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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Hokies

Monday night's ACC/Big Ten Challenge showdown at Virginia Tech seems a fitting finale to last week's Thanksgiving festivities. I give the school credit for having a unique nickname and mascot like the Hokies, but I do not envy it one bit. Did you know a hokie is a castrated turkey? What kind of a fight do they expect to give a ravenous Badger? And you VT fans out there who might want to set me straight on the original meaning of the term, I don't think calling your sports team the "Hoorays" is any better.

One thing we can all agree on is that a win in this game will not come easy. Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen shed 20 pounds in the offseason and has shredded opponents in his first six games. He will be an interesting foe for Marcus Landry. The 6'7", 240-lb. Allen is averaging a double-double this season, one of three Hokie starters scoring at least 16 ppg so far.

The Hokies (4-2) appear to go to only about eight players deep in meaningful games. Besides scoring guards A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney, one name to keep an eye on would be freshman forward Victor Davila, who will probably be quick off the bench in the post. Thanks to Doug Bowman of Hokie Haven [subscription] for the heads up. Doug and I exchanged notes on this one and both think it's a very even match on paper. Virginia Tech's only two losses have come by a combined five points.

Badgers tune up with win over Panthers
I was able to catch the second half of the UW-Milwaukee tilt and actually had pretty decent success with the Big Ten Network's live video stream. I did notice the occasional lags that others have complained about, which seemed to increase in length and frequency as the game wore on, which probably would end up being a major problem over the full course of a game.

As for the game action itself, it seemed to be a continuation of what we've been seeing from Wisconsin recently. Trevon Hughes hit all four of his 3-pointers and is stroking the ball perfectly right now. Hughes led the team with 16 points. Conversely, J-Bo still can't buy a bucket. [box score]

Joe Krabbenhoft had his way against an over matched Milwaukee team and posted a double-double (12 pts, 10 rebs). I miss the days when the Panthers were tournament darlings and gave the Badgers a bit more of a battle in this game. Oh well. At least Jon Leuer seems to be finding his niche in the offense right now. I am counting on Hughes and Leuer to power the Badgers offensively Monday night, but Bohannon looms as the X-factor.

And finally, if you cannot see the floor in a game where your team's lead stretched to 26 points late in the game, you might want to redshirt. It is increasingly apparent that Jared Berggren will end up going that route. He and J.P. Gavinski were the only two Badgers stuck to the bench all game. Ian Markolf appears to have passed Gavinski on the depth chart.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trouble In Paradise

When a team, like Wisconsin, counts its coach as one of its usual advantages over the competition, not getting any traditional practice time in before a big game should be cause for concern.

Such is life in tropical early season tournaments, I suppose. Trying to squeeze four games in on the final day immediately after the semifinals on Sunday night meant neither Wisconsin nor Connecticut hit the floor in preparation for the Paradise Jam title game. Left more to instinct and natural athleticism than normal, Bucky's first loss of the season was no surprise.

Connecticut is really good. They have the top shelf athletes at guard that traditionally give the Badgers fits. Bo's youngest team in years really showed their inexperience on Monday, hounded into 22 turnovers by the Huskies. Freshman Kemba Walker led the way with four steals.

Not all of the turnovers were forced by Connecticut though. Regular rotation players like sophomores Keaton Nankivil and Tim Jarmusz and freshman Jordan Taylor simply had some very lazy passes picked off. You might be able to get away with that against teams #20-300, but not against a top ten team. It was amazing how many easy fast break points the Huskies got in the game. They had 31 points off turnovers overall.

It did not help matters that UConn center Hasheem Thabeet intimidated even the most experienced Badgers in the paint. Seniors Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft looked tentative most of the night. My favorite part of the game was Rob Wilson coming in without a care in the world and going up for two dunks on Thabeet and drawing two fouls (never mind that one was a clean block). That turned into four easy points from the line for the Badgers just because one player believed in himself.

