Wednesday, January 13, 2010

UW-Northwestern thoughts

That was a very gratifying win, one that for about 30 minutes I didn't think was going to happen. At one point, didn't you get the sense that the Badgers weren't going to make another jump shot all night?

But Pop heated up before it was too late, Northwestern played to its talent level and we pulled it off. As I said Monday, losing Jon Leuer for an indefinite period of time pretty much eliminates our outside shot at a conference title. But to get a road win the day after his surgery, when morale could have been in the gutter, is a great testament to this team's leadership.

The best part? Watching Pop celebrate after he made those 3-pointers. He is usually a cool customer, so to see him bust out the corny celebration -- rubbing his hand past his face and miming dice rolling -- really brought a smile to my face. Did you see the little handshake he did with Keaton Nankivil after the game? Who'd expect that from Nanker? They're having fun.

The second-best part? Our offensive rebounding. Granted, Northwestern is not a strong rebounding team, but you had to love the way our kids crashed. Fifteen offensive rebounds on 32 missed shots. I can't believe Bruiser only had four boards, they must have all been offensive. And did Pop really have eight boards?

J-Bo had another strong game, not so much from distance but on pull-up jumpers and a few times on penetration.

We played great free throw defense for the third straight game, let's hope we can keep that up.

I don't know if this is the Northwestern team that's going to break their NCAA Tournament drought. They have no bad losses thus far, but no really good wins. They will probably pull some upsets, but they seem to be about one player short. Like a Kevin Coble type. Too bad for them he's hurt.

But as we know full well, injuries are part of this, and we took a good step forward tonight. I figure we lose at Ohio State on Saturday, but if we can hold serve at home against Michigan and Penn State we're 6-2 in the conference. Not bad.


Edward said...

Ohio State will be huge this week. If we can get them at home, I think this team has what it takes to get one or two more on the raod and hold serve at home. Then you are talking about a 13-5 or 14-4 record. That could win the Big ten or at least finish 2nd.

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