Sunday, March 22, 2009

UW-Xavier thoughts

When it comes time to remember the Badgers' time in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, I'll remember the exciting win over Florida State, with Nankivil's effort, J-Bo's shooting, and Trevon's game-winner.

When it comes time to remember the Badgers' 2008-2009 season, I'll remember it being summed up in the second half against Xavier.

We're up 33-26, looking really good and ... we don't score again for about an hour. Xavier slowly scores 10 straight points to take the lead, and we never really challenge again.

What an excruciating shooting performance -- 29%? That's pathetic. Credit Xavier's defense for some of that, but there were a lot of makeable shots that we just whiffed on. J-Bo was 2-for-12. Pop, who seemed to be playing a good game, was 3-for-16. Nankivil was 1-for-8. Leuer and Krabby took two shots apiece.

Xavier wasn't all that much better offensively, and we played a pretty decent defensive game, but their kids made some 3s and finished some in the paint.

At least this collapse happened relatively early in the second half and gave us time to prepare for the defeat, unlike all those waning-minute collapses that have characterized this season.

Silver lining: Marcus Landry went out with style. Showing just about everything in his repertoire (aside from the deep ball), Marcus had 18 points and 10 boards, and was assertive. Unfortunately, his fellow senior starter, Krabby, was virtually invisible in his last game. I can't remember a single thing he did before fouling out.

Clearly, among the many things that need to improve next season if UW is to return to greatness, #1 is avoiding these prolonged dry spells. Not sure exactly how you do that, other than the obvious -- have your kids improve their shooting. Maybe design and call some high-percentage plays, rather than just letting the Swing run its course.

Anything after Friday's win would have felt like gravy. But when we were up seven points, I started dreaming about being in the Sweet 16, getting another week of practice and hype. When you get that far, anything can happen.

It's hard to imagine a 20-win season capping a 100-win career by the senior class being a mild disappointment, but the bar has been raised. Which is why losses like this have become so hard to stomach.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry..............

Now you can root for Michigan State.

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Anonymous said...

"Maybe design and call some high-percentage plays, rather than just letting the Swing run its course"

Amen

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