These are the types of games where Krabby's offensive limitations really bother me. An extra pass is usually nice, but two or three extra passes is too much, especially right under the basket. You can attribute Wisconsin's 32% shooting inside the 3-point line to Thabeet's presence and the Badgers decision-making around the rim. It is no longer a surprise when UW shoots well from long distance (8-of-17), but those bombs merely kept the Badgers in the game. [box score]

In the end it was just a few sequences like the one at the end of the first half that doomed the Badgers. Wisconsin had held a slim lead through the first 10 minutes or so, but UConn closed on a 19-4 run to go up 10 points at the break thanks to their pressure defense. Jon Leuer and Trevon Hughes keyed an 11-3 run that had the Badgers right back in the game at 45-43, but the Huskies quickly turned momentum with a three-point play and a dunk by Jerome Dyson.

When Jason Bohannon missed both of his free throws and Thabeet responded with two freebies of his own, the lead was back to nine and UW's spirit was seemingly sapped. Though Bohannon appeared to be on track for a nice shooting night when he nailed two early treys, he soon reverted to his previous island form and finished 2-of-9 from the floor.

At least we got to watch this one on TV, right?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Paradise Jam Continues

Wisconsin survived some choppy waters this weekend, but is on course to win another Paradise Jam tournament title. The team's reward for winning two straight on the island is a game with #2 Connecticut on Monday night.

The quest began with a knock down, drag out nail biter on Friday night when UW barely escaped the matchbox gym with a 60-58 overtime win against Iona. The Badgers were lucky to survive their 19 turnovers, but were never able to get into a good flow due to tons of physical defense by the Gaels and terribly inconsistent officiating. Winning a game like that has to give you faith in UW's ability to close out games under adversity. [box score]

Tonight, Wisconsin toppled San Diego, 64-49. Topping the Toreros seemed easier thanks to much better Badger shooting (48.8%). Without DirectTV's Sports Pack, I followed the game via Patrick Herb's live blog at Herb's blogging during the Iona game also probably was the best source of info on the opening round action too, where UW shot only 27.3% in the second half.

Trevon Hughes has been the engine for Wisconsin so far in the Virgin Islands. He led all scorers with 21 points against Iona, hitting 11-of-12 free throws. Against San Diego, he again paced both sides with 22 points (8-11 FGs, 2-4 3s). [box score]

The tourney appears to be a coming out party for Tim Jarmusz. Foul trouble plagued Jon Leuer and Marcus Landry on Friday, but Jarmusz put in 30 minutes of great work. His best attributes continue to be hitting timely 3-pointers, drawing fouls and diving for loose balls -- which provides UW with some very important extra possessions. It is uncanny how Jarmusz is always "mixing it up." It was good to see Keaton Nankivil bust loose a little with 8 rebounds in the first game and 10 points tonight.

There were a few concerns, of course. The statistics do not really reflect the struggles at the charity stripe, as several different players missed front ends of bonus opportunities. Jason Bohannon has really struggled with his shot, shooting a combined 5-of-22 so far. And as a team, the threes are not dropping: 5-of-21 vs. Iona, 5-of-16 vs. San Diego = 27%.

Landry bounced back to lead the team in rebounds (7), assists (6), and blocked shots (5) versus the Toreros.

Moving on, the championship should be a great game to watch. This will be the fourth time under Bo Ryan that the Badgers have faced a team ranked second in the AP poll. My expectations are lower than the ones I had for last year's Duke game, but now that the match up is set I am definitely stoked. The Huskies have a phenomenal freshman point guard, Kemba Walker, to add to senior A.J. Price this year. Even though Pop is hot right now, he will need a lot of help.

I love the matchup between Jeff Adrien and Landry, but am not sure how we will play Hasheem Thabeet. The guy's offense is spotty, but he will be altering every shot in sight. Thabeet already has 12 blocks down there in two games! Bo could try giving some meaningful minutes to one of his own aircraft carriers, like J.P. Gavinski or Ian Markolf, but it probably wouldn't be pretty. I think Leuer is the key offensively and containing UConn's guards a must on defense.

