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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cornell vs. Wisconsin Shot Charts

I have a lot of thoughts about Wisconsin exiting the NCAA Tournament in the second round again, but any arguments that could be made about why the Badgers lost can be summarized pretty easily. And anyone who watched both Cornell and Wisconsin play in the first round probably are not surprised at all.

For the second straight game, Wisconsin's perimeter defense was exposed, as was UW's help defense rotations. The Badger guards could not stay in front of the Big Red guards and the interior help D -- particularly by Keaton Nankivil -- was not quick enough to get in good position to cut off the penetration.

One result was early foul trouble for Nankivil, the player whose presence on the court is most indicative of the team's success. Even watching it happen, I was shocked to find out that Nankivil only managed five minutes of playing time. [box score]

Extended bench time for Nankivil effectively killed Wisconsin's chances on the boards. Cornell out-rebounded the Badgers, 27-20, and grabbed nearly 38% of its misses on offense, a figure well above Wisconsin's nation-leading average (26%).

The other by-product of the lax defense was an express lane to the hoop for Cornell. Nothing better illustrates this than a contrast between the two teams' shot charts.* Notice all the activity in the lane for Cornell versus the lack of attempts, let alone points, in the paint for Wisconsin:

Cornell - 61% (33-of-54)
Wisconsin - 49% (24-of-49)
It is no surprise that Wisconsin paid dearly all 10 times it turned the ball over, with the Big Red hitting jump shots from all angles. Trevon Hughes suffered through a really bad performance (6 TOs) in his final game.

The biggest dagger was when Pop went coast-to-coast with a nice move in the lane to get an open lay-up only to miss the bunny. What should have been a 25-23 game with six minutes left before halftime was suddenly a seven-point contest when the deadly Ryan Wittman made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer on the resulting Cornell possession. It was all downhill from there ...

*Shot charts courtesy of CBS Sports, though the accuracy of their charts has occasionally been less than 100%.

1 comment:

  1. I just want to say, as Michigan fan, I was totally blown away that you got beaten at your own game. Not just beaten, but beaten badly. I was pulling for you guys, too.


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