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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Izzo's Green Outmuscles Ryan's Red

The best thing about Wisconsin's 61-50 loss to No. 6 Michigan State was that, as fans, our hearts were not so much ripped out as they were surgically removed.

In front for the entirety of the game, Wisconsin took a 41-29 lead midway through the second half on a Marcus Landry 3-pointer and things were looking peachy keen. Tom Izzo burned a timeout to stop the bleeding and suddenly a resurgent Michigan State squad emerged. The Spartans began to hit the glass like it was their last meal, which was the driving force behind the 32-9 run that Michigan State ended the game on. The Spartans won the rebounding battle, 37-25. [box score]

The Badgers (17-10, 8-7) managed only two field goals in the final 12:30. Read that again and hit the punching bag.

Credit the foes in green-and-white for locking down the Badgers defensively. Wisconsin's utter failure to touch the post on offense down the stretch was the nail in the coffin. The Spartans (21-5, 11-3) also turned the tables on a first-half pattern and forced the red-and-white visitors into sloppy play during the final 10 minutes.

Turnovers were a major storyline as expected. Wisconsin had five steals (Trevon Hughes had three) and forced Michigan State into 10 first-half TOs. But UW committed eight of their 11 TOs after the break, thanks in part to four Travis Walton steals. The result? After pumping out 30 shot attempts in the first 20 minutes, Wisconsin managed only 5-of-18 shooting from the field in the second half. Hughes finished with four steals and four turnovers.

At the same time, Wisconsin compounded matters with other mistakes too. Inside, UW made one silly foul after another to give Michigan State numerous three-point play opportunities. The solemn crowd came alive. Meanwhile, Wisconsin was missing bunnies around the rim again. Joe Krabbenhoft and Tim Jarmusz were two of the guilty parties as I recall. Sorry for jinxing you Joe!

This is where Jon Leuer needs to step up. He's got the biggest frame of the regulars and he should be using it, but he's just not strong enough yet. Landry's struggles against taller, longer players are well-documented. This is where a more seasoned Keaton Nankivil, Jared Berggren or token 7-footer (take your pick) would have come in handy. Ah, pipe dreams ...

As for the post-game festivities, I am a little perturbed. Ryan and Izzo engaged in what appeared to be a friendly moment, proving once and for all the Izzo is one of the sorest losers in the country. When he's on top, he is pumping his fists, fired up and gracious to the losing side. When he's down, Izzo cries like a baby, gets snippy and holds grudges. Is he bi-polar or just friends with Terrell Owens?


  1. your comment about Izzo makes you look like a sore loser. I enjoyed your write up until that point.

  2. Sore? No. Just sharing some unfortunate observations that seem obvious at this point. For example, after blowing a lead to a big rival, here is how Bo Ryan responds to the Michigan State after the game: G's up, Bo's down.

    Getting on the refs and having bizarre facial expressions is one thing, and Bo is certainly guilty of that, but I expect a great coach like Izzo to be consistent in the level of class he displays. He hasn't been.

  3. But thanks for reading, Heath. Glad you enjoyed some of the recap.

  4. The cheap shot at Izzo looks like sour grapes

  5. I guess I need to see some examples of what you mean. Honestly, you sound like a wisconsin fan who is pissed after a los. I don't blame it.

    Look, I don't like Bo - but I respect the hell out of him. He's a great coach.

    What you describe of Izzo doesn't make any sense. According to you he's excited when he wins, and upset when he loses.

    Also, you take one example of Bo and act like it's the rule. I respect him for his action in this case, but it seems like you are using specific actions to define people. I guess I need to see more before I'm buying your opinion


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