Tuesday, December 2, 2008

UW-Virginia Tech thoughts

Wow, great win. Believe me or not, I truly thought we were going to score on that last possession of regulation, liked the ball in Pop's hands in a helter-skelter setting. Didn't see that particular shot coming, though. I kept watching the replay over and over to see if his feet touched ground before the shot was off, but it was too close to call that.

This is one of those wins that should look really good on our resume come March, because that's a nice team we beat -- in an extremely hostile environment. The Badgers had a number of chances to fold late, but never yielded the lead. Impressive, should go a long way toward building this team's confidence, like the Texas game last year.

-When's the last time we shot 3-pointers that well? Once J-Bo got it going in the second half, there wasn't anyone out there who that was a bad shot for. Coincidentally, that was a great time for Jason to get his act together, hopefully it continues.

-Conversely, that was about as poorly as we've defended the 3-pointer in awhile. Give all the credit in the world to A.D. Vassallo, he was amazing and I thought he'd never miss. But we didn't do a great job of forcing him to catch the ball in uncomfortable spots.

-In a similar vein, Marcus Landry's defense stuck out to me as a real weak spot tonight, and that was without VaTech's best post player, Jeff Allen, on the floor because of questionable ticky-tack fouls. Marcus seemed to get beat to spots a lot, then be off-balance when in help position. Of course, he was superb on the other end of the court with 18 points, including 4-of-4 on 3-pointers. Twice early he hit baseline turnarounds but we could never seem to get him the ball in that position again.

-Player of the game for me was Jon Leuer. His development has been the story of the season thus far, and has eased the sting of J-Bo's struggles. Tonight he took 11 shots and only two of them were 3-pointers. He did miss to point-blank putbacks, but overall penetrated effectively and used a variety of shots to score. He's definitely back on the right track.

-Still loving what Rob Wilson brings to the team. He gets in the game, and about a second after ripping off his warmup jacket jacks up a 3 from the corner -- and hits it. He struggled from the line tonight but he draws fouls, is fearless and, more importantly, more aggressive than anyone else on the roster. I wish we could perform an aggression transfusion and give some of Rob's to Keaton Nankivil, a skilled player who is too content right now to set screens.

-I've won a few hundred less games than Bo Ryan, but if I were him Jordan Taylor would have been on the floor in those last 30 seconds to give the team another quick ball handler. Jordan had a nice penetration and finish early. He's on pace to play more minutes at point guard than any freshman for Bo in Madison. Taylor and Wilson are a nice set of backup guards to bring along, making contributions as they learn.

-Krabby made two clutch free throws late and had some nice slashes to the hoop. Did you see him finish a layup on the right side with his left hand?

Time to rest up for Marquette on Saturday. Before tonight I would have put our chances of winning in Milwaukee at about one in four, but like them more after this one.

8 comments:

Deuces said...

What, no mention of the hip-checks UW players were getting after free throw attempts? It was mostly Malcolm Delaney but other VT guys were also doing "The Wave" next to the lane during the attempts at the end. Usually you leave those antics for the student sections.

Scott Tappa said...

It was on my mind but I opted to keep things positive. That was bush league by Delaney, especially on Krabby's last two FTs. But our guys could have been more prepared for the hip checks, too.

Raising your hands right before the guy shoots is on par with yelling "hey batter batter" in Little League or coughing during a putt.

lonebadger said...

Bo does not want his guys to be agressive, in one on one situations, until late in the shot clock. When they do, as in the case of Wilson, he usually sits them. Now when we play against a zone, that type of agression will come in handy as far as penetrating and dishing.IMO. Of course my opinion doesn't mean jack.

Matt said...

I was thinking that Nankivil needs to be more aggressive. In last night's game, I was thinking that he's just the next Dave Mader the way he was playing. I would love to see him get more involved, but for a guy getting significant minutes for the first time, hopefully consistency will come as well.

Loving Leuer. The guy's got a great all-around offensive game and showed it last night. Almost had a rebound dunk. I wonder if he'll ever show any emotion?

I get the feeling this team will see more pressure as the season goes along. They really seem to struggle at times.

Toohey said...

I finally got to watch a game this year. Not much to add to the discussion other than I think their coach is a total d-bag. Granted I know nothing about him, but after J-bo's first three pointer (I think) they called a time out and he was in two of his players faces screaming at the top of his lungs. I mean he was nose to nose with these guys. Reminded me of Bobby Knight, but he's no Bobby Knight.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I'm not sure if anyone else sees it, but Wilson kind of reminds me of Devin Harris. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but his aggressiveness should pay off if he's used in the right spots. It just goes back to your comment earlier about finding a spot for him in the rotation.

It was good to see J-bo get some confidence back and I'm loving what I'm seeing from Leuer.

Keep up the good work Taps!

Matt said...

Toohey - I heard someone else make the Wilson/Harris comparison. I can definitely see it and I think it's because they have a similar build and playing style. I really can't remember Devin playing much as a freshman, but I do remember him being a bit out of control at times early in his career.

It would be awesome to see Rob develop the killer crossover, step-back 3-ball Devin used so often.

Scott Tappa said...

Great comparison Toohey, I hadn't thought of it before. They are about the same size and build, and seem to move similarly. Remember that Devin didn't play point guard as a freshman, Travon Davis did, Devin played shooting guard like Rob. he played a lot too, because there was no one else. That's a big difference - Rob can come along slowly, and Bo can sit him when he messes up, where Devin had to keep going.

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