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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wisconsin Attempts to Cap Big Ten's Big Day

Perhaps building on its decent showing against the ACC last week, the Big Ten posted a number of impressive victories on Saturday, highlighted by two humongous upsets.

Michigan's shocking win over Duke at Crisler Arena took the cake, but was followed minutes later by Ohio State hanging on to topple Notre Dame (in Indianapolis with Luke Harangody). [box score]

Now the stage is set for Wisconsin to complete a nearly flawless day for the conference. Minnesota stayed undefeated in a blowout, Illinois crushed Georgia and Northwestern nearly doubled-up DePaul. Those three teams won by a total of 78 points! Just ignore woeful Indiana's unsurprising loss to Gonzaga. In fact, just ignore the Hoosiers until next year.

I had to chuckle the other day reading on Inside The Hall about an obscure ACC rule that brought the Wake Forest-Indiana blogging to a halt during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Wisconsin's trip to Marquette would be the perfect time for a live blogging event, but alas, I do not get ESPNU and will have to find a stool at a local establishment. Rather than rehash a "cable or satellite" vent, I started thinking about the these two teams that are usually polar opposites in terms of style.

However, there are eerie similarities as well. Both Wisconsin and Marquette like to go small (one by preference, one out of necessity). Both teams have four entrenched upperclassmen in the starting lineup, with one big man starting almost by default. And when looking at individual matchups--for entertainment purposes only--you see four of the important players really mirror each other.

The Tale of the Tape:
Trevon Hughes vs. Dominic James
... even down to the lowly centers:

There are eerie similarities between Pop and James, both in stature and production. James is a better distributor statistically, especially this year, and also registers more steals. Hughes shoots a far greater percentage for the Badgers and is less turnover-prone, exemplifying the different coaching philosophies.

Landry and Hayward is a fun comparison because their career progressions have gone in opposite directions. Landry began as strictly a post player who moved his game out to the perimeter (with moderate success) to try to fill Alando Tucker's shoes. Marquette, on the other hand, has been forced to use their athletic swingman down low more and more because the Gold lack any size.

Regardless, Hayward scores more in fewer minutes than Landry, probably due to his prolific rebounding ability and Marquette's faster pace. While Landry needs to improve his free throw shooting, he vastly outpaces Hayward when it comes to blocked shots and 3-point percentage. Hopefully the two will guard each other during the game.

Cracked Sidewalks has compiled a nice list of game previews in its pregame coverage post. Check it out for the Marquette perspective of Buzz Williams' first game against Bo Ryan.

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If Friday night is any indication, UW recruit Vander Blue could be a huge beneficiary of high school defenses geared to stop Marquette recruit Jeronne Maymon this year. Blue torched Madison West for 27 points on six 3-pointers in Memorial's season opener.

1 comment:

  1. All those big wins and Wisconsin can cap a big day? Way to curse our boys in Red.


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