Landry's block count: 8 + 2 (Iona) + 5 (S.D.) = 15 total/79 career*
*Moves into 9th all-time, passing Michael Finley

Friday, November 21, 2008

Redshirting and Player Development

Forgive me if I merely gloss over the recent blowout of SIU-Edwardsville, which was hardly more than a glorified exhibition. Marcus Landry still looks like a beast. He set a personal best for the second game in a row, this time by virtue of his five blocked shots. That gives him eight on the young season, good enough for 72 career blocks (look out Stiemsma). And it was good to see Jon Leuer (19 pts, 8-10 FGs) come alive. It seems like whenever Jordan Taylor finds someone for an alley-oop, the recipient is headed for a banner day.

Since I was not able to watch all of the game, the most interesting tidbit of the night was Ian Markolf getting off the bench for the final two minutes. Jared Berggren was the only eligible Badger to not see the floor, so he remains the final freshmen left to cement his plans to redshirt or not. Was Bo Ryan trying to send a message to the lad in a game where even Morris Cain made two buckets? [box score]

At the very least, we got the answer to the question of whom Bo would turn to first in a pinch for a big body. It is obvious that Berggren would get more out of an extra year of physical seasoning than Markolf. Numerous references have been made to the simple zone defense that Berggren played in at his high school. And look at it this way if you must: if you know only one of the bigs will redshirt, don't you theoretically want your higher-rated recruit in the system for five years, rather than four?

On the flip side, just because a player rides the pine without redshirting (Markolf) does not mean the guy won't end up being a big contributor in a Wisconsin uniform. Last year was the first time in the last five seasons that the Badgers did not have a player using a redshirt. As a result, two post players played less than 4 min/g. Keaton Nankivil averaged a lowly 2.4 min/g in 19 appearances, while redshirt freshman J.P. Gavinski averaged 2.1 min/g in only seven games. The jury is still out on Gavinski but Nankivil is already starting for Wisconsin as a true sophomore.

Including Nankivil, I count three times in Bo's tenure that a scrub big man has gone from a non-factor to major contributor, regardless of redshirt status. The Greg Stiemsma Experience began with a disastrous 2.7 min/g average in 10 games his freshman year. Jason Chappell played a grand total of 11 minutes in eight games in 2002-03, took a medical redshirt the next season and again played 3.4 min/g in 14 appearances the following year. Both Stiemsma and Chappell were valuable pieces in their final campaigns.

This issue rarely raises its head with guards. Because every team is desperate for bigs, you don't find any walk-on big men. Eventually, some program will offer that behemoth a scholarship, so schools offer full rides to pivot projects "just in case" (see Gavinski, J.P.). Only once has a full scholarship guard started out with less than 4 min/g and seen his star rise. That was Kammron Taylor, who struggled through 2.3 min/g of PT in 18 games as a true freshman in 2003-04. Mickey Perry redshirted in 2005-06, but transferred out the next season when he was averaging 3.3 min/g in seven games played. Would he have played eventually? Most likely.*

The bottom line is that guards are naturally inclined to adapt more quickly to the college game. They are more coordinated on average, as many big men are still adjusting to their bodies from crazy growth spurts during their high school careers. Wisconsin is not getting any superstar one-and-done centers, so the staff grabs post players with potential and guards who are ready to play for the most part. And in the event that backcourt depth is needed, the program seems to have decent luck with walk-ons. Clayton Hanson should be an inspiration. Once a member of the dreaded 4 min/g and under club, the Reedsburg Rifle worked his way into 30 min/g his final two seasons, even earning a schollie as a senior, when he helped UW reach the Elite Eight.

*Once again, the departure of DeAaron Williams was the more damaging loss in my opinion. He was definitely in the rotation, albeit the low end, as a redshirt sophomore (2005-06), playing 7.9 min/g.

: : :

Paradise Jam Prep
The Badgers are in the Virgin Islands preparing for their first game in the Paradise Jam tournament against Iona. Wisconsin will play at 7:30 CT tonight and Sunday night, win or lose. You can watch poor quality streaming video right from the tourney's website or wait until Sunday (semifinals) and Monday (finals) which will be broadcast by Fox College Sports and Fox Sports Net respectively.

