The Voice: Win has Badgers in the mix, yet again

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgIt was one of those games --with an atmosphere to go with it -- that any Badger fan would love to put in a bottle. The home team trailed top-ranked Ohio State by 15 points in the second half, only to stage a dramatic rally, led by a junior point guard who used to be one of the nation's most underrated players.

I would guess Jordan Taylor's status among national college basketball observers has changed.

While Taylor earned everyone's star of the game honors, I would suggest we award an assist to the good folks at UW Sports Medicine. Following a hard-fought overtime victory at Iowa last Wednesday, a game where Taylor played 44 of a possible 45 minutes, he sat out last Thursday afternoon's practice--doctor's orders.

No doubt if Taylor had his way, he would have been on the floor with his teammates, but the sports med folks knew he needed a blow. Clearly, Taylor does a ton of heavy lifting, in and out of the weight room.

Assistant Coach Lamont Paris has suggested that the percentage of possession time that Taylor has the ball in his hands might be more than anyone in college basketball. In addition to owning a four-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio, not to mention the fact he spends many games guarding the other team's top player, Taylor may very well end up as the league's leading scorer in Big Ten play.

On Saturday afternoon, he put on a show for the ages.

It is a good thing he had a little bit of time to get some more fuel in the tank.  

Sunday was an off day for everyone on the team, which also is good and much needed. Think about this stretch. We know Iowa is in the rebuilding mode, but at times it has been a very competitive team. Certainly that was the case last Wednesday.

The Badgers play a weeknight game that tips at 7:30. It goes to overtime. The team takes a three-hour bus ride back to Madison.  The players probably get to bed by 1:30 or 2 a.m. A few hours later, it is off to class (they try to do that here), and then later in the afternoon they hit the practice floor to get ready for Ohio State.

They beat the Buckeyes, setting off a wild celebration. They have a chance on Sunday to catch their breath, and then on Monday they get ready for a road trip to Purdue. Talk about a reality check. Congrats on beating the number one team, now you get to play the Boilermakers in their house.

That is life in the Big Ten, where every team is dangerous, and every team is vulnerable. That appears to be the case all across the country, which should make for a very interesting next six weeks.

With four of the final six regular season games on the road, the Badgers' upcoming schedule is a major challenge. Yet once again, as the conference hits the stretch drive, Bo Ryan has his team in the mix. Who knows how it will end, but Badgers fans have every reason to keep a close watch on this group.  

Kind of nice to say that year after year, isn't it? Now, get some rest and get ready for these next several weeks.   

ON WISCONSIN