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Brust’s buzzer prayer puts Wisconsin in thick of Big Ten race

Don’t be shocked. It’s the Big Ten and college basketball in 2013. This is normal — expect surprise.

Late in regulation, Wisconsin opts not to foul Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. and, of course, he hits the 3. Then Ben Brust rushes up the floor, also isn’t fouled, and heaves a 40-footer to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Wisconsin wins 65-62 at home against third-ranked Michigan, which just beat No. 10 Ohio State, which gets soon-to-not-be No. 1 Indiana at home on Sunday — and the Badgers just may beat the Hoosiers too.

Brust led Wisconsin with 14 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 40 seconds left in OT; Trey Burke had a game-high 19 for the Wolverines.

The Badgers have now won five of their past six home games against teams ranked in the top 10. They’re 17-7 with an 8-3 record in the Big Ten, tied with Michigan in second place behind IU and Michigan State. Wisconsin has never finished worse than fourth in the Big Ten in Bo Ryan’s tenure.

We’ve thought for a lot of this season that the Big Ten was the best league not only for its elite teams but its top-to-bottom strength. That remains true — remember: Illinois, even at 3-7 in the Big Ten, just took out Indiana. But even more so now, it seems this conference’s upper ranks are getting stronger.

The game did have some oddity to it, of course. The decisions not to foul at the end of regulation are worth criticizing on both ends because both teams had fouls to give. Then there was initial confusion over whether Hardaway had fouled out with under than 10 seconds to go in OT, but game officials cleared that up and stated he only had four. No matter either way because it turned out not to mean a thing. Burke took the shot, which fell wrong.

And until the trading of obvious 3s at the end of regulation, this Jared Berggren poster of Burke was the best highlight through the early portion of Saturday.

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