Only six people voted in the most recent poll for a possible Paradise Jam game being their most anticipated game of the regular season. For one thing, a match up with Connecticut in this tournament is far from guaranteed, given the strength of this year's field. Plus it is still early in the season. Maybe it also has to do with how hard it is to actually catch the games live. By the way, the Texas game at the Kohl Center on Dec. 23 took honors, with 42% of the poll's vote, edging out this year's Marquette game (38%).

I have to give another shout out to Landry, who took the time before the trip to counsel the team's youngest players on the importance of keeping focused on their grades even while taking a business trip to the beach. He knows from personal experience. As predicted, there has been no shortage of ink and copy devoted to Landry's story so far this season.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Landry's Actions Speak Volumes

You hear the term "statement game" from time to time and it is often hard to define. But you know one when you see one. Marcus Landry made a loud statement Sunday afternoon during Wisconsin's season-opening roller coaster of a win against Long Beach State.

Landry's 23-point, three-block performance at the Kohl Center said, in essence, "You can count on me." This was not the same Marcus that got out to slow starts the past two years and traditionally starts out games innocuously. Long Beach Marcus was not laid back, with his mind on his money. He was fired up.

The senior from Milwaukee was money from three-point land though, hitting 3-of-5 smooth-looking shots behind the arc, including the backbreaker off a Trevon Hughes dish with 30 seconds left. Landry beat his chest and flexed occasionally to provide some Tucker-esque leadership. Somewhere, Alando was smiling.

The game will not land on many defensive highlight reels, except for Landry's clutch blocked shots. Overall, it was played at pretty slow pace that seemed to favor the Badgers. However, Wisconsin's defensive efficiency was only 103.2 for the game. Last season, UW went just 5-4 in the nine games it allowed the opponent to post an offensive efficiency over 100. After a hot start, LBSU cooled off from 3-point land (5-for-18 overall), where UW actually had an advantage (8-for-18), which would have you expecting a Badger rout. [box score]

But Wisconsin's entire team gave up too much inside to the relentless 49ers. Eleven of LBSU's 13 second-half field goals were either a lay-up, tip-in or dunk. Landry carried his weight offensively and defensively, but once Keaton Nankivil started to get a little offensive rhythm going, he was back on the bench, presumably because of something he was not doing defensively.

Joe Krabbenhoft had trouble in the second half bottling up guard Donovan Morris, who single-handedly brought his team back to within two, 57-55, with seven minutes remaining. Apparently Jon Leuer, who flew down the lane for an aggressive lay-in earlier on, was not an acceptable answer inside either.

Nope, Tim Jarmusz rounded out the crunch-time lineup. To me, this was an oh-uh moment for Nankivil and Leuer fans. Then again, Jarmusz was the only true freshman that Bo Ryan felt comfortable inserting into close games last season. TJ was his typical, chippy self contributing to another Badger win. Bo admitted after the game that he planned to send Nankivil in, but just couldn't:

"[Jarmusz] was hustling so hard that the guy had to tackle him to keep him from getting to the free throw line. I was going to put Keaton in there right before that but the way Tim was playing and their small line-up and they were running guys off of those screens ... He played big and with that kind of drive and hustle, I couldn’t take him out.”
As for this year's freshman, Bo did not hesitate to insert Jordan Taylor when he saw Hughes make a few wrong moves. Taylor's 15 solid minutes included a beautiful alley-oop pass to Landry right before halftime. It underscores again the faith this coaching staff already has in its freshman floor leader. The knock on Taylor has been that despite being Big Ten-ready right now, he somehow has a limited ceiling. If he proves people wrong on that point each year, Taylor could wind up being one of the best pure point guards Wisconsin has ever seen.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Late Bloomer Chooses Red Shirt

Ryan Evans is the first and possibly the only Badger freshman to announce that he will be taking a redshirt season in 2008-09. A smart decision by Evans if you ask me and this move surprises no one.

The announcement does not rule out any further redshirts from one of the big men. Ian Markolf certainly has a college-ready build, so would not necessarily need the year to bulk up. Conversely, bulking up would be about the only reason I can see for Jared Berggren to redshirt, as he is more skilled at this point. Ultimately, the player makes that decision for himself.

