Wednesday, January 7, 2009

UW-Northwestern thoughts

Given it a lot of thought, and this is the lineup I like best on the floor for Wisconsin:

Wquinton Smith
Brett Valentyn
Morris Cain
J.P. Gavinski
Ian Markolf

Nice to have a blowout for a change, give the bench guys some well-deserved minutes. Northwestern looked pretty terrible tonight, particularly shooting and rebounding, but like Mike Lucas was saying in the waning minutes of the radio broadcast, you can bet it will be a dogfight when we see them again in Evanston on January 31. I'll be at that one, so I'm hoping for a repeat of tonight's game!

-J-Bo's 20 points were a career high. That's a little surprising, I would have thought he'd hit 20 against some patsy over the past year and a half. He played really well. As Tim McCormick pointed out, he hit a couple 2-pointers early, which seemed to give him confidence in his longer jumper.

-Landry, who was incredible against Penn State, had 12, but 10 of those must have come while the Big Ten Network was showing Tom Crean's team melt down against Michigan. He was quiet while I was watching, which isn't necessarily bad.

-Jon Leuer played with much confidence again, 15 points and eight boards. He's getting himself into good positions to score, where his height allows him good looks even if his defender is close. He really is a guard in a 6-10 body.

-Northwestern is really a bad rebounding team, we got 12 offensive on them. Problem is, we missed most of the second-change opportunities. We also missed eight free throws and had some turnovers off lazy passes, so that was about as flawed a 29-point win as possible.

-Mainly because Northwestern shot so horribly. In the first half I thought they were getting better looks than we were, they just weren't making them. NU's defense seems like it can be a nuisance, very pesky, but we handled it with patience until things just kind of unraveled for them.

-Tough to complain about a defensive effort when the other team shoots 31%, but I noticed that we did not switch well off their dribble handoffs, typically allowing the receiver to get a good perimeter look. Conversely, when our smalls got switched on their bigs, they did a good job of using their lower body and not letting the bigger guys establish position.

-When did Michael Thompson become "Juice" Thompson? You can't just let guys go around getting new nicknames when they're 19 or 20 years old. Just take it from T-Money. I'd like to see how Thompson did in a real offensive system that showcased his penetrating skills, and didn't call on him to do ridiculous, unnecessary spin dribbles in the middle of the court.

-Why is Keaton Nankivil getting the Dave Mader treatment? He starts, then goes to the bench and doesn't play much more the rest of the game. Tonight he got 11 minutes, even though he played good D and looked confident shooting a jumper. It probably just boils down to matchups, and the strength of our rotation, but I think if this kid gets more minutes he can be a beast, not just the fifth guy we run out there to bang with big guys.

Purdue on Sunday big game, and like everyone is saying, you can bet that Chris Kramer and Robbie Hummel will be ready for that one. Should be a great matchup.

1 comment:

lonebadger said...

I definitely thought the final score was more indicative of how horribly Northwestern played than how well Wisconsin played. Missed free throws concern me. They were partially responsible for one of our losses and could lead to others as well. I don't think anyone should go away from this win expecting anymore than they expected before it. We can still challenge for the conference crown but I don't think this makes us the favorite. And I just want to say that I think Leuer has been outstanding. I want to see if he can keep improving. He could be the next Mike Wilkinson, who, by the way, was my favorite Badger ever.