Friday, March 13, 2009

UW-Ohio State thoughts

While we were eating at Palomino after the game, an elderly gentleman in a Wisconsin sweater approached us.

"What happened?" he said.

"I just think that this team lacks courage," I responded.

"Hmmm ... courage. Haven't heard that one."

But isn't that what losing games like this boils down to? We were up seven with Leuer shooting free throws with 3:59 left. Out of the timeout Leuer missed the free throw and we proceeded to fall apart. The defense wasn't that bad, but it wasn't good, either. We had many open looks but missed all of them.

It isn't a skill thing. Our guys were skilled enough to build that seven-point lead. But as we've seen time and again this year these guys can't step on an opponent's neck when in position to do so. As such, Ohio State's talented guys had breathing room to come back and make some plays.

Will just left a comment regarding our seeding. I'm thinking 10, but 11 or 12 could end up being the seed. At this point, I'm nervous that teams like Xavier lost and Maryland won. I still think we'll get in, but can't see us winning. If this is what constitutes a down year for this program, so be it, but it's disappointing because something much better was within reach.

-Leuer played okay overall, he found some spots where he could make jumpers. He had a smaller guy on him, and when he does he should be able to shoot over them. It will be interesting to see if that is still the case next year when Landry is gone.

-Landry wasn't going to be able to do anything in the post with Lauderdale or Mullens on him, but didn't hunt for jumpers as much as he should have.

-It seemed like Pop played a decent game, but I see he was 3-for-11 from the field, which is obviously pretty bad.

-Krabby had 10 boards but took only three shots. I'd say he played decent defense on Turner, but he still had 19 points on a respectable percentage. You have to assume our offense will be more dynamic with someone out there who looks for shots more.

-J-Bo was 3-for-9 on 3-pointers. Every time he went up for a shot, you could hear all the UW fans in attendance muttering "come on, Jason!" He did have some good drives to the basket. He did a good job again on Diebler, who only took six shots (and made a big one late). It struck me that Ohio State fans were probably muttering "come on, Jon!" every time Diebler went up for an open 3.

-Our out of bounds plays from under our own basket have bothered me for some time, but this year, when our margin for error is so small, they have become a major liability. The best we seem to get is a heave to Hughes or Taylor at least 40 feet from the basket. Forget actually scoring off this situation, we're lucky not to turn it over. It's amazing that a coach as good as Bo can't come up with something better, when many other teams seem to.

-Another opponent shoots 50% from the field on us. In our game against OSU in Madison they turned it over enough that the high percentage didn't hurt us too badly, but today they took care of the ball. For the season, we're allowing opponents 44% shooting from the field; last year, it was 38%. This year we're allowing 58.9 points per game; last year it was 54.4.

The kids are trying out there, playing generally the same way we've played in the past. It's just that something's missing. Dad says it's a guy like Stiemsma, which is valid. Turner's drives to the basket would have been tougher to finish if we had a legit shot-blocking big back there. Maybe it's a dynamic slasher type, someone other than Hughes who can consistently create; perhaps that's Rob Wilson next year?

It will be interesting to see what happens Sunday. If you look at our resume, we should probably get in the tournament. But if the committee decides to leave us out, I'd be really disappointed, but understanding. We've had plenty of chances to cement a place in the Dance and have failed plenty of times.


Tom said...

kinda hoped Jordan Dynasty Taylor would make a bigger impact in this game.

Tyler Feuling said...

I think you hit it right on the head. We dont recruit the athletes like a UNC or Illinois (for big 10 sake) so our holes are more glaring. With a big man like brian or greg? All of a sudden we have a shot blocker, defensive dynamo in krabby, 3 point shooter in jbo, and decent guard play. We are also missing a leader. Pop, as much as i love him, has disappeared in this second half of the season. Kamm Taylor, A-Tucker, and Michael Flowers all had that killer instinct. I think this team is a few players short and unfortunately the recruits we get arent on par with everyone else in terms of where we want to be. So when we have weaknesses, they will be exploited. Needless to say, under any other coach this team doesn't win 19 games. But then again, I think I just stated the obvious.

Scott Tappa said...

The optimist in me sees it this way: next year Wilson and Nankivil take big steps forward (I think they can) and either Berggren or Markolf gives 10-15 minutes of good big man play (more up in the air), Pop improves a bit, J-Bo hits over 40% on 3's, and Leuer takes his next logical step forward. Thing is, if all or most of those things don't happen, at the rate the rest of the conference is improving we could take a big step back

Will said...

Which player is a good candidate to emerge as the Badgers' go-to-guy? Seems like that played a big part in the teams struggles this year.

Based on Lunardi's success rate, I would be shocked if UW doesn't make the tournament. He has the Badgers (right now) as a 10 seed....I'm thinking they are going to be an 11.

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