Sunday, December 27, 2009

UW-Chicago thoughts

Watched Sunday's game on a picture-in-picture during the end of the Packer game, then later at home while reading Bill Simmons' new book. Figured I wouldn't miss much, and I was right.

Wasn't it only a few years ago that Illinois-Chicago was pretty tough and a fierce rival of UWM's in the Horizon League? They had some guys who just looked terrible out there, very much out of place on a Division 1 roster.

So not much to report on, but I did take away these positives:

-Ryan Evans played a great game. He's confident, aggressive, not afraid to make something happen. A very solid second guy off the bench.

-Rob Wilson didn't score, but grabbed eight rebounds and played solid defense. Good move by Bo to get him 16 minutes in our last non-conference game.

-Also good to get Mike Bruesewitz double-digit minutes, although he hasn't looked like the difference-maker he was in Hawaii. He's got a lot of time left in Madison, though.

-Jordan Taylor looks ready to play 20-plus minutes a night in the Big Ten and let Pop focus on scoring for stretches.

-Has a very good game from Jon Leuer become a given? He looked like an eighth grader playing with fifth graders yesterday, particularly on the offensive boards.

(Favorite moment from the broadcast: J-Bo throws Leuer an alley-oop that looks like a shot, really well-designed and executed play. Tim Doyle talks about how Leuer identified the airball early and adjusted, even after Craig Coshun twice correctly identified it as a pass. I mean, the pass/"shot" was three feet right and three feet short of the rim. J-Bo's struggled at times this year, but he always hits the rim! Great call as usual, Timmy.)

-And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Keaton Nankivil's dunk. The lineup we're trotting out there this year looks much more athletic than last year's.

Which is important because the Big Ten is going to be rough this year. Doyle is predicting an undefeated home run for us in conference play, which I appreciate but don't agree with. Still, I don't see how you could feel much better about the Badgers' chances right now, they've played very well and shown some unexpected strengths.

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