to 5.  But too little too late.  You could see the relief and frustration on his face after having missed a few open looks.   UW not fouling.  FL content to run clock and wild shot goes out of bounds as FL dude was going way to fast.  Tried the Villanova jump into the guys chest but this time no whistle.  Under a minute .  Does UW have a little magic? Koenig off on a 3 but Happ puts in the rebound to keep UW alive.  UW can play it straight up and FL wants a TO.  UW forces a turnover.  They have a timeout and Gard trying to signal for it but nobody notices until just 6.5 seconds left.  Good job by FL hassling Koenig so he couldn’t see it.  Any guesses as to who is taking this for UW?  I think you have to shoot quick because FL should probably just mug Hayes or Happ immediately and send UW to the line.  Koenig cramping badly.  Showalter racing fwd and hits a running 3.  I think he was behind the line.  Honors even 2.1 seconds left.  Showalter does the belt for #12.

UW lucky to not get called for a foul on the long high inbound pass and its knocked away.  Trice wide left on the 3/4 ct heave.  Overtime.

OVERTIME Wisconsin 72  Florida 72

Off the tip, Showalter scrapping and gets called for a dumb foul.  FL will go to the FT line for 2.  More free points courtesy of UW.  That was not a foul.  He didn’t touch him.  Guy just goes flopping out of bounds and the ref feet away from it calls it.  I cannot believe this is the best officiating we have.  I mean how do you miss a call like that in OT of the Sweet 16.

FL takes the gift and splits.  Happ off on a drive.  Hayes fouled on a shot.  FL griping about a shot to the head.  This will probably be a lengthy review at the monitor.  Gard just throws up his hands.  Hayes makes both and UW takes the lead 74-73.  FL walks but Happ grabs the rebound.  Koenig just a walking wounded now.  Hayes knocked down off the ball and he’ll head back to the FT line for 2.  Hayes hits 1/2 and Happ steals.  Koenig just drifting around out there.  But you can’t trust Trice or Hill.  Hayes taking over.  Bulls inside and probably should have made it .  But he misses.  The shot fakes are getting FL defenders every time.  Hayes misses both but  Iverson hustling on the rebound (because it was way off) and FL knocks it out of bounds.  Happ with an ifty move inside worming under the rim for 2 and UW up 4.  Allen off on a 3 but FL gets the rebound.  FL misses 3 straight triples and Hayes clears.  Hayes gassed but as FL defender reaches in he just chucks a shot to get the foul.  Hayes 1/2.  FL quickly the other way for 2.  3 point game under 90 seconds.  Happ lots of dribbling around the arc.  Now the calls are all going UW’s way.  Showalter draws a handcheck.  I think that’s a no call.  Big break for UW as one of the few not terrible FT shooters to the line.  Showalter hits 2 and the lead is 5 under a minute.  FL taking some time.  Euro Step into the lane for a drive for 2.  Showalter nearly throws it away.  Happ gets fouled. Not a bad foul at all for FL.  Happ not close on the first.  Happ hits 1/2.  UW fouls on the other end.  Hill out of control.  Dumb again by the Badgers on D.  FL hits both.  2-point game.  UW yanks Happ so he doesn’t have to shoot FTs.  Home run ball to Iverson.  But it’s blocked.  Play off the season. FL gets an easy 2 and UW will hold for the last shot.  No idea how Rick Berry’s kid blocks Iverson on the break. clean too.  A shot fake and Iverson can get the fly by and easy 2.  :

24 left so Badgers can hold for the last shot.  Showalter gives to Hayes.  Hayes spins to the hoop.  Looked like a travel? I guess not.  Hayes gets the call.  No timeouts for FL but a little break here as the Gator fouls out.  Hayes just 5/12 from the line.  Hayes calmly drains the first.  Gets just enough on it to convert the second.  UW showing some pressure to make things tricky on the Gators.  FL goes the length of the court and hits a running 3 to win the game at the buzzer.  No doubt thats a 3.  The first buzzer beater of the tournament.  Happ was stuck behind the FT line.  Not sure why.  No way FL was getting to the rim with :04 left.


