Wednesday, January 6, 2010

UW-Michigan State thoughts

Midway through the second half, after another feckless Badger possession, Jana remarked "They're playing scared." Ding ding ding! It was so obvious even my half-alseep wife saw it.

Wisconsin came out tentative/scared/slow/whatever from the opening tip, that was the really disappointing thing. It's not like they came out and were overwhelmed by State's defense then retreated into their shell after a few minutes -- it was from the start. The ball movement was terrible. Knowing that we weren't going to be able to penetrate off the dribble as much as usual, passing, cutting and screening had to be better, and it definitely wasn't. The result was 34% shooting and more airballs than a fifth grade girls game.

Give Michigan State credit, they played really good defense. But jeez, our offensive effort was pathetic.

-At least Jon Leuer showed up. He scored on a variety of nice moves. I absolutely love his pull-up jumper. It was interesting: State guarded him with Raymar Morgan, who I thought was their best defender for him, but Jon was still able to use the three extra inches he has on Morgan to get shots off.

-Other than that, Jordan Taylor had his moments, but not enough of them. Jason Bohannon did a little bit here and there, but with Trevon Hughes having a bad game he needed to do a lot more.

-Pop looked a step slow tonight. Maybe it was just good defense by Kalin Lucas and the other guards.

-Why did Bo have Nankivil on such a yo-yo tonight? State didn't play that short, and they absolutely killed us on the offensive boards. Couldn't he have helped more? Or was he the problem?

-I thought Ryan Evans would fare better coming off his strong showing at Penn State, but he was a non-factor. Mike Bruesewitz grabbed five rebounds in four minutes, he was active. Why didn't either of those guys get some of Tim Jarmusz's minutes? One rebounds, one assist, one steal, no points in 27 minutes.

-With six or seven minutes left, Gus Johnson and Steve Smith kept saying over and over how Wisconsin needed to run a play for J-Bo and get him shots, that he had only taken three shots. On one hand, I agree; running more set plays would help get us over offensive droughts like we experienced during that losing streak last year. On the other hand, it's like these guys have never seen a Badger game or looked at a Badger box score before. There are a lot of games where Jason only takes five shots -- not desirable if you're us, but it happens regularly. And his jumper isn't quick, meaning that athletic, long guards like State's are going to make it really hard for him to get his 3-point shot off.

-Speaking of Steve Smith, it would help his non-partisan announcing prospects if he didn't yell "Nice!" when Morgan makes a mid-range jumper and "Come on!" when Derrick Nix steps to the free throw line (Did you see he's 4-for-32 on the year? My mom could do better than that blindfolded.)

-Lucas was absolutely horrible offensively tonight. Something looks wrong with his game. Chris Allen really bailed him out, although Durrell Summers didn't have the game I thought he'd have.

-They really miss Goran Suton, for his true post presence, but they seem to have adequately replaced Travis Walton's defense. At the moment they don't seem as good as they were last year, and after this weekend we'll know better how they compare to Purdue.

-I love Draymond Green, that kid's a warrior. He's aggressive, versatile, and best of all he's a leader. I'd take him on my team any day, man boobs and all. Not Nix, though, he needs to lose his man boobs before he's useful.

Green was also part of the worst call I've seen all year, when he was laying on the baseline and the ball clearly hit off his hand before going out of bounds right in front of the ref, who promptly signaled Michigan State ball. Green was laughing about it with Lucas running down the court.

-Does it getting any worse than watching Tom Izzo coaching against your team? When asked heading into halftime about his team, he accurately moaned about his team missing a lot of free throws, but threw in a little jab about our guys falling down when his players drove the lane. Well, maybe they were falling down because your kids were running over them, then walking to the free throw line. Izzo seems like a decent guy off the court, and I'm sure fans of other teams feel the same way about Bo, but Izzo is just over the top on the sideline sometimes.

-But what's worse than Izzo? Michigan State's end-of-the-bench guys! It was like watching Marquette when Jerry Sichting's kid was riding the bench. Several times during the game I paused the action to point out to Will that these guys are not being good teammates, but doing these things to draw attention to themselves since they will never see the court.

After one shot one of the kids -- best I can tell it's a kid named Mike Kebler, but that's an educated guess -- ran up and down the bench giving high tens to his teammates, coaches, trainers, Sparty, cheerleaders, Plaxico Burress, Kirk Gibson, Tony Mandarich, Steve Smith. Hadn't seen that since watching a girls volleyball game, or maybe a girls softball game. Don't embarrass yourself kids -- your fans are laughing at you, not with you.

They got us convincingly today, but I think we can win the rematch in Madison.


frye said...

Nankivil and Evans didn't play more due to foul trouble. I'd rather Bruesewitz take Jarmusz's time at this point. I'm really disappointed in Tim's play. If he can't rebound and play great D then he isn't helping the team. He has no ability to create his own shot (not the only one on the team) and he doesn't make his open looks or won't shoot when he is open.

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