Thursday, March 27, 2008

Coaches need a timeout - metaphorically - and Davidson thoughts

Just got done watching the Xavier-West Virginia game, a fairly exciting game. I really like that Joe Alexander kid for WVU, he's a stud, but Xavier's balance is impressive. The kid who hit the big 3-pointers for Xavier, B.J. Raymond, played his high school ball for Toledo St. John's, one of the top programs in Ohio, which played Fremont Ross my two two years there, one a blowout and one an overtime thriller.

My only complaint about the game is the endgame, which took about an hour because of timeouts. Timeouts absolutely kill the excitement of basketball games - it calms the crowd down and gives everything such a scripted feel. I'd like to see college coaches get one or two less timeout per game, take some control away from them and give it back to their kids. (In case you were wondering, Schwalbach, when I saw this photo I thought of you and busted out laughing.)

In the other game that we in Wisconsin were mercifully spared from watching Carolina beat Washington State in what might be Tony Bennett's last game at Wazzou. Carolina's inevitable march to the Final Four is utterly joyless and has all the excitement of a trip to the grocery store, no suspense whatsoever. I'm planning a longer rant in the event that they win it all, but the Tar Heels' success sickens me.

Onto our game. Granted, haven't watched a ton of Davidson games, but here's what I'm thinking are the keys to this game:

-Stephen Curry's going to get his points, but we have to make him work for them and beat him up in the process. The job falls on everyone, not just Flowers. Especially important are the bigs. Usually their role in perimeter defense is limited to hedging on ball screens, which I think our bigs are so-so at. In this game it will be important for them to hedge on Curry peeling around off-the-ball screens so he either doesn't get the pass or is forced to catch several feet beyond his desired spot. Several highlights have shown our job against Neitzel in Madison, that was textbook. A similar effort is needed tomorrow.

Russell Westbrook and UCLA did a nice job on Curry in their game earlier this season, holding him to 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting. I think Flowers can be that guy.

-You look at Jason Richards' numbers and the first thing that comes to mind is "college Steve Nash." Those assist numbers are really good for a college team that plays pretty conventional offense. But I remember a strategy a year or two ago, when the Suns were really humming, when teams chose not to help on Nash's penetration, sticking on his passing options, in effect forcing him to shoot. And he's a great shooter and scored a bunch of points. The thing is, he's not the shooter Nash is - 42% from the field, 32% on 3-pointers. Turn Richards into a shooter and cut off his feeds to their bigs - Sander, Meno, and Lovedale.

-Pound the ball inside to Butch, Landry, and Stiemsma. Duh, right? But it's important not to think we can replicate the outside shooting seen against Kansas State - that would be great, but I'd rather go to our horses down low. Plus, I think they've got some pretty good perimeter defenders, especially that kid from Canada with the '80s haircut (Gosselin).

-Davidson was down double-digits against both Gonzaga and Georgetown and came back. The Badgers are pretty good at holding leads of that size, as seen during the first two games, but I'm still begging for that early knockout blow that takes away the opponent's will.

-I don't think anyone's taking Davidson lightly. They fit the Cinderella bill, but given their resume this year - close losses to Carolina, Duke, UCLA, N.C. State, the wins over Gonzaga and Georgetown - they might as well be the third-place ACC finisher. This isn't an underdog, this is a damn good team that would have contended in the Big Ten this year.

As Frank commented, I really just want this one, and it's going to be a bitch to get it.


mjschwal said...

Gee Taps, not sure how to take that. Is it complimentary? Methinks not, but it's damn funny either way.

I can't wait for the game - your points are all well mapped out.

Who wants to join me in Detroit if the Badgers win tonight?

scott.tappa said...

I didn't mean to imply that it looks like you, just that it would make you laugh like it made me laugh. Although, take away your glasses ...

I've been mulling Detroit for six days now. Half-heartedly tried to sell it to Jana as a trip where she could see her aunt and cousin near Detroit, but given how much time I've spent on hoops lately could not give it a big push.

Will said...

Just in case you need some more reading just before the game:

New York Times article on how Wisconsin built its team...also took a look at Davidson's international roster.







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