Taylor holds key for Wisconsin


Associated Press

MADISON, Wis.

The nation’s most efficient point guard, Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor, flashes a mischievous grin every time he stops to talk.

That wide smile cracks up the Badgers and it comes with a confidence that already has teammate Mike Bruesewitz believing Taylor will be the governor of Wisconsin one day.

Two more wins and it may be inevitable.

Taylor’s poor shooting could have kept Wisconsin from playing in the NCAA regional semifinal against Butler in New Orleans. Instead, it was everything else the Badgers’ point guard did in a 70-65 win over Kansas State that locked up their trip to the round of 16.

He blocked a key shot, had six assists without a turnover, and made all the right decisions despite a 2-for-16 shooting performance.

“I didn’t even notice he was struggling that bad against Kansas State, for him, that is, because he just doesn’t let the emotions get to him,” teammate Josh Gasser said.

Taylor, a junior, leads the nation among point guards with a 4.38 assist-to-turnover ratio. It’s the best mark for a starting point guard since Chattanooga’s Wes Moore (4.38) in 1996-97.

Taylor, who averages 18 points a game, is clear in his goals for the Badgers, something that impressed coach Bo Ryan when Taylor visited Madison as a high school star from Minneapolis.

“When I first met him, [he’s] not a very imposing guy, not long and lanky, physically short of stature, vertically challenged, as we say, but his eyes never left mine,” Ryan said. “He spoke very clearly, very succinctly.”

That cool, unwavering confidence struck a chord with Ryan, who has built Wisconsin’s program for the last 10 years on the foundation that it’s a super team over superstars.

Taylor defers any credit about his efficiency, saying he never thinks of risks or rewards when making decisions at the helm of the offense.

“I don’t think it’s really something you think about in the game,” Taylor said. “You just play the game, try and take what the defense is giving you.”

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