Wednesday, December 23, 2009

UW-Milwaukee thoughts

You know who had the best game tonight? Shon Morris of the Big Ten Network. He was funny, witty, insightful. Kudos, Shon Morris. You're much better than Tim Doyle.

As for the game, what sticks out to me is that we didn't play great defense. Milwaukee didn't put up a ton of points, but that was because their shots started going awry, not because we were forcing them into anything uncomfortable. They were able to successfully get the ball into James Eayrs and Anthony Hill on a number of occasions because we didn't have weakside help positioned properly. And we seemed to give up post-guard switches way too early on ball screens. Better offensive players will make us pay for that. Our defense needs to be better.

-Jon Leuer was superb tonight. Morris made the excellent point that right now there's no hesitation in his game, spot on. Jon's making post moves, pulling up for jumpers off the dribble, getting putbacks. Only thing he didn't do tonight was make a 3-pointer, but as you know I'm just fine with that. If you're playing against us, who do you put on Leuer? I'd put a 6-6 guy on him and front him aggressively.

-On that hesitation point, tonight Keaton Nankivil hesitated, and as such only took a few shots. The other night against Cal Poly, he didn't and he shot extremely well. Same last year in the Purdue game at home. Morris said Keaton doesn't know how good he can be, which is exactly right. I would love to see him look for his shot more, he could be the third scorer that would make us very dangerous.

-Jordan Taylor didn't shoot a high percentage tonight but he played well. Point guard is in good hands for the next couple years.

-Mike Bruesewitz got minutes ahead of Jared Berggren tonight, which goes back to my point a few days ago about having too many 6-11+ guys. Would have liked to see Rob Wilson get a few minutes tonight.

-I've seen pictures of Eayrs before and knew he was a wide body, but this was the first time I'd seen him play. He's a good player, knows his way around the basket. It does puzzle me, though, how a basketball player -- someone who runs for more than two hours a day for almost six months a year and theoretically works out almost that much the rest of the year -- could be that overweight. Had the same thoughts abou Oliver Miller when he was active, and other heavy dudes. Would Eayrs' effectiveness actually be diminished with less weight? Hard to say.

-I like Ricky Franklin, he's a nice guard. A few years back when he was coming out of high school word was that he was considering walking on at UW, and lots of us were excited. Didn't work out, but he's done well for himself in Milwaukee.

-Milwaukee's not bad, they'll win some games this year. They're the type of team that might beat a Butler but lose to a lesser team in their league the next time out. During their halftime chat, Brent Stover asked Bo Ryan and Rob Jeter if they'd ever be on the same bench again. My thought was I hope not, because it would mean that Robby got canned at Milwaukee. It would be great if he could get that program back to the level it reached under Bruce Pearl, so he would become the logical successor to Bo in Madison.

Up next is what looks like a really bad Illinois-Chicago team, which should be a good opportunity to play the regulars 25 minutes for an Ohio State tuneup, then get Wilson, Berggren, Bruiser, et al some floor time.

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