Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 14, 2014

No. 2 seed Wisconsin delivered a significant blow to No. 7 seed Minnesota's NCAA tourney hopes in an 83-57 victory over the Gophers on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tourney. Ben Brust scored a career-high 29 points to lead Wisconsin to the semifinal. Get Tom Dienhart's instant reaction to Wisconsin's win in this post.


Key moment: It seemed innocuous at the time, but it was a telling layup by Nigel Hayes with 5:37 left in the game. The bucket increased Wisconsin?s lead to 58-43, coming on the heels of a Mo Walker turnover. After the Hayes score, the Gophers called time out. But, it did little to stem the tide. The Badgers outscored Minnesota, 25-14, the rest of the way in cruising to an 83-57 victory.

Key player: Ben Brust was the man on this night for the Badgers. He hit 8-of-15 shots for a career-high 29 points. He also nailed 4-of-10 shots from three-point land and hit all nine of his free throws to go with three rebounds and two assists. Brust was simply brilliant.

Key shot: Wisconsin took control of this game pretty quickly. And no moment illustrated that better than when Traevon Jackson looped a pass to Sam Dekker that he emphatically slammed home. The dunk gave the Badgers a 21-9 lead at the 9:01 mark of the first half. The lead stayed at 12 points at halftime. And it only grew slowly but surely from there.

Key number: 49, Wisconsin?s second-half points. That?s a lot. That?s also when they took control of this game, which was the first yawner of the Big Ten tourney. Pick a number-most any number-and the Badgers? was better than the Gophers? in a game that never really was in peril for Wisconsin.

Up next: The Badgers will take on the winner of the No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 11 Northwestern game. The Badgers won their lone meeting with the Spartans, taking a 60-58 decision in Madison. Wisconsin split with Northwestern, as each team won on the other team?s home court.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.