Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ouch - Wisconsin-Duke postgame thoughts

There's a guy I play basketball with named Adam, good guy. He's the most athletic guy we play with, great hops, quickness, good shooter, but there are certain times I can get the better of him - when he's out of condition, just lifted, otherwise indifferent, etc.

But when he's really trying, he can just embarrass dudes. Like last week. I decided to take a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and shot it rather slowly. Adam made up a big defensive gap and pretty much took the ball out of my hand before I could finish the shot. He laid the ball in at the other end - would have dunked it, but he's been slacking on his conditioning since he got married this summer.

Adam on top of his game versus the rest of us shlubs at noon ball is what came to mind watching the Wisconsin-Duke game tonight. Duke had five Adams out there, Wisconsin had five Tappas. There was a large gap in athleticism, intensity, confidence, and our kids were on the wrong end. We looked better in the second half, but by then it didn't matter.

If you're interested, I have some thoughts on the game, some obvious and some overlapping, but here goes anyway.

-Thanks for showing us the thrilling Indiana-Georgia Tech endgame, ESPN. Eric Gordon is a freaking beast. He is always on the attack and has all the elements you need to score big.

-While watching Indiana shoot free throws, the game was pretty much decided in Durham. When ESPN finally got to our game, Trevon Hughes had two fouls and was on the bench, and our kids had that Badger-in-headlights look.

-Good move to press us, wonder why more teams don't. Remember that game two years ago when Minnesota almost overcame a huge deficit at Williams by pressing? And that was Minnesota - no chance when Duke is flying around like that.

-Early on I thought "tonight would be a nice time for Marcus Landry to assert himself." He finished with seven points. I am officially worried about Marcus, something's not quite right yet. Against these cupcakes on our schedule he needs to be taking 15 shots a game so that when no one else is open, like against Duke, he's ready to create his own offense and is familiar with the role.

-Duke is about 100 times better than they were last year. Why couldn't we have played them last year? Kind of like that Why couldn't we have played Notre Dame this year? football thought.

-Dan Schulman summed it up best when he said "Everything that can go wrong is going wrong for Wisconsin."

-When we missed free throws tonight, they weren't even close.

-I'm not one of those cliche Duke haters, but watching Coach K piss and moan about calls with his team up 18 in the first half annoyed me.

-Right after K's hissy fit, Michael Flowers got called for two unbelievably bad fouls, once when Brian Zoubek got him on a moving pick, the other time when Gerald Henderson crashed into him going for an alley-oop. And the technical he got late for "pushing" Kyle Singler was ridiculous.

-We need to get some guards in here, and there's only two coming next year. Our lack of quickness against an elite team was palpable, both in handling their defensive pressure and in defending their dribble penetration. Hell, Jon Scheyer was getting to the rim like he was Steve Nash.

-How many times did their guards block our bigs' shots in close? That's tough to watch.

-Would have been nice to take advantage of our size advantage. Our inability to do so shows the importance of ball pressure on perimeter passers.

-Maybe we should have not helped off Taylor King, I understand he can shoot.

-We threw so many soft passes crosscourt.

-Can we just cancel the ACC/Big Ten Challenge? Why not match the Big Ten and Big 12?

OK, three positives to end on:
-Duke's fans seemed excited for the game, which can only mean that we're a legit opponent.
-We played pretty well in the second half, even if they outscored us by one.
-Really liked how Jon Leuer stepped up and played with confidence. It wasn't always pretty, but he showed a willingness to attack Duke rather than letting them dictate play.


Toohey said...


Since you won't say it, I will. I think I hate Duke now. I don't know what was worse, watching the Badgers get destroyed by a better, more athletic team (like you said), or having to listen to Dickie V fellate the entire Duke nation. All he did was praise Duke and Coach K and talk about the V foundation (nothing wrong with that, I just think he went overboard) and plug "Numbelievable."

Granted I'm biased being a Badger fan and all, but aren't announcers supposed to be ambivalent as to the outcome of the game? I understand the game was over before halftime, but please. Dick Vitale should be banned from all Duke and North Carolina games for the rest of his life.

The "highlight" they showed of Wisconsin executing Bo's offense featured King falling down basically leaving a three on one which lead to a Leuer dunk. Great execution guys. Way to make your opponent fall down.

Ultimately, I'm just pissed we got smoked. Obviously, Duke is a better team and I feel better today after getting a good night's rest. We showed promise in the second half and I liked what I saw from Leuer. We should have a solid year, maybe make the second round of the tourney but that's about the ceiling this year.

Just my .02

Scott Tappa said...

Toohey - your comment about our "highlight" and "that's Badger basketball" was right on. The play was a fluke, but the alternative was showing no highlights!

I suppose the reason I don't hate Duke so much is because I loathe North Carolina, and since Duke beats Carolina more than anyone I usually don't mind them. That said, when the lose in the tournament I usually grin.

It would be interesting if ESPN could make Vitale go a whole season without calling a Duke or UNC game. He'd have a stroke.

Thing is, he fellates just about everyone from every game he calls. Did you hear him go on and on about our recently-signed recruiting class? And Bohannon, who did next to nothing last night? He loves them all, baby!

Scott Tappa said...

Oh, and I missed the reference to "Numbelievable," what's that?

Toohey said...

Check out Nubelieveable at Amazon.

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