Ryan Evans jumps when he shoots free throws. Ben Brust looks as if he just got his driver’s license, and Mike Bruesewitz’s shaggy hair draws snickers every time Wisconsin goes on the road.
The Badgers may not look like a top team, but they play like one.
Evans scored 16 points in a terrific all-around performance and No. 22 Wisconsin upset No. 3 Indiana, 68-56, in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament Saturday in Chicago.
“We’re playing our best basketball at the end of the season, and that’s what you want to do,” Bruesewitz said.
The Badgers allowed only seven points after the top-seeded Hoosiers pulled within one with 9 minutes 45 seconds left. They earned their 12th consecutive win against Indiana, tying a record for any school against the powerhouse program, and will play Ohio State, a 61-58 winner over Michigan State, in Sunday’s final.
“There are just things in this game, no matter how you try to explain them, they defy explanation,” Ryan said, shrugging away Wisconsin’s long run against Indiana. “But we have players who are willing to work, to listen, to buy in.”
Brust added 12 points for Wisconsin (23-10), which has won three straight and six of eight.
Christian Watford scored 14 points for Indiana (27-6), and Cody Zeller had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Victor Oladipo scored 10, but was 4 for 12 from the field.
●OHIO STATE 61, MICHIGAN STATE 58: In Chicago, Aaron Craft came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and lead the No. 10 Buckeyes past the No. 8 Spartans and into the Big Ten final against Wisconsin, which ousted Indiana.
Craft keyed a seven-point spurt midway through the second half that stretched the lead to 55-47, and the Buckeyes (25-7) came away with the win after the Spartans (25-8) pulled within one. The victory avenged a loss in last year’s championship game.
The Buckeyes will go for their third Big Ten tournament title in four years.
●VCU 71, U-MASS. 62: In New York, Troy Daniels made six three-pointers and finished with 20 points, and the No. 25 Rams advanced to the Atlantic 10 tournament title game in its first season in the conference.
The Rams will face top-seeded Saint Louis, a semifinal winner over Butler, in a matchup of the league’s top two teams during the regular season. The Billikens won, 76-62, at home in their one meeting Feb. 19.
VCU (26-7) forced 24 turnovers to hold off a pesky Minutemen team that upset Temple in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Chaz Williams ended his Atlantic 10 tournament run back home in Brooklyn with 62 points in three games for sixth-seeded U-Mass. (21-11). He scored 18 on 7-of-12 shooting Saturday.
●SAINT LOUIS 67, BUTLER 56: Dwayne Evans nearly set a career high in points for the second straight game, and the No. 16 Billikens locked down the Bulldogs in the second half in New York.
Evans had 24 points and 11 rebounds a day after going for 25 and nine against Charlotte.
Top-seeded Saint Louis (26-6), which will face VCU in the Atlantic 10 final, beat the Bulldogs (26-8) for the third time this season.
●KANSAS 70, KANSAS ST. 54: In Kansas City, Mo., Jeff Withey had 17 points and nine rebounds, Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe added 12 points each, and the seventh-ranked Jayhawks pounded the No. 11 Wildcats to win their ninth Big 12 tournament championship. Top-seeded Kansas (29-5) shared the regular season title with its in-state rival, but beat Kansas State (27-7) for the 47th time in the last 50 meetings.
●NEW MEXICO 63, UNLV 56: Tony Snell scored 13 straight points for the No. 15 Lobos (29-5), who defeated the Rebels (25-9) in Las Vegas to add the Mountain West tournament title to their regular season crown.
●FLORIDA 61, ALABAMA 51: In Nashville, Kenny Boynton scored 11 straight points during a 15-0 second-half run, and the No. 13 Gators (26-6) overcame a 10-point, second-half deficit to beat the Crimson Tide (21-12) and advance to the Southeastern Conference final against Mississippi, a 64-52 winner over Vanderbilt.
●MISSISSIPPI 64, VANDERBILT 52: Marshall Henderson scored 23 points as the Rebels (25-8) defeated the Commodores (16-17) to advance to the SEC championship game in Nashville against Florida. Ole Miss has won six of seven to reach the final for the first time since 2002.
●MEMPHIS 91, SOUTHERN MISS. 79: In Tulsa, Chris Crawford scored 23 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer in double overtime, and the No. 20 Tigers (30-4) beat the Golden Eagles (25-9) to win their seventh Conference USA tournament title in the past eight years.
●ALBANY 53, VERMONT 49: In the America East final in Burlington, Vt., Mike Black scored 14 points and the Great Danes (24-10) came back from an early deficit to break an eight-game losing streak against the Catamounts (21-11) and earn their third NCAA berth.
●N.C. A&T 57, MORGAN ST. 54: In Norfolk, Adrian Powell scored 14 points and blocked a potential tying three-pointer in the final seconds as the seventh-seeded Aggies (19-16) beat the Bears (17-15) to win their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament title since 1995.
●SOUTHERN 45, PRAIRIE VIEW A&M 44: The Jaguars (23-9) earned their first NCAA bid since 2006 by beating the Panthers (15-19) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference final in Garland, Tex.
●AKRON 65, OHIO 46: In the Mid-American Conference final in Cleveland, Demetrius Treadwell scored 13 points and the top-seeded Zips (26-6) defeated the Bobcats (24-9), who missed 19 of 20 three-point attempts.
●NORTHWESTERN ST. 68, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 66: In Katy, Tex., Shamir Davis scored 19 points as the Demons (23-8) earned their first NCAA berth since 2006 with the win over the Lumberjacks (27-4) in the Southland Conference final.
●MONTANA 67, WEBER ST. 64: In Missoula, Mont., Kareem Jamar scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Grizzlies (25-6) past the Wildcats (26-6) for the Big Sky championship.
Top-seeded and No. 1-ranked West Liberty (31-1) sprinted to a 26-point halftime lead and never looked back in breezing to a 114-82 victory over eighth-seeded Bowie State in an NCAA Division II Atlantic Region first-round game in West Liberty, W. Va. The Bulldogs (16-14), who won the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament, were paced by Byron Westmorland’s 19 points.