Recapping Wisconsin’s Season with Jim Oxley of Badger of Honor


To get you ready for UNC vs. Wisconsin later in the week, Keeping It Heel talked to Jim Oxley of Badger of Honor. Badger of Honor is the Wisconsin Badgers website on the FanSided Network, and Oxley is the editor over there. Head on over to for more coverage of the Sweet 16 as the week goes along!

Keeping It Heel’s questions are first, and his answers are right below.


Q: What has been Wisconsin’s best win this season? Worst loss?

A: It’s tough to decide the best win of the season for the Badgers. Wisconsin took down a trio of eventual tournament teams in the Battle 4 Atlantis early in the season and rolled through the Big Ten schedule with relative ease. The best five minutes of the season came in the Big Ten Tournament Championship when Wisconsin held Michigan State scoreless for a full 5-minute overtime, but I have to say the Badgers best game was a dominating performance on the road at Ohio State March 8. The Badgers controlled every aspect of the game on the way to a 72-48 victory.
The worst loss was definitely the road loss at Rutgers. A bad situation – Frank Kaminsky out with an injury – turned even worse when Traevon Jackson broke his foot and missed he rest of the game. Wisconsin lost to a Big Ten cellar dweller, and also lost Jackson for the rest of the season. He’s yet to return, although he has been practicing.

Q: What makes Frank “the Tank” Kaminsky such a good college basketball player?

A: Kaminsky is an all-around great basketball player. He is a dominant 7-footer in the post and displays incredible footwork. Make him catch the ball out of the paint? He’s got a mid-range jumper and can take his defender off of the dribble. The dagger is his three-point range and nearly 40 percent conversion rate from deep. And that’s just on offense.
He’s a skilled post defender, rarely fouls, and plays well within Wisconsin’s system. When asked to switch onto a guard in a pick situation, he rises to the occasion and puts up a fight against the quicker player.
He truly can do everything on the court, and I think we’ll see that pay off in a player of the year award next week.

Q: A lot has been made this March of the improvement of Nigel Hayes. What improvements have you seen from him over the course of the season? How much of a better player is he comparing Hayes when he first stepped on campus to now?

A: I see two major differences in the Nigel Hayes on the court today compared to the Big Ten Freshman of the Year we saw a year ago.
The first is his three-point shooting. Last year, Hayes attempted exactly zero three pointers. He spent the entire offseason shooting, and came back this year able to knock down a shot from just about anywhere. He’s shooting just a hair under 40 percent from deep right now.
The other major difference is his attitude and approach to the game. He’s never afraid to go out and attack the rim, back down a defender or hit a tough fadeaway. He’s looking for his shot, not just waiting for the game to come to him. He’s become a very skilled all-around offensive weapon for the Badgers.

Q: Wisconsin went 16-2 in a tough Big 10 conference. How were the Badgers so successful in their conference? What was the story of the conference season for Wisconsin?

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A: The Badgers had a few off nights in Big Ten play – the rough game at Rutgers and a tough loss on the road in Maryland – but for the most part, Wisconsin dominated the Big Ten. The Badgers, night in and night out in conference play, were always the best team on the court.
Wisconsin’s combination of a talented group on offense plus the typical stingy Bo Ryan defense were just too much for the rest of the conference.

Q: What takeaways have you drawn from Wisconsin’s tournament run so far?

A: To be honest, Wisconsin hasn’t looked all that great so far. The Badgers didn’t shoot well in either game they’ve played, but we’ve seen some individual performances that keep us assured this team will go far.
Against Oregon, Hayes had a big first half and Sam Dekker picked up his play in the second half. Kaminsky quietly scored 27 points and added 12 rebounds against Coastal Carolina even though it seems like he was barely involved in the action.
Wisconsin can definitely play better than they’ve shown so far, and they’ll need to if they want to move on to the Elite Eight.

Thanks to Jim Oxley for joining us today!