Monday, December 14, 2009

Big problem?

Nothing in the Badgers' win over Marquette bothered me much, but after a day of reflection I came up with something.

Nearly a quarter of our roster right now is basically ineffective, and that fraction is in danger of increasing to a third next season.

Based on the guys Marquette put on the floor yesterday, we didn't play anyone taller than 6-10 Jon Leuer or 6-8 Keaton Nankivil. Now, MU is one of the smaller teams we'll play this year, and there will be games when Jared Berggren gets minutes against opposing bigs.

But for the most part, we can match up with opposing frontcourts by playing Leuer, Nankivil, Ryan Evans and maybe Mike Bruesewitz. And we'll match up well. Even at 6-6, Evans and Bruesewitz have the size and athleticism to man up on opposing 4 men.

When will Berggren play? Right now, it looks like both Nankivil and Leuer will need to be in foul trouble before he gets extended minutes. I would like to see Bo Ryan get the freshman more playing time in the pre-conference season, because this scenario will probably present itself at some point in Big Ten play.

Yet it's tough to see Berggren getting more than five minutes of floor time in any game, and J.P. Gavinski and Ian Markolf will only play in lopsided games. So that's three of our four guys 6-10 or taller who don't figure to provide many useful minutes this season.

All three of those guys are back next year, and we'll add 6-11 Evan Anderson. Anderson, like Berggren a highly-rated high school center, figures to either redshirt or play limited minutes in his first year on campus.

What I'm getting at here is not that Anderson and Berggren will never contribute, I think they will be key parts of the team at some point. But Markolf and Gavinski probably won't ever be contributors. They seem like good program guys, well liked by their teammates, hopefully good students.

Going forward, though, given the roster composition of most of our opponents, we probably don't need quite so many guys over 6-8, as long as those 6-8 guys are strong post defenders, like Nankivil. True 7-foot centers aren't necessary to win in today's college game, and not many teams have those guys.

If Anderson turns out to be the second coming of Greg Oden, then hey, gotta love the center. But if we're talking about mid-level recruits, I'd rather take a 6-6 guy or a guard than another guy 6-10 or taller.

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