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Frank Kaminsky, Badgers keep rolling in win over Gophers

The No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers (25-2, 13-1 B1G) continued to stay hot, winning their 10th straight game by beating Border Battle rival Minnesota 63-53 on Saturday afternoon. However the real story was the incredible display put on by preseason All-American Frank Kaminsky.

Some believe the national Player of the Year award is wrapped around the finger of Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, but Kaminsky made a big statement with his overall play on Saturday afternoon in the Kohl Center.

He led all scorers with 21 points — also adding five rebounds, three blocks and committed just one foul on the day. While those numbers are impressive by themselves, it was how Kaminsky did it that put him on a very different level in the national Player of the Year discussion.

Kaminsky was 9 of 13 from the field on the day, including going 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. Not only did Kaminsky do it from deep, he also showcased an array of post moves, ball fakes, head fakes and the passing ability we’ve seen all season long as well.

On more than one occasion Kaminsky managed to use a ball fake, then a spin move and find himself in position for an easy lay-up. He also had perhaps his best game this season with his back to the basket, going 5 of 5 on lay-up attempts and 7 of 10 from inside the three-point line.

It wasn’t just the offensive onslaught that was impressive either. The big man was part of a great team effort on the defensive side of things too. UW did yeoman’s work on one of the best scorers in Big Ten play, Minnesota’s Andre Hollins, per Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

It’s that overall effort that has Kaminsky in the running for Player of the Year honors, and it was that effort that was on full display against Minnesota.

Kaminsky also happens to be one of the most steady players in the country this season, raking up six games over 20-plus points during UW’s current 10-game win streak. Knowing that it shouldn’t be a surprised to find him at the top of ESPN’s Player Efficiency Rankings:

Just how efficient and steady is Kaminsky? He not only leads the Badgers in points (17.5), rebounds (8.4) and field goal shooting (54 percent), but Kaminsky is also second on the team in assists (2.8) and three-point shooting (39.8 percent).

With the Badgers winning and doing it in dominating fashion Kaminsky’s effort can sometimes be overlooked. However, Wisconsin and Kaminsky will have a major showcase ahead, with a trip No. 16 Maryland ahead on Tuesday.

A win would clinch the Big Ten regular season title for the Badgers, and a strong performance by Kaminsky would serve as a reminder to those not paying attention of just how good he is this season.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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