Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Badger Predictions

Under 1 week away until our grudge match with Communist Madison, so I thought it might be time to make some predictions. Unfortunately, my confidence has withered a bit due to Dwight Burke's inability to compete at a D1 level, our lack of production from the bench in general, and the unfortunate injury situation with 2 of MU's key reserves. So without further a-do:


1) The game is played at the Bradley Center this year, and after beating Madison in their house last year, I think that the three amigos will have confidence to have a repeat performance (something that they couldn't do their first 2 seasons).....especially in their own house. I think last years win takes a lot of pressure off of them for this year's game.....which helps.

2) I think that when it is MU's starting 5 vs. Madison's starting 5, Marquette has the overall advantage. Being that Nankivil is a first year starter and isn't overly productive, I'll call the Burke vs. Nankivil matchup a wash based on Burke being a senior. The only matchup that I would give Madison the edge to is Landry vs. Hayward (I'm basing this as the PF vs PF, not who guards Landry). It's very close, but overall Landry is more athletic, a better rebounder, can post up, and apparently can shoot the 3 consistently as last night he was 4-4 from 3 land. Aside from those 2 matchups, James, McNeal, and Matthews win so overall, it's advantage Marquette.

3) To further point #2, athletically I think that Marquette can impose their will a bit by pressing a lot on defense and playing up-tempo on Wisconsin misses. This is definitely to our advantage. UConn really set the blue print for success against Wisconsin by soft-pressing the Badgers all game long. This kills a good 8-10 seconds off of the shot clock and reduces the amount of time that Madison can get into their offense. This makes Wisconsin uncomfortable as they typically like to use a lot of the shot clock, setting screens, and running the motion offense in hopes of getting the very best possible shot. If they lose precious seconds, they force shots which is NOT their game. Furthermore, due to Wisconsin's lack of ballhandlers, an efficient press can force them to turn the ball over. Again, something that is NOT in Wisconsin's blue print to success. I think that this will be key to an MU victory.


1) Size - shocking right? Last year, MU at least had a competent Ousmane with Burke coming off the bench to fend off Madison's clash of 7'0 tall skinheads. Not this year! Burke is the "man".....even though he's not the man. Regardless, Wisconsin is very likely going to dominate us down low whether it be playing offense in the post and/or in the rebounding department. If Burke can show up like last year in madison, we increase our chances of victory exponentially.

2) Depth - Part of this can be related to the size disadvantage. Once Burke gets in foul trouble, and Hazel is in or Hayward slides over......we've got nothin' and are in trouble. Furthermore, the Acker/Cubillan/Butler rotation is inferior to Wisconsin's Taylor, Wilson, and Leuer rotation. I suspect that Bo is going to attack us down low early to try and get Lazar and Dwight in foul trouble early. Hopefully they let the guys play a little bit, otherwise we could be in trouble.

So when I look at the adv's/disadvad's, I think that Marquette has a slight edge going into the game. I foresee the James/McNeal/Matthews/Lazar combination playing a ton of minutes on Saturday provided that they don't get into foul trouble (ahem...Lazar). I think that in order for Marquette to win, they (like last year) need to force more turnovers than Wisconsin's avg (hopefully about 16), keep the rebounding close (if not win the battle), and shoot a good percentage. I suspect that the Badgers will tighten up the lanes to try and prevent penetration, which will give us more long jumpers. If we take the bait and start shooting a lot of 3's and shoot our standard 29%, we will be in trouble. So to sum up this paragraph, we cannot play Madison's game. We need to dictate tempo and make the Badgers uncomfortable on offense. If we can do that, we will win the game. I am interested to see how the team comes out tonight against Central Michigan after Saturday's loss (Buzz's first loss as MU's coach). I predict they will come out fired up!

