The 2K Classic played host to four top teams, including reigning national champion Duke and runner-up Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
New York City - Following the championship game, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski commented it was a game worthy of a title game. No dispute there. The consolation game between VCU and Wisconsin was another fit for the hallowed Garden court. The Badgers, by virtue of a Bronson Koenig lay-in with five seconds to go, emerged victorious, 74-73.
Possessions: Wisconsin 66, VCU 70
Offensive Efficiency: Wisconsin 112, VCU 104
The difference: Turnovers. Wisconsin led by 11 early in the first half. At the halftime buzzer, they entered the locker room trailing by six. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan blamed a lot of it on those dreaded turnovers. The breakdown by halves:
First: Wisconsin 29 possessions, 11 turnovers, TO rate 38%
Second: Wisconsin 37 possessions, 6 turnovers, TO rate 16%
Game: Wisconsin 66 possessions, 17 turnovers, TO rate 26%
The game total was still high, but the second half saw a marked improvement, one that let the Badgers pull the game out. For the contest, VCU had an 18-3 edge in points off turnovers, providing little wonder why Ryan elaborated on that part of the game while meeting the media.
VCU had a very efficient 13% TO rate. The Rams were outshot in eFG 58-46% and outrebounded in OREB percentage 41-33%., two significant areas in the Four Factors that ultimately decided the game.
Wisconsin: Bronson Koenig (22 points, efficiency factor 25, EF per minute .758)
VCU: Melvin Johnson (21 points, EF 28, EF per minute .800)
Quotes“We were in New York, Madison Square Garden, (facing) two excellent teams. Now we have a little better idea of what we can and cannot do. We have to get in sync as a team. Bronson (Koenig) and Nigel (Hayes) will get a lot of attention, so we need guys to step up.” – Bo Ryan’s overview of the classic
“VCU plays so hard. They will be fine. Will (coach Wade) knows the game and the ‘Havoc’ system. We had turnovers, but we just didn’t give them those.” – Ryan on VCU
“Tough ending to a tough game. We needed to get a few key rebounds down the stretch. It was a tough game for us. We have to win games and just get better each day. We are a long way from March.” – VCU coach Will Wade on the game and team
A trip to the ‘movies’ made the difference. Bronson Koenig bounced back from a rough outing Friday night to put together a solid outing, including the game winner on a lane penetration. “I was rushing things Friday night,” Koenig said. “I watched tape yesterday and saw I was coming to wide off ball screens. Today, I just slowed down and let the game come to me.”
The two performances:
Friday vs. Georgetown: 9 points, efficiency factor 13, EF per minute .325
Sunday vs. VCU: 22 points, EF 25, EF per minute .758
In Litton terminology, the Wisconsin junior guard went from average (closer to below average) to good, or in this case, very good.
Wisconsin exits the New York trip 3-2, while VCU is 2-2.