UW MBB: Mike Lucas: ‘It’s up to us to set the tone.’

Photo: Wisconsin Badgers

From UWBadgers.com

BY MIKE LUCAS

UWBadgers.com Senior Writer

MADISON, Wis. — March bromides are part of the March Madness. The No. 1 seed in this category might be how some teams are "built for March" and some aren't. What does that mean? And how does that apply to Wisconsin, a program that has squatting rights on March with 19 straight trips to the NCAA tournament?

Zak Showalter, Vitto Brown, Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes have been a part of two Final Fours and a Sweet 16 the past three seasons. Who better to field the questions? And what better time to ask them for answers than after a frustrating loss to Michigan in the Big Ten championship game?

It was frustrating because it came on the heels of a three-game winning streak during which the Badgers appeared to be back on track with what they must do to be successful. That surfaced in their play against Minnesota in the regular season finale and Indiana and Northwestern in Washington, D.C.'

"For sure, we can learn even in a loss like this," Koenig said Sunday. "We kind of got away from what was working the previous three games. We know now that we have to get back to playing more as a team and taking defense more seriously and that will lead to good offense."

"There's a lot to learn from this," Showalter echoed. "We made a lot of mistakes and they capitalized on all of them. Give credit to Michigan. They didn't let us get any confidence going. They basically didn't let us move the ball at all. They were hounding it everywhere."

Did the February struggles — four losses in seven games — harden them to better deal with that second-half collapse against the Wolverines? "I would say so," Koenig said. "Just going through all of that adversity, we're not going to get too down on ourselves about this loss and we'll move forward."

But they will keep an eye on their rearview mirror and what they did in those three wins.

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