Wisconsin's Josh Gasser hopes to regain shooting touch
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
ARLINGTON, Texas--Josh Gasser remains Wisconsin’s most effective 3-point marksman, and the competition isn’t close.
Gasser enters the Final Four leading UW in 3-point shooting at 43.5 percent. The No. 2 mark on the team belongs to Ben Brust at 39.2 percent.
However, while Brust hit 4 of 8 3-point attempts and 7 of 14 shots overall in the West Regional, Gasser missed all 5 3-point attempts and hit just 1 of 10 attempts overall.
“Definitely just missed a couple that I am confident in making,” Gasser said before practice Friday as UW prepared for its national semifinal game. “Teammates are probably confident in me as well in making them. You take a couple shots a game and you’re not going to make them all.”
Gasser, who drew tough defensive assignments against Baylor and Arizona, averaged 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
“The worst thing you could do is to lose your confidence and to lose the other stuff that you could help your team out,” Gasser said. “So I’m just trying to focus on helping my team out any way I can, defensive side of the ball, rebounding, being unselfish, and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Chairman of the boards
Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky are tied for rebound honors for UW in the tournament with an average of 6.0 per game.
Kentucky freshman Julius Randle is averaging 12.0 rebounds per game in the tournament. He is scoring 15.8 points per game and has double-doubles in all four tournament games.
The Wildcats lead the nation in offensive rebounding percentage (42.5 percent), are averaging 13.8 offensive rebounds per game in the tournament and score 15.5 second-chance points per game overall.
“I think just having 100 percent effort on the defensive glass the entire night,” Dekker said when asked to describe the key to keeping the Wildcats from dominating the boards. “Slip up and don’t get a box-out and those guys are going to take advantage of it and get it.
“On the offensive end, we don’t always send all five guys to the class. They’re not afraid to send everyone and go tussle inside and get the rebound.”
After UW finished its practice Friday, coach Bo Ryan spoke with CBS play-by-play man Jim Nantz.
Nantz asked Ryan if he had a message for UW fans in the arena and around the country.
“Keep the faith,” Ryan said, pointing toward the crowd. “We can do this. We can definitely do this.”
By the numbers
UW is 17-0 against teams outside the Big Ten, 16-4 away from home, including 8-1 at neutral sites and 8-2 against teams in The Associated Press Top 25. Curiously, Kentucky wasn’t ranked in the final AP regular-season poll. The Wildcats were No. 22 in the USA Today poll.
UW is the only team in the nation to win games while scoring in the 40s through 100s this season. The Badgers won at Virginia, 48-38, and defeated North Dakota, 103-85. … With victories over Louisville in the Sweet 16 and Michigan in the Elite Eight, Kentucky became the first team in tournament history to defeat the previous season’s champion and runner-up … Kentucky is 6-8 this season in games it trailed at halftime and 2-0 in such games in the tournament.