Stats from ESPN

  • Missing 10 FTs when you lose by 1 hurts a bit.
  • 15 turnovers in a game where you shoot over 50% also not ideal.
  • UW up 5 with a minute left in OT and loses it.
  • The chasedown block on Iverson just brutal swing from UW up 4 to tied in a matter of seconds.
  • Fouling 3point shooters to close the 1st half also not great.
  • Didn’t think UW could find a way to exceed the gut punch of losing to Notre Dame last year but this was it.
  • On that last sequence.  Surprised UW didn’t step up more and guard the arc on the last possession.  I mean 4 seconds with pressure in the back court.  Gators aren’t getting to the rim.  So contest WITHOUT fouling.
  • I was kind of thinking UW might have Hayes intentionally miss the 2nd FT since it was unlikely FL was shooting anything but a 3.  So a 2-pt lead doesn’t matter.  Obviously UW +1 means a foul and FL can win it at the line (as opposed to forcing 2nd OT).  But like the end of Villanova.  Miss intentionally and hope for high rebound.  Double the rebounder without fouling just to make him use clock.
FG Made-Attempted 28-55 28-62
Field Goal % 50.9 45.2
3PT Made-Attempted 7-17 8-22
Three Point % 41.2 36.4
FT Made-Attempted 20-30 20-28
Free Throw % 66.7 71.4
Total Rebounds 37 33
Offensive Rebounds 11 13
Defensive Rebounds 26 20
Assists 14 10
Steals 9 4
Blocks 2 7
Total Turnovers 15 13
Personal Fouls 26 24

2nd Half USMNT v Honduras

45-60′  :15 seconds in and US scores!  Off the kickoff Bradley chips down the right.  Ball in flickeed by Dempsey who finds Altidore.  Clever 1st time chip from Altidore to Pulisic and the 18-year-old makes no mistake 1-on-1 with the Honduran GK. Poise from the youngster  US 4  Honduras 0.    Honduras cross skips past everyone. Great work from Altidore to pressure Honduras.  He pounces on a mistake and finds Pulisic who arrows a perfectly weighted ball to play in Dempsey. And that’s why they call him Deuce.  A brace for Dempsey as he touches around the GK and cooly slots home.  US 5  Honduras 0.  No mas.

They have to keep playing but really that’s it.  I mean there is no way back for Honduras.  Lets see some stronger defending from centerbacks.  Pulisic touches around a Honduras defender and draws a FK for the US just outside the area.  Dempsey sizing it up for the US.  Dempsey just filthy there.  Baits the GK into a false step and curls it far post.  Dempsey has 3 and US 6 Honduras 0.

Pulisic still probing, knifing through the defense and Altidore gets his feet wrong and can’t do anything with the feed.  I’m ready to declare that Pulisic is not the next Freddy Adu.  Bradley finds Altidore on the right.  He is cut down in an ugly manner but they play advantage.  Geoff Cameron off as with a 6-goal advantage you can give Zusi a look at right back.   Brooks heads away a CK and Honduras smokes the volley back in off the crossbar.  He caught everything and Howard couldn’t do anything.

60-75′ Nothing much happening.  John Brooks down after a routine clearance.  Tim Ream coming on for him.  Teams out of subs.  Neat looking scorpion kick off a Honduras CK but it was always drifting wide.  FK for Honduras maybe 35 yards out.   Nothing to it.  Bradley composed trying to work it free. Bedoya settles fo rbanging it off Honduras for the GK.  Rare Nagbe touch.  Little too slow on the ball from him and nearly gets his pocket picked.  Bedoya finds Villafana on the left.  Rare foray fwd for Villafana even before the margin was in doubt.

75-90′ US not trying to get fwd.  The point now is just to avoid needless yellows.  Howard misreads a cross but nobody from Honduras there to make him pay. Safe to say the wind is out of the sails, the air out of the balloon, as this game meanders to a close.  Altidore and Dempsey working for one last surge.  Dempsey leaves for Altidore but he can only toe poke it and its easily dealt with.  Zusi concedes a CK.  Into stoppage time.  Honduras trying to save a little face with a dangerous FK at the ftop of the area.  Howard does well to get low and save.  Defense clears.

FINAL  US 6  Honduras 0

This was a dominant performance from the USMNT from the opening minutes.  Pusilic is really good and there is solid chemistry among him, Dempsey, and Altidore.  I’m often critical of Altidore and Bradley but both had their moments tonight.  Especially Altidore.  He showed more technical and cerebral ability than I’ve seen from him in the past.  Picking the right ball and doing so under control.  Quiet nights from Nagbe and Villafana.  But harmless.  The only true threats from Honduras came from one superlative volley from distance and exposing the lack of pace from Cameron, Gonzalez, and Brooks down the left channel.  Hard to be anything but reassured and confident facing Panama in a few days even on the road.


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