MADISON -- All those that picked Wisconsin to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten ... and those that believe, even in an "up" year, the Big Ten is still a lackluster league of bruising farm boys that can't run and gun with the athletes of the Atlantic Coast Conference, let us present Exhibit A:
Wisconsin 73, Duke 69.
It took an all-around team effort and the Badgers had to hold off a furious, last ditch rally from the Blue Devils, but in one fell swoop the ended Duke's winning streak in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and handed the oft-maligned Midwest league it's first victory in the 10-year, made-for-TV series.
The Badgers (5-1) led from wire-to-wire in the contest and went up by 11 after Trevon Hughes hit a three-pointer with 5:08 to play. Duke came back, hitting three straight three-pointers over the next three and a half minutes to get within two with 1:46 to play.
Only a couple of Jason Bohannon free throws kept Wisconsin - which failed to score a field goal during the final five minutes - in the game.
"When Duke hit those thee and they were on that run and hitting some tough ones, we figured we just had to shorten the game," Ryan said. "They're just too good offensively."
Duke got within one, on Kyle Singer's tip-in with five seconds to play, but Trevon Hughes and Jordan Taylor hit free throws down the stretch to put the Blue Devils away.
"The two senior guards out there, we had to be calm, cool and collected," Hughes said "It trickles down to the rest of the team."
Hughes led Wisconsin's attack scoring 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Before this game, he mentioned he was disappointed in his performance the last time the two teams met - an 82-58 Duke win two seasons ago.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski thought otherwise.
"He's a damn good player," Krzyzewski said. "I thought Trevon was pretty good the last time we played and I think he's good now."
Helping Hughes out was junior forward Jon Leuer, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds and a 10-point effort from Jason Bohannon.
"It was a total team effort," Hughes said.
Wisconsin came out of the gate hot, shooting 53.3 percent in the first half, and after Duke switched to a zone briefly in the first half, cooled off a bit and finished the game shooting 44 percent.
"Our defense in the second half was good," Krzyzewski said. "We had a chance to win. In the first half, they had no chance to win.
"If the second half would have been like the first half, we would have been blown out of here."
Kyle Singler hit his first seven shots in the game and finished with a game-best 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
The victory snapped Duke's 10-game winning streak in the Challenge and helped the Big Ten emerge victorious for the first time.
"It's a point of pride knowing we had something to do with that," said Wisconsin forward Keaton Nankovil. "Especially in a game not a lot of people thought we'd win."
NOTES: Wisconsin is now 123-10 at the Kohl Center since Ryan took over in 2001. ... The last time the Badgers beat a top-five opponent was Jan. 9, 2007 when they knocked off Ohio State, 72-69. ... Wisconsin is now 5-6 all-time in the Challenge, 3-1 at home and 4-1 in games played in the state. ... Bo Ryan has a 62-5 non-conference record. ... The Badgers have started each of the last eight seasons 5-1 or better.
OnMilwaukee.com conducted a live blog during the game: