Badgers' Kaminsky, Hayes pick up Big Ten weekly awards
FEB 17, 2014 12:10p ET
Wisconsin's basketball program swept a pair of crucial Big Ten games last week against Minnesota and Michigan. Badgers players Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes, in turn, swept the conference's weekly awards on Monday.
Kaminsky was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week, alongside Nebraska's Terran Petteway, while Hayes earned his fourth Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor.
Kaminsky averaged 21.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in victories against the Gophers and Wolverines. He earned the first double-double of his career in his 93rd college game on Saturday against Michigan, tallying 25 points and 11 rebounds. He ranks fourth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.544) and second among all Badgers in scoring (13.0 points per game).
It marks Kaminsky's second career Big Ten Player of the Week award. He also earned the honor after scoring a school-record 43 points in a game in November.
"He's still developing his skills," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said Monday. "He's a guy who continues to work. He's got to just keep moving forward when it comes to when he hits rough spots. He can't get down. He's the kind of guy that you don't want to let him get too far down and then not too far up.
"Frank's one of those guys who's trying to maintain that even keel of competitiveness and desire and to keep it at a high level at all times and work through situations where things might not go his way. That's what he did yesterday and he's been doing more of that lately in that he's being a little more consistent. He still is a developing big man. I like what I saw obviously yesterday and I know his teammates did. Hopefully he has a lot more of that in him."
Hayes, meanwhile, earned his second consecutive Freshman of the Week honor after averaging 9.5 points against Minnesota and Michigan. He became the first player in Big Ten history to garner the honor in back-to-back weeks on multiple occasions. Only Indiana's Noah Vonleh (seven) has more Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards this season.
Hayes has reached double figures in scoring in four of the past five games, averaging 12.8 points during that stretch. He leads all reserves in scoring during Big Ten play (10.3 points) and is second among all freshmen in scoring. He also ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage (.563) in Big Ten games.
Extra preparation: Wisconsin has six days off between games, but Ryan said he didn't think it gave the Badgers' any advantage against Iowa. The Hawkeyes take on Indiana on Tuesday and play host to the Badgers at 11 a.m. Saturday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"I've been charting that for 13 years," Ryan said. "There's no plus or minus. It's about 50-50. Teams that have had layoffs. And you can do it yourself if you want. I don't think there's any difference. The one thing is if you have injuries and you have guys. We've got some nicks like everybody else. It does give a little more time for recovery and for rehab. But as far as the other numbers, I don't think it's been that much of a factor one way or another."
The all-time series between Iowa and Wisconsin is tied at 79-79, and the teams have continued a solid rivalry by playing several meaningful and close games of late. Still, Ryan wasn't willing to say Iowa represented any more of a big game than other Big Ten teams.
"It's hard to say that there's one team that has more of a rivalry than another team when you're situated where Wisconsin is or where Iowa is. It's the conference," Ryan said. "If you start being concerned with one or two teams over the other eight, nine teams, then that's not good."
Milwaukee or not? Wisconsin's five losses in six games dropped the Badgers low enough in NCAA tournament projections that a spot in the Milwaukee portion of the bracket seemed out of reach. But with four consecutive victories, the Badgers once again are making a push to play the first two tournament games close to home.
In the latest bracket projection by USA Today, Wisconsin is listed as a No. 3 seed against No. 14 Iona in Milwaukee. ESPN.com "bracketologist" Joe Lunardi also puts Wisconsin as a No. 3 seed in Milwaukee against No. 14 Vermont. CBSSports.com, however, lists Wisconsin as a No. 3 seed against No. 14 Middle Tennessee State in Orlando, Fla.
Wisconsin does rank No. 6 overall in the latest edition of the RPI with five victories against the RPI top 25. A solid showing down the stretch would seem to give the Badgers a strong chance of earning an NCAA tournament spot in Milwaukee.
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