Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hey, the Badgers are not that bad this year.

In what many thought would be a down year for the Wisconsin Badgers' hoops team, the Badgers are sitting at 19-4 and ranked 14/15th with eight regular season games remaining. Coming in to this year, many thought this would be the year that the Badgers didn't make the NCAA's for the first time since 1997-98 season. After the Duke game, many were jumping ship, but anyone who has followed the Badgers over the past several years knows this team gets better as the season goes on.

Will that be the case this year? Obviously, this is a much better team than the one that lost to Duke and Marquette in November and December. They are playing much better as a team and everyone knows their roll at this point in the season. Hughes is coming around at point, Krabby plays tough, just needs to hit some J's, Landry can be a force at times. Flowers has developed a nice outside shot and Bohannon has learned to shoot a nice floater as his 3's are not dropping this year. The team has looked solid in Big Ten play up until Saturday night. I was getting sick of people saying they were not the 8th beast team in the country. Thats fine, but the teams below them are not any better. Once you get outside the top 4 (Duke, Memphis, NC, Kansas) and then the next tier (Tenn, UCLA) the rest is pretty much a jumble. I have no problem with the Badgers ranked 8th and I have no problem with 15th.

However, they are still not a complete team at this time. Pressure D and a driving guards (also offenses that shoot 43% from 3 point land) still seem to bother the Badgers. Butch has looked awful over the past couple of games, Hughes still sometimes shows this is his first year running the show (still like him better than Kam as a PG), and the bench is getting pretty thin. I also have been critical of Bo's post-season record. Making the NCAAs every year is great considering where we came from (Iwas juiced to go to an NIT game in '89), but I would like to see more than 2 second weekend appearances. Spoiled? Probably, but at this point, I think the program is at a level that it should make the Sweet 16 75% of the time. (For my take on Marquette's post season record under Crean, see my post later this week.)

Anyway, enough rambling. As I asked before, will the Badgers finish strong this year? The schedule gets a little tougher as we enter the last quarter of the season (Insert Big Ten haters talking about how bad the conference is this year here):

  • 2/13 @ Indiana - If Indiana does not pass the ball to D.J. White in the post every time Butch is guarding him they obviously did not watch the game film from the previous meeting. Steimsma will have to play tough D and do his best not to foul out in the 7 minutes he will play in this game against White. In regards to Indiana, I don't think they are very good. However, Assembly Hall is about the same as Mackey Arena to the Badgers. I am seeig a loss here. I think the Badgers basketball team has won a grand total of 3 games in the state of Indiana during my lifetime. Indiana wins 68-60

  • 2/16 vs. Minnesota - The Badgers are pissed about their two game losing streak and come out trying too hard against the Gophers. After a back and forth first half, the Badgers will pull away in the second half. Minnesota is improving but the little I have seen of them, they just don't have the intensity or structure on offense at this point to win in Madison. Badgers 64-52.

  • 2/20 @ Illinois - Lets hope this goes better than the football game. I think Illinois might have made their last stand in the Eric Gordon Game. However, they are laying an impressive whooping on Minnesota at Williams right now. McCamey looked great against Indiana, but he is a Freshman so he will have his ups and downs. Just have to make sure Meacham doesn't go crazy from 3. At least Lucas Johnson won't be playing in this game and lets hope Illinois doesn't wear orange. Badgers win 58-54.

  • 2/23 @ OSU - Going to be honest here. I know squat about OSU this year. This is a toss up in my book. I am leaning towards OSU, but I think Butch will have a great game against Kostas Grastoppi (Koufus). I flipped a quarter and it came up OSU, So I'll go with them.

  • 2/28 vs. MSU - Hey, that's Drew Nietzel's mom. Thankfully this game isn't at the Breslin or we would see her 27 times. Instead we will get the Andy North shot after the under 8 time out in the first half. I still cant get the Spartans' 36 point performance at Carver-Hawkeye out of my head. Bo continues his winning ways against Izzo. Badgers 68-66.

  • 3/5 vs PSU - Well, Claxton went down in the last game, maybe Cornley will go down in this one. As the Badgers honnor Tanner Bronson's career total of 21 points during a stirring senior day celebration, they win this one going away and Tanner finally hits a FT this season. Badgers 78-62

  • 3/8 @ Northwestern - Ugh, every game we play at that high school gym is brutal. The Case High Fieldhouse gives that thing a run for its money, except Welsh-Ryan probably doesn't need metal detectors. The one think I can say for sure, this game will be terrible to watch. Wisconsin wins as the Cats don't have Tim Doyle to hit a barrage of bank shots for them this season. Badgers 52-42.

That gives the Badgers a 14-4 Big Ten record and 24-6 overall record. As a life long Badger fan, I'm good with that. Now that I have rambled incohearently for several paragraphs, what do others think?


Bill said...

on a side note that Robbie Hummell with Purdue is the real deal. Seems like a guy Brad can get behind. Larry Bird like.

Goldy said...

c'mon Bill, he plays i te Big Ten. Brad could never root for the guy, Now if he played in the WAC ...

Anonymous said...

ha ha! brad's a boner

Anonymous said...

No game is as important as the next. Lose tonight and they're essentially out of the B11 race.

I agree to an extent on the S16 thing- but 75% of the time might be bit unrealistic? (just the fact that it's even debatable after the Yoder years is mind boggling)

Goldy said...

Agree that the 75% of the time thing is over the top. I would say every other year is certainly realistic.

Matt said...

I would have more of an opinion on the Badgers, but since I can only watch every third game on TV and am reliant on the voice of Matt LePay for the rest of the games, I'm going on partial information. Like I don't know if Purdue was hitting wide open shots in the first half when they shot 65%, or if they were contested shots (in which case you just tip your hat to Purdue).

F the Big Ten Network, and F Time Warner Cable.

I do think Indiana will beat UW pretty handily tonight, because of the Assembly Hall factor. I bet somebody like that white guy that has the Shawn Marion screwball jumpshot (Stemler?) will go off tonight.

Brad said...

I can root for a guy like Hummell. Kid can play. Now if Purdue doesn't have to play Wofford again, they'll be fine. And, no, I am not a boner.

brad said...

"Obviously, this is a much better team than the one that lost to Duke and Marquette in November and December."

Goldy - I really don't know how you got this statement. They lost to two good teams (MU was good back then) in the NC part of the schedule, now they've lost two games to a pretty good team (Purdue). They still have trouble with ball pressure and Hughes is playing worse now than earlier in the season. They might give Duke a better game if they played tomorrow, they might not. I think they were pretty solid early in the year, and they are pretty solid now...I wouldn't go with "Obviously they are better...." But I'm a Badger hater so just go ahead and say I'm a boner.