I hope to revisit the topic of redshirting big men very soon ...

: : :

Turning to the NBA for a few 'graphs, Yi Jianlian is lighting it up from the outside with the New Jersey Nets this season. And he's shooting over real people, not just chairs! This is the type of thing you have come to expect if you are a Milwaukee Bucks fans (see Nowitzki, Dirk). The grass is always greener in another town for many former Bucks. Will Milwaukee be more patient with Joe Alexander? I hope so.

Regardless, Milwaukee is probably fine with Jianlian's development. Milwaukee's record is only 4-5 right now, but New Jersey is a smelly mess at 2-5. Michael Redd has a legit running mate in Richard Jefferson, with Bogut anchoring the lineup down low. While the team still has serious depth issues in the frontcourt, LRMaM has supplanted Charlie Villanueva in the starting lineup at least temporarily. Mbah a Moute has shown signs of being an excellent defender, something the Bucks have lacked for years. It will be interesting to see how the traditionally lackadaisical Villanueva responds.
In the backcourt, Ramon Sessions slowly easing his way into his rightful place atop the muddled point guard heap in Cream City. It is only a matter of time before his potential outweighs Luke Ridnour's "heady, veteran leadership."

Speaking of the Nets ... since popping off for a career-high 38 points the other night (shooting a ridiculous 20-of-24 on free throws), former Badger great Devin Harris has missed several games because of a twisted ankle. Tough sleddin' for the Nets without him. In Phoenix, Alando Tucker is still waiting to make his season debut. He had his left knee scoped last Tuesday, so he will miss 2-3 more weeks of action.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wisconsin Survives and Adds Signees

Wisconsin 64, UW-Whitewater 47
In last night's final exhibition, Wisconsin overcame a frisky UW-Whitewater squad in the final 10 minutes to post a deceptive 64-47 victory. The Warhawks made the Badgers earn it.

Keaton Nankivil got the start again, with Jon Leuer first off the bench. The ensuing substitutions went like this: Tim Jarmusz second, then Jordan Taylor ... *long stretch of no subs* ... Rob Wilson, Kevin Gullikson ... and finally Ryan Evans got in during the last minute. There is a solid 8-man rotation being set here, with Wilson, Gullikson and one of the bigs (hopefully) getting playing time as the situation dictates.

I am almost 100% sure that Ian Markolf will redshirt, but not as certain about Evans. He could use one since Wilson and Jarmusz seem equipped to get the extra PT on the wing. Based on some of Bo Ryan's comments after the game, I am hoping that Jared Berggren sees some action this year. Bo mentioned that as far as freshman go, "Jared is not that far behind," which seemed like one of Bo's typical sly, half-compliments. Redshirts must be determined by Sunday's opener.

Looking at the statistics, it was hard to tell why Wisconsin had such trouble with Whitewater. The Badgers dominated the rebounding department in the second half, which is usually how such games go. The 12 turnovers was a bit too high for an exhibition game and that total including four traveling violations. Ick. Taylor struggled early with three TOs, but settled down. Leuer had four TOs as well and was seemingly benched after his last one.

Besides the turnovers, I noticed that Trevon Hughes still does not appear to be 100 percent healthy. A glaring weakness last night was the ability to penetrate the defense, which Hughes usually provides. Only Jason Bohannon accomplished this with much effectiveness. Conversely, however, J-Bo had trouble sticking with his man on defense. It was not all his fault, though, as the team defense left a lot to be desired at certain points. I think it goes without saying that this team will not be as tough defensively as last year's edition. Bohannon logged a ton of minutes because Hughes sat with some questionable foul trouble. J-Bo's mark, Warhawk guard Miles McKay, sprung for a game-high 16 points. Bohannon eventually fouled out, though he was also on the raw end of some calls in terribly over-officiated game -- thanks Ed Hightower!

