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Badgers' Butch laments effort on glass

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Aaron Brenner
December 8, 2007
— Brian Butch had that look in his eye the entire game.

That look of determination, one of “angry passion” that the star forward seems to bring out when he plays in big games, particularly in front of raucous Kohl Center crowds.


Butch had such a look last year when the Badgers beat No. 2 Pittsburgh 89-75—he scored 27 points and grabbed a game-high 11 boards.


Butch had it when Wisconsin edged Iowa 74-62, contributing 15 points and seven rebounds.


But there’s one big difference between Butch’s team this year and Butch’s team last year: no Alando Tucker.


Butch certainly had a better game against No. 15 Marquette (6-1) than last year, when he had just two points and three rebounds in 14 minutes. This time around, he led the No. 23 Badgers (5-2) with 17 points and five rebounds.


Butch electrified the crowd with a few power dunks—including one that gave UW its first lead at 38-37—and also hit his first three-pointer of the season.


“Brian was fine, he’s just a player,” UW coach Bo Ryan said. “I like what he did tonight.”


But Butch wasn’t as high on his play; mostly, he was upset that all his rebounds came on the offensive side.


“When I saw that, I was very disappointed with myself,” Butch said. “As a 7-footer, you can’t have zero defensive rebounds; that’s just unacceptable.”


It appeared Butch would anchor an advantage over Marquette among forwards and centers. The Golden Eagles stole the game with better, more consistent play around the basket.


Although UW entered Saturday with a rebounding margin of plus-14 per game, Marquette outboarded the Badgers 41-34, and 21-16 on the offensive glass. The Golden Eagles also held the edge in points in the paint, 44-30, and second-chance points, 26-18.


“There were a lot of loose balls out there that we didn’t get, that we usually do,” Butch said. “We just didn’t make plays.”


Marquette dropped last year’s matchup 70-66 at the Bradley Center, when Tucker exploded for 28 points. But the Golden Eagles recognized that Wisconsin is a different team without their All-American star.


“He’s one of those guys who you have to build your defensive schemes around,” said Dominic James, who led all players with 20 points and six assists. “They’re more of a team this year, they have to rely on each other rather than an all-star like Tucker.”


Marquette coach Tom Crean said the Golden Eagles’ were ability to withstand Wisconsin’s size advantage.


“Last year, they beat us and certainly Alando Tucker had a great game,” Crean said. “But they were just more physical than us a year ago. They made too many of the close 50-50 plays against us.”


Ryan has consistently acknowledged that his team is much different without Tucker, and those differences showed against Marquette.


“The composure that we had, as opposed to last year with Alando and his presence, that’s what we’re trying to find right now,” Ryan said. “That’s the cycle that we have to get through in order to be able to compete at a high level.


“Almost there tonight, but not good enough.”



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