Caveat: I watched Madison vs. Virginia Tech last night. Observations: Virginia Tech isn't very good, their best player played about 10 minutes and eventually fouled out due to chincy ass calls against him, Madison made like 12 of 18 3's or something (which was sick), and they still needed a Trevon Hughes jumper to win by 2! That being said, a mediocre Virginia Tech team played bad and still almost beat Madison. Hopefully we don't have a meltdown on Saturday.


Devil's Threesome said...

I'm a little worried about pressing them. If they break it, we don't have Thabeet or Jeff Adrien to plug up the middle. UW will just take it right at Burke or Hayward - it's much easier to draw a foul in the open court area.

I fear Leuer a bit - he can shoot and has gotten a lot tougher than last year. Nankivil should own Burke down low - I'm still amazed that the infallible Bo Ryan burned a year of Nankivil's eligibility last year.

That VT-UW game was good. UW got all the calls (once again), shot the lights out from 3, and barely won. I don't think we can match UW's shooting ability - especially from 3, which worries me. Our gambling on defense will lead to open looks for JaBo (shudder inducing nickname), Leuer and possibly Landry.

Krabbenhoft is a fucking donkey.

Who does Bucky match up against Wes? Is it Krabby? Or Landry? That should be interesting.

The lack of buzz for this game concerns me. All the MU crowds have been AWFUL this year - I hope the crowd can make a difference.

EMoney said...

When I say press, I don't mean full court hard press. Maybe James and Jerel causing a little pressure just to take some seconds off of the shot clock. I just hope that they don't waste a bunch of fouls 30+ feet away from the hoop like they usually do.

I can't imagine Bucky will shoot like that again....even if they are as wide open as they were last night. VT's defense was horrible. Their coach was going ape at how they were playing D...their players didn't seem too smart. If Bucky shoots only 40% from 3 they lose that game easily.

If Landry covers Wes, that means that Krabby is likely guarding Lazar. I like that match up. I foresee them just matching up by position. Krabby/Matthews and Landry/Lazar.

Nankivil won't kill us....he starts but Leuer gets the pt. Leuer is going to kill us I think. Although 1 nice thing about Burke is that he is athletic/fast enough to cover "bigs" like Leuer out on the wing. That might actually not be so bad for us.

Devil's Threesome said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your press comments. Basically press them to be pests, not really expecting to get a bunch of steals, but be a pain in the ass and get them off kilter. That will limit fouls and breakaways (Krabbenhoft playing the role of Lakers Showtime era James Worthy).

UW also shot really well from 3 against UConn, they hit their first 6 or 7 shots. We can't let Bohanon set his feet to shoot. Let Hughes shoot all day.

EMoney said...

One thing that I noticed watching the game last night that burned VT big time, is when Landry sets a ball screen for Hughes or Bohannon at the top of the key beyond the 3 pt line, the defender would always follow above the screen rather than dipping below. This would allow Hughes or whomever to penetrate down the middle of the land forcing the other defenders to collapse who would then kick it out for a wide open 3 ball and Wisconsin hit it just about every time. We need to figure out a way to defend that better than VT did otherwise it will be the same old thing. Wisconsin having already played 2 legitimate opponents in UConn and Vt should give Buzz some great tape to watch. Hopefully he will utilize it wisely....which I'm sure he will. This is Buzz' biggest game and first true test after a loss, so it should be interesting if he has some tactics up his sleeve.

Devil's Threesome said...

Very astute E. We did this over and over to Aaron Gray a couple of years ago. We baited him outside and then slashed into the lane. It limited his shot blocking and rebounding. I'll be looking for that on Saturday if I'm sober enough.

One other random thought. UW won last night b/c they didn't have a timeout. If they had a TO and took it, VT would have better defended the drive and the game would have likely gone to OT. Take advantage of the chaos in that situation.

EMoney said...

Funny thing is I turned the game off with like 1:00 to go and Wisconsin up 5 or 6 and the ball because reruns of Roseanne was coming on. So I didn't even see the ending. That's college basketball for ya.