: : :

Wisconsin adds two on signing day
Today Mike Bruesewitz and Diamond Taylor signed national Letters of Intent to play for Wisconsin. Now that both are officially in the fold, Bo Ryan is finally allowed to comment on each of these players from the Class of 2009. tabbed Bruesewitz as the Big Ten's top incoming power forward for next season. While not on many people's radar when he verballed, Badger fans have warmed to the idea of having a successor to Krabbenhoft running around the court. It sounds like Bruiser's game is a perfect match for the swing offense. Bo on Bruesewitz:

"While always possessing a competitive fire and desire to win, he has recently made huge strides in his perimeter game out to the 3-point line. His improving perimeter ability combined with his post skills and work ethic make him a more complete player that will allow him to continue to excel when he gets to Madison."
The staff clearly views Diamond Taylor as a combo guard. Bo on Taylor:

"It has been neat to watch Diamond develop from a camper who attended our basketball camps when he was first entering high school to the great young man he is today. His versatility and knowledge of the game will allow him to play multiple perimeter positions at our level."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Second Badger Named to Watch List

Trevon Hughes was among the 31 players recently nominated for the Bob Cousy Award*, which goes to the nation's top point guard. Honestly, that's quite an honor considering the struggles Hughes went through last year.

Committee members must have been watching the three gems Hughes delivered against IPFW, Illinois and at Minnesota (the exception being the four turnovers against the Gophers). Taking care of the ball was a central problems in Pop's sophomore season. If you notice, the games in which Hughes was able to limit his turnovers, he was also virtually non-existent offensively -- neither scoring nor assisting others.

Improving on last year's subpar 1.17:1 assist-to-turnover ratio will be the barometer for success with Hughes. If he can turn in more performances like he did last February versus Michigan State, and harness his explosiveness, Hughes will live up to and maybe even surpass the modest preseason hype he has received.

The good news for Hughes came on the heels of Marcus Landry's inclusion on the preseason Wooden Award watch list. Landry and the rest of the big, bad Badgers will take on "lowly" UW-Whitewater in their exhibition finale tonight at the Kohl Center. No one is expecting a stunner like the one UW-Platteville delivered to Bradley this past weekend, but the Warhawks are a legit D3 powerhouse. I guess it's not a bad time to be from Whitewater, eh Stanley?

*Ed. note: The deadline for schools to nominate players for the Cousy Award is Jan. 10, so you will see this list grow quite a bit. Marquette and Michigan State fans can back away from the ledge now ...

: : :

Wednesday is national signing day, which means high school seniors Diamond Taylor and Mike Bruesewitz will officially pledge themselves to the Cardinal and White. Speaking of which, Rob Schultz of the Capital Times digs into the recruiting practices of Wisconsin under Bo Ryan. The article leaves you with an impression of an efficient coaching staff, especially when you see the fiscal comparisons that Schultz uncovered. Of the five Big Ten programs that responded, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue and Iowa have all spent more than double the dollar amount that Wisconsin has in recruiting for men's basketball over the past two seasons.

With regards to recruiting, the bottom line when discussing the "Wisconsin way" is that Bo would probably rather be a distinguished turtle than a tainted rabbit. Slowly and steadily, Ryan has built the Badger program, avoiding the large character risks and maintaining program-wide morale and camaraderie. He does this by focusing--right away--on players who want to be Badgers; those who don't let their own agendas get in the way of the team's agenda. So while other programs can currently tout better tournament records and Final Fours on their resumes, I have faith that Bo is building for the long haul. Some day, UW will wind up on top of the whole heap, if only for one shining moment.

Cheesy right? Well, this is Wisconsin. Enough rah-rah for now ... I'll save it for tonight's game.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wisconsin Record Watch

The two seniors from the Class of 2005 each enter this season with their eyes on team goals. But both Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry have a chance to creep into the Wisconsin record book [pdf] by simply keep up the pace at which they have been producing over the years. Here's a look at a few potential milestones.

Joe Krabbenhoft
With a repeat of last season's performance, Krabbenhoft will place third in all-time offensive rebounding and approximately sixth in total rebounding. Needless to say, Joe's board work has been stellar. The ever-versatile Krabby needs only 87 assists to pass Michael Flowers for ninth place on the all-time assists ladder. Krabbenhoft will probably crack the Top Ten list for most minutes played as well.

Assuming another postseason bid this year, Wisconsin is guaranteed to play 31 games (success in the Paradise Jam, Big Ten Tournament or NCAA Tournament will increase that number). Even though games played is reflection of team success more than any other statistic, it's worth mentioning that if Krabbenhoft plays in every game this season, he will at least tie Alando Tucker for the most games ever played in a Wisconsin men's basketball uniform.

These are but a few reasons why "Dakota Joe" gets the loudest applause from Badger fans.

Year: Off-Def-Total Rebs
'05-06: 45-85 = 130
'06-07: 53-120 = 173
'07-08: 73-160 = 233
Totals: 171-365 = 536*

'05-06: 44
'06-07: 58
'07-08: 90
Totals: 192**

Minutes played:
'05-06: 505 (16.3/g)
'06-07: 724 (20.1/g)
'07-08: 1118 (31.1/g)
Totals: 2,347***

Marcus Landry
The academic problem in Landry's sophomore season puts a damper on his chase for a few milestones. Therefore, it is a real tribute to Landry's athleticism that he is knocking on the door of the Top Ten in career blocked shots. Greg Stiemsma finished in 5th place all-time with 96 blocks and Marcus can take a run at that total as a senior since he may be asked to defend the interior more again. Landry also has 132 offensive rebounds so far. If he duplicates last year's total (65) he will place sixth all-time, behind Brian Butch, though his final resting place will depend on Krabbenhoft's totals.

Blocked Shots:
'05-06: 6
'06-07: 31
'07-08: 27
Totals: 64****

Year: Off-Def-Total Rebs
'05-06: 22-28 = 50
'06-07: 45-71 = 116
'07-08: 65-129 = 194
Totals: 132-228 = 360*

* Claude Gregory holds the career rebounding record with 902 total career rebounds; Tucker's 314 offensive rebounds are a career Badger record.
** Tracy Webster holds the Badger record with 501 career assists.
*** Tucker also holds the Badger record with 4,247 career minutes played in 4+ seasons.
**** Rashard Griffith holds the Badger record with 124 career blocks in only two seasons.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Decision '08: The Kool-Aid

Michigan hoops blog UMHoops has been running a Big Ten season preview for each conference team with the help of fellow bloggers. I was happy to lend my thoughts for the site's Wisconsin preview.

Being a natural pessimist, I was trying to think of reasons why the Badgers would not win another Big Ten title. Purdue, Michigan State, injuries, youth ... bad luck ...

The times, though, they are a-changing. I have made a decision to be optimistic this season. I have sipped the Kool-Aid and poured myself another. Marcus Landry, Joe Krabbenhoft, Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon are as experienced a foursome in Bo Ryan's swing offense and defensive concepts as one could hope for.

The performances of Keaton Nankivil in the scrimmage and Jon Leuer's bounce back in the first exhibition game were encouraging. It's important not to overvalue their play in meaningless games, but what I realized is that Wisconsin's Big Four will not need too much help to be successful. They need capable support. The team as a whole has shown glimpses of continuing the strong outside shooting that I feared might have been a blip last year. The conference schedule is kind. The team can and will get contributions from capable freshmen. Can Wisconsin go 16-2 again? Yes they can!

: : :

Check out the new poll and let us know which non-conference game who are most looking forward to this season. To view the Paradise Jam bracket for UW's potential opponents, click here.

: : :

Removed the following prospects from the recruiting sidebar:
: : : Class of 2009
F Jamil Wilson, Racine WI [v]
: : : Class of 2010
F Harrison Barnes, Ames IA
F J.D. Weatherspoon, Columbus OH {Xavier}

Do you like the NCAA tournament's new 8-team "first-round" format?

What should Wisconsin do with the newly vacated scholarship?

Poll: Who will win the Big Ten?

Poll: Who was Wisconsin's first-half MVP (thru 16 games)?

Poll: How Many Regular Season games will wisconsin win in 2009-10?