Monday, January 26, 2009

Remember 1998?

A fact I heard many times before, during, and after the Badgers' loss to Illinois on Saturday was that Wisconsin hasn't lost four games in a row since the 1998 season. It's a season I remember well -- my senior year in college, the first year of the Kohl Center, and the last year we didn't make the NCAA Tournament.

There is absolutely no parallel between this year's team and the '98 team. The '98 team lost Ty Calderwood before the season started, which killed any momentum built by the surprising run to the tournament the year before. Dick Bennett played a bunch of young guys heavy minutes that year -- Mike Kelley, Andy Kowske, Mark Vershaw, Maurice Linton. They took their lumps, but those lumps paved the way for a three-year tournament run for that class, punctuated by the Final Four run in 2000.

This year's team, while often described as "young," starts two seniors and two juniors, veterans of five NCAA Tournament games and countless important Big Ten games. No injuries have taken down important players. Promising underclassmen are getting minutes, but there's little suggestion that they will shine brighter in the future than Marcus Landry, Joe Krabbenhoft, and the other old-timers are now.

What could turn this season around?

-A win against Purdue. Bo talked earlier this week about how Pop needed to get his mojo back, and he's right. But it's really the whole team that is missing its mojo, and one big win over a good team can start the pendulum swinging the right way.

-Jason Bohannon gets some steals that lead to fast-break layups. Which would, in turn, build his confidence on his jumper -- he's shooting just 38% from the field.

-The Pop-J-Bo-Taylor three-guard lineup leads to more better dribble penetration, which leads to easier looks for Landry and Krabby.

-Rob Wilson takes Tim Jarmusz's minutes and provides a much-needed energy boost. Why isn't Rob playing more? Early returns on him were so promising, and it doesn't seem like he's been horrible in his limited minutes lately.

-Keaton Nankivil shoots more, and starts hitting the 17-foot jumpers that Greg Stiemsma made so often last year, the shots that demoralized opposing defenses.

-Krabby continues to score in double figures. This development surprises me, in a good way. If you would have told me that Krabby would have 16 points, 12 rebounds against Illinois, there's no way I think we lose that game.

-Jon Leuer's post defense improves.

Really, the first one is the most important. The Badgers just have to put together a good, winning effort against a good team that washes away the memories of Minnesota and Iowa (Purdue and Illinois were excusable losses). College sports teams ride such emotional roller coasters that all these kids need is a nudge in the right direction. They get that chance tomorrow.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ultima Online Gold, UO Gold, crestingwait
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
buy uo gold
lotro gold
wow gold
warhammer gold
buy aoc gold
buy aoc gold
buy aoc gold
buy aoc gold
buy aoc gold
buy aoc gold
buy aoc gold
Age of Conan Gold, AOC Gold

xinxin said...

As for LV, the designers accept their own cast value, even for their louis vuitton
. One more, because for louis handbags
, accordingly it banned the assembly speed. Their aegis action aswell embodies the ability of Monogram Canvas
. Which are acutely absorbed with Monogram Cruise
.

http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping