The 6-foot-6 forward has lifted his level of postseason play the last couple years, averaging 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game during the 2011 and 2012 NCAA tournaments. In addition, he shot 57.1 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from 3-point range in helping the Badgers reach the Sweet 16 both times.
Bruesewitz has collected his share of scrapes and bruises during a career diving for loose balls, taking charges and “being a nuisance” against opponents. It’s a style of play he’s relished while playing for Ryan.
“We’re hard, we’re tough-nosed and we play defense,” Bruesewitz said. “It’s something we preach. Playing for him, that’s something I’ve always embraced. That’s one reason I came here. The media can define it all they want. We know what we’ve got in our locker room. We’ve got a bunch of guys who are tough and want to play.”
Sharpshooter Ben Brust, the team’s scoring leader at 11.2 points per game, said he has learned to diversify his shot selection.
“If the shots aren’t falling, I’m finding other ways to help this team,” Brust said. “It could be getting in there, or feeding the big guy and letting him do work; trying to cut real hard and open up somebody else for a shot also is important.”
Brust’s proficiency from 3-point range has been a factor with the Badgers’ accomplishments this season, and included two dazzling long-range shots that helped lead Wisconsin to a regular-season overtime win against Michigan last month.
Brust is fresh off a solid performance in the Big Ten tournament in which he averaged 10.7 points per game and shot 42.9 percent (6 of 14) from 3-point range. The junior shot 39.7 percent (77 of 194) in Big Ten games this season, but said even when the shots aren’t falling, they won’t stray from their defensive strategy.