Friday, February 8, 2008

Wisconsin-Minnesota thoughts

Yet another game that was fun to watch knowing that we won. I really like how we took the crowd out of the game early, and it sounded like we had a lot of Badger fans at The Barn. Is that right Schwib and Toohey?

-A terrific game by Pop. He was never out of control, and he really anticipated the Gophers' lackadaisical passes en route to his six steals. My one concern is that he gets caught up in making steals and lets up on playing solid positional defense. Remember, steals don't equate to good defense, and I'm sure Bo won't let that happen with Hughes. I love Trevon's demeanor after all those big plays - no chest pounding, just business as usual.

-Minnesota doubled Butch and Stiemsma in the post at times in the first half, don't remember seeing anyone do that against us to this point. The big guys didn't exactly handle it spectacularly, just kind of survived. Thought the Gophers also used their hands guarding the perimeter more than any other team I'd seen this year, surprised they didn't get whistled for that more often.

-Matchups obviously dictate this, but we seem to be going with a smaller lineup a lot: Hughes, Flowers, J-Bo, Krabby, and Landry. Good lineup for closing out a game and for guarding the perimeter, but not bad rebounding either.

-Early in the second half Minnesota scored a few points in a row to cut our lead to like 15 points and I heard what had to be about 10 fans in the student section shouting the now cliche "Ohhhhhh!" It sounded like a dead cat moaning.

-Liked the offense overall, but too many possessions went down to the last five seconds on the shot block with Pop taking a 3.

-Let's pick a nit: way too many unforced turnovers.

-I think Tubby Smith played too many guys. Ten guys got eight minutes or more, and Tollackson - their only guy who scares me offensively - only got 16. They never seemed to have a cohesive unit on the floor. Do you really need to find minutes for a mediocre guy like Abu-Shamala? Contrast that to our tight rotation, which is eight at the most, and in the Minnesota game was really only six. Playing at that pace, you can use less guys.

-Even though they're not putting up Alando Tucker-esque numbers, Hughes and Butch, probably even Landry, can be counted on to score in double digits, which is important. It was concerning that Landry had three shots blocked, he seemed to be too relaxed on those shots.

-Is it me, or have Flowers and Krabby shot more reverse layups than anyone you've seen in the last 10 years? Those shots aren't easy.

-Finally, and I feel uneasy writing this because it is somewhat critical of a good kid: Tanner Bronson reminds me of a guy we had on our varsity sophomore year. His name was Christoph Schmidt, a foreign exchange student from Germany, and he was terrible. He'd get on the court in garbage time and run around like a chicken with his head cut of before doing something embarrassing.

To be clear, I do not think Tanner is embarrassing, he's a sharp kid who's busted his butt for four years and will be a success in whatever he pursues after college, likely coaching. That's admirable. But I can't remember a time when he's done anything productive with the limited minutes he's gotten at the end of games. Case in point against Minnesota: he misses two free throws badly, that's something he should be able to do. Finish the game on the right note - let Tim Jarmusz and Keaton Nankivil feel like their limited minutes count. Earlier in his career, it was cute, but now I'd rather see a guy like Brett Valentyn, who might contribute some day, get those minutes.


deuces said...

For those who didn't hear the Lepay/Lucas call of the Minnesota game Sunday, Lucas got in some nice digs on Tim Brewster. Paraphrased:

"Tim Brewster in attendance today watching the Gopher's new head coach Tubby Smith. Brewster is about 399 wins away from Tubby on the all time tally".

"Brewster was walking around the student section giving high fives and almost slipped and fell on the pavement in the Barn. Luckily, the Axe was nowhere close for him to fall on".

Lepay chuckled and Lucas said "Those were for you, Bret".

Scott Tappa said...

That's awesome. Reading that takes just a little of the Purdue loss.