1st half thoughts: Northwestern vs. Wisconsin

What a game at Welsh-Ryan tonight. The Wisconsin Badgers and Northwestern Wildcats played a 27-27 first half that included two efficient, time-consuming offenses and some of the cleanest basketball you'll ever see in the Big Ten. It proves you don't have to watch a team that scores 80 points in a game to watch beautiful offenses.

Some thoughts:

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-Jeremy Nash knows how to back up his press clippings. He scored the first five Northwestern points of the game after this article was written about him on ESPNChicago. Talk about good timing.

-The 1-3-1 zone is very effective when Northwestern switches to it from the match-up zone. The Wildcats started in the match-up, but switched to the 1-3-1 when the match-up would've been awkward and got good results from the "specialty defense" that has become their bread and butter. While the 1-3-1 didn't result in a big Northwestern run, it seemed to slow down Wisconsin when the Wildcats went to it.

-Northwestern didn't sub until 8 minutes remained in the first half. Kyle Rowley and Alex Marcotullio came in for Luka Mirkovic and Drew Crawford. Michael "Juice" Thompson will never set again probably. The starters were back into the game just 1:37 of game time later. All told the subs played exactly 5 minutes. Wisconsin's subs only played 9 minutes. We know who these two coaches trust.

-Mirkovic is able to dominate when Wisconsin goes small. Mirkovic was very strong inside when Keaton Nankivil was out of the game. When Nankivil came into the game Mirkovic stepped out and hit a three-point shot! The best part though was definitely his celebration after it which got the Northwestern students into it. Mirkovic played his best half of the season with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

-Jason Bohannon is very good at basketball. He's a scorer. He scored 10 points on 7 shots.

-What a clean game in the first half. There were 8 fouls called the entire first half. 5 on Wisconsin and 3 on Northwestern. No player has more than 1 foul. The Princeton Offense (NU is 187th in FTA/FGA) and Swing Offense (UW is 115th) aren't designed to draw fouls, so I guess it makes sense, but what a relief to just watch two teams play basketball.

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